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ast in Georgia, he was able to borrow

it to create the necessary tooling to re-

produce it. Blueprints came from

Klaus Arning, through Ford’s archives.

The original set-up was later sold and

the new owner asked Carling to build

him a duplicate. Carling was never

paid, so he ended up with the original

IRS set-up as well as the duplicate he

had made.

Fast-forward to last year when

Jim Marietta, Ted Sutton and Peter

Brock begin discussing the details of

building a GT350 R-Model the way

Brock had originally intended. The

IRS was a perfect fit and suddenly

Carling joined the project


bout a year and a half ago,

members of the original Shelby

American crew that developed

the iconic prototype "R" Model GT350

made headlines in the Ford Perform-

ance world. That first Shelby GT350

competition development team re-

united in Henderson, Nevada to create

a new car, re-imagining the way they

would have liked to complete it a half-

century earlier. On the 50th Anniver-

sary of the car’s first race victory, won

by Ken Miles on February 14, 1965 at

Green Valley Raceway outside of Dal-

las, Texas it was unveiled at Willow

Springs raceway. The Original Venice

Crew (OVC) of Peter Brock, Ted Sut-

ton and Jim Marietta had teamed up

again to create a “new” 1965 Shelby

GT350R, but this time developed with

an IRS that was originally designed

for the first Ford Mustang but later

found its way onto the Ford GT40s

that won Le Mans!

Surprisingly, the project revealed

that even many well-versed Mustang

fans had no idea that an Independent

Rear Suspension (IRS) was developed

way back in 1962 for the very first

Mustang. So our friends at


felt it was time that the in-

side story of just how close Mustang

came to having an IRS from the very

beginning be told.

To that end, we’ll need to turn

back the clock. As the swinging 60s

dawned, Ford Motor Company was

saddled with a dowdy product image

and was in desperate need of what is

now called a “makeover.” The original

1950s sporty, two-seat Thunder Bird

had grown into a four-place luxo-

tourer. Ford’s plain-Jane econocar, the

Falcon, had originally sold well but

now was slipping. And the Edsel, a

name that became synonymous with

failure, was breathing its last after a

three-year run. To make matters

worse, General Motors had introduced

a sexy new version of their Corvair

called the Monza with bucket seats, a

four-speed and even an optional tur-


Forty-three-year-old Ford Chair-

man and CEO Henry Ford II wanted

to breathe new life into Ford’s product

image, so turned to his 36-year-old

right-hand man, Lee Iacocca (who had

succeeded “Whiz-Kid” Robert McNa-

mara as Ford president) to make it

happen. Spurred by his product plan-

ning guru Hal Sperlich, Iacocca

formed the “Fairlane Committee,”

which met after hours at a now-razed

hotel called the Fairlane Inn (about a

mile down the road from Ford World

Headquarters), to dream up cars that

would fit in a new “Total Performance”

theme at Ford. In May of 1962, the

committee authorized a small group,

headed by expat Englishman Roy

Lunn, to build a concept car to be

shown at the U.S. Grand Prix at

Watkins Glen on October 7th. About

fifty colleges were located less than

100 miles from the track and the

USGP was traditionally a huge week-

end party for these college kids.


Summer 2016 63


Suspension engineer Bob Negstadt [


] and Roy Lunn with the Mustang prior

to the car being shipped to Watkins Glen.

Photo taken during testing of the IRS

Mustang at Riverside shows Ford engi-

neers McQuaid and Arning and drivers

Ginther and Miles. Note on photo pins the

date as February of 1964.