Along the Mustang Trail: The 1963 Ford Allegro Concept

Introduction to the Ford Allegro

In the early 1960s, as Ford explored various concepts for what would eventually become the iconic 1965 Mustang, one intriguing design that emerged was the Ford Allegro. This European-style two-place coupe, initially known as the Avventura, represented a significant departure from what the Mustang would ultimately become.

Origins of the Allegro

The journey of the Allegro began in 1962. Designed by veteran Ford stylist Don Richard DeLaRossa, the car started life as the Avventura, a unique 2+2 coupe. Interestingly, the rear seats faced backward, a design choice not often seen in American cars of the time. This design later evolved into a more compact two-seat coupe, which was rebranded as the Allegro.

Compact and Stylish Design

Built on a shortened Falcon platform, the Allegro was notably smaller than the Mustang. It had a tidy 100-inch wheelbase and measured just 169 inches in length and 49 inches in height, with a track width of 51 inches. Initially painted pale gold, it was later given a striking Candy Apple Red finish for its presentation to the automotive press in Dearborn on August 27, 1963. Although no engine or drivetrain was installed, it was designed to potentially house either a 144 cubic-inch Falcon six or a Taunus V4 engine coupled with an automatic transmission.

Innovative Cockpit Features

The Allegro’s interior was a showcase of forward-thinking design. The seats came with built-in retractable seat belts and were fixed to the floor. Instead of moving the seats, the pedals could be adjusted forward and backward by three inches to suit the driver’s comfort. Additionally, the steering column was mounted on a cantilevered yoke, allowing for up/down and fore/aft adjustments, complete with a memory function for easy personalization.

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The Allegro’s Public Appearances

Although the production Mustang was already on its way, the Allegro had its moment in the spotlight. It was displayed alongside the Mustang at the New York World’s Fair in April 1964 and featured in Ford print ads and a 1964 promotional film titled “Styling and the Experimental Car.” The Allegro even made a cameo in the 1966 science-fiction comedy “Way… Way Out,” starring Jerry Lewis.

The Allegro II: A New Iteration

In 1967, the Allegro re-emerged as the Allegro II. Reworked by Gene Bordinat’s styling team, the Allegro II was transformed into a sleek two-seat roadster. Painted deep metallic gold, it featured a wraparound plastic windscreen and a low-profile targa hoop. The adjustable cockpit features remained unchanged. This version of the Allegro garnered attention in several car magazines, including Car Life, where it was compared to the Lotus Europa due to its compact size.

The Legacy of the Allegro

Despite its innovative design and brief fame, the Allegro ultimately faded into obscurity. Its legacy, however, remains as a fascinating “what if” in the history of Ford’s design evolution. The Allegro showcased what the Mustang might have been smaller, sportier, and packed with advanced features. While it never made it to production, the Allegro’s story continues to intrigue classic car enthusiasts and Ford historians alike.

Our mission is to take you on a thrilling ride down memory lane, exploring the history, design, and unforgettable moments that define the golden era of automobiles.

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