TBT: This Ford Mustang Celebrated the Pony Car’s 50th Anniversary in Space

Sep 07, 2023

Mustang is going where it hasn’t before with the new Mach-E Rally. Nearly a decade ago, the iconic pony car tackled a new frontier of another type – outer space.

The iconic pony car took the world by storm just as the space race of the 1960s was heating up. To mark its 50th anniversary in 2014, Michael Sego, Mustang Mach-E group marketing manager and then-San Francisco-area Ford zone sales manager, teamed up with a local Ford Dealer to send the car on its voyage. 

The team strapped a model of the 2015 Mustang assembled from a kit that Ford had been distributing at auto shows to the side of a high-altitude weather balloon. A pair of action cameras captured the climb as the Mustang rose 110,000 feet – or nearly 21 miles – in just 74 minutes before it descended through the stratosphere. On its way back to Earth, the Mustang went into an uncontrolled spin before its parachute deployed as it got lower in the atmosphere.  

The balloon’s instrumentation box contained a GPS location transmitter, which helped the team locate the car in a field some six hours after the launch began.

“We wanted to celebrate 50 years of Mustang and the impending arrival of the all-new 2015 Mustang by doing something really special,” Sego said in a Ford press release. “Mustang has always been about getting behind the wheel and hitting the open road, but we decided to take to the open sky.”

The story earned worldwide media attention, and it came on the heels of another gravity-defying Mustang moment. Just a few weeks earlier, a 2015 Mustang reached the heights of the 86th floor of the Empire State Building in New York City in a re-creation of the nameplate’s 1965 debut. Back on Ford’s campus, employees celebrated the Mustang’s semicentennial with festivities and displays at World Headquarters. The building’s lobby was filled with Mustangs of every generation, as well as memorabilia. A parking lot celebration included hula-hooping, bean bag toss and Mustang-themed pastries. 

Years after Sego helped take the Mustang out of this world, the car helped take him somewhere he had always wanted to visit – the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the U.K., where the Mustang Mach-E Rally was recently previewed. He is now helping to take Mustang to another place it has never been: off of the tarmac and confidently onto the dirt road with the addition of the Mustang Mach-E Rally to the Mustang stable. The Mustang Mach-E Rally will be available to purchase in early 2024, just in time to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Mustang.

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