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I took all of Lt. Franks text and edited out our questions (mostly) and put it all together. This can be added to as needed. It's somewhat more cohesive and readable without all the other stuff in it.




There was assembled at Ford a group of very talented, very dedicated engineers and managers, passionate about the Mustang. What was produced was a labor of love, the car you have today.

The purpose of this string is to recount some of my personal experiences, answer questions, and in the end document the personal contributions of the key players. Their input has gone unacknowledged for too long. Most know bits and pieces, but there were a few of us that were there at the genesis. Further, I want to get some of this out before it's forgotten.

I am not looking to slam anyone here or put myself on a pedestal. Simply put, I have had fun recalling the experiences I had in my part of creating this car and the people involved. Additionally, because of you folks, and the way this car has been embraced and loved, it was especially satisfying and truly a once in a lifetime ride. So for that, thank you.

Right now, you're probably wondering who I am. That's not really that important, is it? Remember, I am not doing this for the notoriety as others have done. I am one of the Team in the end. No more or less important than the rest.

Well, I don't actually have a plan to stick to here, so I may jump around a bit and maybe that will spark some discussion here and the floodgates will open.

Not knowing where to start, because I don't know how much you guys already know. I haven't been here in awhile. I used to look in when we started building cars to see how things were playing out. So many times I wanted to jump in and say what was going on, give you the inside scoop, and/ or refute a lie or rumor. But of course I couldn't for a variety of reasons.

One of the early things that upset me was J. Mays taking credit for this car coming into being. Not true. A talented designer, Sean Tant, sat in the cafeteria one day and essentially drew the car you see today on a napkin! To my knowledge the original napkin is gone. From that point, he put his ideas into a formal sketch, we shopped it around and when there were nibbles, we started the assumptions and business case to get the ball rolling. Very few people were involved at that time. It was very hush hush, and very exciting. This was the car we had to make.

I remember that the ball got rolling very quickly. Roush built the show car in record time and we showed it in L.A. in January 2000 wasn't it? With the reception it got in L.A., as long as we made positive SVA, we were a go.

By the way, I'm not ditching you. Don't mean to be a wet blanket by starting this and leaving today, but I have a meeting to go to at 5, then home to my kids. I'll be back. You're my kind of people.

You guys crack me up.

Mickey D'Armi is another one of those guys who really got it. He has a really interesting personal background too, but professionally, he got it. So few people knew about us doing this car until it was too late for them to kill it. The corporate immune system would have its day in the end, but that's for later. Suffice to say that at this point, we only went to people as we needed to. Luckily, the stars were aligned. Really sounds corny and I am the last for the drama, but really, you have no idea how lucky we all were to have enthusiasts and Mustang lovers in key positions to get this done. I don't know that we'd get away with it today. We were literally planning a project with little to no headcount, on our free time, with almost no budget, in less than a year. Looking back it was nuts. There were 2 dedicated heads allotted for this project. The rest were tenths, so to speak. Some of the key guys were our FCG's, Ford College Grads, who did so much work outside of the scope of their jobs and clearly were not experienced for at the time. But baptism by fire has probably created some damn fine engineers. Mike Khomutin, Andy Lane, Ed Hosni, Brian Phillips, Craig LeMoyne, and others. I know I'm leaving some folks out. Not intentionally mind you. I am going to have to look through some old email to recall. It was a few years ago. Sorry to those of you who may read this and feel slighted. Add your names in your posts.

One of the reasons we were successful in doing something never before accomplished at Ford, such a short time line, was due in large part to strong program management. Duh. What I mean is, we had a crystal clear vision of success and maintained that, not allowing the scope of the project to creep. The amazing thing is, and I can't say it enough, how easy it really was. I remember going to Rob Eaton, the guy really responsible for the Bullitt's ride and handling, and how we told him a little about the project. His eyes lit up, and though his inflection never changed, he was off, "well, we could drop it, do this, use this bar, blah, blah, blah...” Everyone involved knew what the car had lacked for years, and what they would do to make it better. Now they were getting the chance to do it. Funny thing was how in tune we all were.


I'd like to do a book. Don't know when I'd find the time, but nice to know there is a desire for more information.

Roush was a key partner in the development of the prototypes. In fact, they did the show car under Ford studio supervision, ala Sean Tant, and put together the "production" show car. That car is in Jack's museum today. It did not come off the line as a Bullitt, but was a mod GT.

I have a ton of pictures. Don't know how to post them.

BTW, just out of curiosity, what are your thoughts on Ford producing another Bullitt? Would you be for it or against it? Do you think the differences between '01 and the new platform would be enough to keep them both 'special'?

Also, for those of you that bought True Blue or Black, would you have still bought the car if it was only offered in Green?

OK, where was I?

Just kidding.

Responses to posts...no particular order

In the future I will work with B-man or another administrator to ask questions, maybe a special forum. I was/ am genuinely interested, not creating any diversions.

I am busy. No more or less busy that some of you, but busy none the less. I am also working with legal to understand what can and can't be said apart from the obvious-future product plans, etc.-but because this is fairly recent history, some things are still sensitive. I very much like my job and would like to keep it. Perfect case in point, I had to sort through pictures carefully because for instance, any pictures taken at the plant are a) sensitive materials, b) subject to UAW rules including not distributing images of their members without their authorization, c) not showing other team members without their approval. In time, I would like to share everything possible, especially before my memories fade. I attempted to save everything from that time including email to help me put it back together. I'm sure you all can understand how that is sensitive. So I am being careful. Extra careful.

My posts will be sporadic. I may ask for some help and B-man has suggested a few ways to do that. Thanks to him for the help.

Chad is not leaning on his car. It was just one of the media cars at our press launch in SF. Obviously we are in front of the Fog City diner. Side note...as these pictures were being taken we kept hearing screaming. Turns out there is a gym across the street, on the second floor, and they kept screaming at him as they were on the treadmills. I didn't know he was that recognizable.

I look forward to visiting the site and sharing some more. Please be patient.

Here is a picture including some of the key folks responsible for delivering the car, and a few hangers-on, though they all had some small part. I will not be naming everyone. In no particular order, Scott Hoag, Nick Terzes, Joel Eory, Marc Heim, Dan Klebe, John Norcutt, Dave Lawler, Scott Rollins, Dave Pariseau, Mark Evans, Rich Zavodsky, Douglas Sparks, Greg Connor. Again, not all, and in no particular order.

Someday, maybe a complete list with roles and responsibilities.

DHG was the only color for many of us, but global marketing was not convinced we could sell 6500 DHG cars. We did sell a nearly even amount of black and DHG, a smaller amount of true blue. Given that we had pre-sold nearly 4400 cars before we built a single one, I still believe we could have sold every car in DHG. There is another story about not making it to 6500 cars, again related to marketing, but I need to run for now.

It's nice to see the ad circulating now. Wonder what you all think about it. Anyway, it was asked where the idea came about to do the car in the first place. Simple really. We were working with Marketing on some "Buzz" action ideas and were quite frankly disappointed in the sticker and badge ideas being put forth. We wanted to do it right for fear of losing further credibility with our core customers. For once, we seemed to be making headway, the stars started to be lining up for a change. Blah, blah, blah, mentioned something to Sean who had a few ideas around the Bullitt since he had just seen the movie again, and we had a drawing on a napkin, and we were off. Well, sort of. Then the ideas flowed, we made up the business case, all the while trying to keep this as below radar as possible. Something we succeeded doing until it was too late. In the end there were more than a few folks p.o.'d that they didn't have a hand in it, and there were more than a few that tried to take glory for it. We were the keepers of "corporate irresponsibility". I can't even begin to tell you how much fun we were having. There was always this undercurrent; we all knew how special what we were doing was. Not just the car, but how it was coming together. This may never happen again at Ford, but we were a part of it then. Not many can say that, just like not many own one and just don't get it. There was more to all this than just the car. We championed "grass roots" marketing, working closer than ever with the enthusiast press, and others, like the message boards on stang.net, etc. John LeFebvre, of Marketing and Mike Raburn, set up forums and got direct feedback. We also bucked the system as far as corporate standards dictate, too.

Anyway, it was a buzz action. A feature car was going to be made, we just made sure something more than stickers and badges came along, and don't get me wrong, the Mach was cool, too. It just doesn't quite have the same spirit. We wanted to do one more, something between Mach and Cobra, but that was getting greedy. It made more sense to carry Mach one more year.


Well my friends...

First, Scott has been mentioned. His role in the creation of the car is well documented and he was the right face on the product. He in effect was the Chief Program Engineer for this product. No disrespect to Art Hyde, but the Bullitt exists because of Scotts' leadership. Period. Not to diminish his role in the least, nor to say how the press and the like were handled, but the contribution of the other team members needs to be documented somehow, someway, at least in some small part.

No I am not Scott Hoag. The mystery should remain, regardless. I am not seeking personal recognition. If I were doing that, I'd go about it differently. I chose to do this here now because you are my people. I get you guys, I am you. Not everybody gets what the Bullitt is all about. Nor will they. You guys do. You deserve this. The folks that made this car deserve this. Scott is one of those people. He was the face of it, and for the most part, the grand wizard. But he didn't do it alone, and he's the first to tell you that. So, all that aside, can we move on from my identity and just accept what comes along? I am not here to lie to you or glorify anything. Just recall the story as I remember it. Every participant will have there own perspective on it. My perspective is formed by being there since the beginning, and excepting Scott, have the most extensive knowledge of what and how it happened--including Art. No disrespect Art.

OK, enough of that rant. Have a nice weekend all, and I'll leave you with this thought...

This past week, we lost a good friend of the Bullitt and Mustang, Chris Lindberg. Chris was a personal friend, a racer-autocross, a key team member on Mustang, and his smile, infectious spirit for life, and mostly his friendship will be sorely missed. He was 42.

So, kiss your loved ones, hug your children, reflect, and don't hesitate to mash the fun pedal. What we do is not nearly as important as the people we experience it with. God bless you all.

Godspeed Chris.

Thank you all for the condolences. Just like I said though, live every day. Chris did.

OK, the team photo with the person circled is Rich Zavodsky. Me? I will neither confirm nor deny.

Some more names of key folks I have left out to date...and really it will go on until I get most of them here.

Debbie Gardocki, Nate Steele, Joel Eory to name a few from Vehicle Personalization.

John Nece, Ed Wayland, Lenny Psudesris from our friends at Roush...oh, and the original Mikey.

That was Andy Lane. I'll try to get a picture of him up here.

Still around folks. SEMA and other diversions of late. You didn’t scare me off and for the love of Mike, I am not Rich Zavodsky, handsome devil though he is.

He'd get a kick out of that.

Be back soon.

The Boy Racer is nice and yes sports the 5.0 cammer.

The sticker was developed because we were told the R code was not available for use as on the Mach 1. The raft of BS that was floated was just enough for us to look elsewhere. The labels were a concession of sorts as we wanted to do both.

As to the labels that were damaged, yes some-a very small number-were damaged as assembly is still a manual process and prone to human error from time to time. There were ample labels made, but a controlled amount. Each one-damaged or otherwise-has been accounted for and is held in safe keeping with the list.

I cannot discuss or comment on future product plans. I can state that most of the original team feels that the Bullitt moniker should remain exclusive to the current car. In other words, that it was a one time deal. However, there are those that think the appearance of the new car really would lend itself well to the Bullitt 'treatment'. I know that is not the definitive answer you are looking for, but sleep well knowing that there are some really good people on watch right now that want nothing more than keep the integrity of the car intact. In other words, no more sticker kits.

The reason the spoiler was deleted was primarily due to the cost, and in part because it was unnecessary. The original didn't have a spoiler/ wing so why did we need it? In many cases, concepts have much more flair than the original car we made. These teasers are there as studio whimsy. I thought it looked great, but given the business case, it didn't make sense. It would have been nice for us to be able to sell it through Ford racing or another outlet, but we were unable to for a bunch of boring reasons. I think MRT is selling a copy if you want one for your car. I believe Scott basically copied the show car piece.

Merry Christmas all.

On 2005-01-14 00:36, 3RDSTANG wrote:
Any chance that Lt. Frank is actually.....

Chad McQueen?



Hmmmm. No, and not his son Chase. Met them though and have Chad's cell phone number. Taking the highest bidder...

Just kidding.

All, I know it stinks that I haven't been around in awhile. Sorry for that. But, work continues. Auto show time right now, and other things going on. Hold tight. I'll be baaaaack. Maybe I need to set something up with Mike to do a weekly update, an interview, Q&A...I don't know. I would like to get the story out, answer all the questions you may have, etc. But I am only one guy, and I can't let the ball drop here either. I know it's not the post you are all looking for, but good things come to those that wait...or at least that's what my Mom told me.

Anyway, hope you are all well. Talk soon.

FB

I wish I could post in high res. Anybody have suggestions where I can put pictures securely, i.e. they can't be saved or downloaded, just looked at? If that were the case, I have a ton...

The photo is bigger with full panorama. Anyway, it's on the PCH before the Bullitt media launch. We drove these cars up from our staging area in wine country up the coast to San Francisco. We had a blast-literally. We were hauling a*@ at times, a 5 Bullitt freight train. It was awesome to see I'm sure. At one point we even gave a Corvette owner whiplash as we went by at 100mph! He hit his brakes and nearly went off the road at the sight... We stopped from time to time to enjoy the scenery and always drew a crowd. Probably my most enduring memory was that drive. 5 hours on the PCH. Even the police were good to us. Passed a CHP car while decelerating from 120+... He let us go thankfully.

We didn't take any CA units to CA. But for what it's worth, those cars were certainly well maintained. They were 100% when all was said and done. They were for the press to drive after all.

Yes all. Still here. Just busy. Not that you all aren't. Somebody give me a starting point again.

You all know I can't say one way or the other. Recently in C&D though, there is an '05 painted DHG with the Bullitt wheels on it. What do you think?


Barry, I do not know where you are getting your information but I do not agree entirely with your assessment of the situation. Additionally, you should be aware that any costs for licensing would be accounted for in a sound business plan. Ford is not in business to produce cars at a loss which isn't to say that it hasn't happen as a result of poor sales.

Do you believe that any variant of the current car would fizzle in sales? I hope not. Right now the brightest point in our solar system is the Mustang. Whether or not additionally variants are produced, Mustang is and will continue to be the stalwart of the Ford Motor Company car lineup.

Copied from above...

Why the front mud flaps? Protect the paint? Whose idea? etc

Yes, the primary reason was something called "stone pecking." It is to meet a corporate standard for "acceptable" levels of SP. The design is attributed to Sean Tant, but there were a few of us that contributed.

Red paint & front pony on calipers? Yes. What about them?

Why the intake system on them? I love it... but why... and why not a 4v? Cost savings with just slapping on a 2v intake system?

We wanted to place performance between a GT and a Cobra. By modifying the intake the way we did, and freeing up the exhaust, we were able to achieve what we were looking for. Of course this is a simplified answer to something that took a bit of time to sort out.

By avoiding a 4v, we were not treading on the Cobra's territory--which was a concern.

Black trim around the pony (front grill.) Why? Just to give it a more blacked out look?

Yes. Look at the movie car. It is devoid of Mustang badging. Of course we couldn't do that, so we went with a simplified look. Deleting the chrome surround was a relatively inexpensive way to get the look we wanted.

Fog light delete? Just cost savings? Cause the original didn't have them?

Yes and yes.

Placement of the Bullitt serial numbers. How did that come to be?

I assume you mean the unique ID's. The one on the shock tower? So it was visible.

Cobra alternator... did it come to be because of the intake? Under drive plies have any factor in that as well?

It is what was required.

Any stories on the visual mods?? Both inside and out

Credit Sean Tant with the design elements. There was input, but Sean is the guy that visualized what could be. Not J Mays.

I have others a well... but I'll let you get those answered for us hopefully

I hope I have satisfactorily done so. Let me know if there are others.


AWESOME!

Thanks for the replies I am sure a lot of people had some of the same questions. Hopefully some other people will step forward with some good questions as well

On the calipers... basically I just wanted to know how they came to be. Not only why the Cobra brakes? But also how did the paint scheme come about? The red and then the Pony in them.

Thanks again!


Well, I am glad to answer whatever I can when I have time.

The Cobra brakes (PBR) were required to achieve the performance we were looking for. The red and the laser etched pony came at the suggestion of Andy Lane, the brake D&R during his discussions with the supplier. It sounded awesome and having some taste, we all agreed it would look great and set ours apart from the Cobra's.

John's initial response to the Bullitt was mixed. However, in the end, I know John likes the car that we put on the road. He was helpful and gracious, but it was not an SVT car. This was done largely below radar by a core group of enthusiasts within Team Mustang.

John's passion for the car is well known, but crediting him with saving the car/ brand is debatable. That said, what John and SVT accomplished over the years is undeniable. He has left a lasting impression on Ford Motor Company and the industry at large. You only need to look at the copycats to tell. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.


Honestly...nothing, other than to make a few more of them.

Well, well, well...

It has been awhile my friends.

Frequent Flyer, I can tell you all you want to know about SF intro. Give me a starting point.

All, the 5 cars we drove were part of the press fleet. Yes, all made it to you guys via dealers. We did have parts and were able to audit the cars on shakedown runs after each and every time they were driven. Some parts were replaced as necessary. Nothing substantial and we replaced even if it was marginal so bad cars getting into journalist’s hands an eventually customers was just not in the cards.




(Edit—fast forward to 2007)




Well...

...I assume you've seen the show car by now. What do you guys think?

LT

Still here...
Have just been busy...

What do you think of the new car now that you've seen it?

Any questions?

Mark,

it was actually an awesome event. Initially, there were no plans to do a launch event for our car. At the last minute, we "glommed on" to the Thunderbird/ Blackwood launch. We scrambled cars together and a parts support plan, and a very small team flew out to support the event. From the vehicle team - Scott, myself, Rob Eaton, Don Rathgeber, and Doug Sparks in addition to the marketing folks and other brass. We shipped the cars to a secret location in wine country and shook down all the cars on the country roads - a tough job but somebody had to do it. Scott and I happened to be out and we were flagged down by a gentleman that saw us zipping around testing the cars and was curious what was going on. Turns out he was an enthusiast and asked us up to his barn. Inside he showed us an old Trans-Am Mustang that looked fantastic and ready to race. BTW, he grows shoots for Meridian vineyards if you drink wine...

After shaking down the cars, we discovered that they required very little in the way of tweaks, much to the chagrin of the Thunderbird and Blackwood teams who were planning on working all night changing little things like hoods, doors, interiors, etc. We tried not to rub it in.

Since the cars needed to be driven to SF, early the next day we each grabbed our favorite car and hit the PCH headed north. It was a sight to see. The road was clear (it was midweek, mid-day), and we were nose to tail - a 5 Bullitt freight train - slicing along the coast. Of course we obeyed all posted speed limits (at some point). We took turns at the front, and drove the cars in a manner you would all be proud of...

Sorry to cut it short, I have a Director level review to go to. I'll try and finish this later.

To come...

- the CHP on the PCH
- a Corvette owner's whiplash
- pictures of the trip
- arriving in SF
- Fog City diner
- driving the route
- Chad and his fans at the gym across the street

Sorry to leave you hanging.

Lt.

The performance out of the motor was part by design and part constrained by the architecture. The 4.6 2V was limited as to what it could produce without significant investment that in a business sense did not add up. Also, being incremental HP/ torque from a GT and less than a Cobra was by design. I don't think we missed all that much. The car delivered as a balanced package.

I've been holding back a bit on an answer for you guys on the questions from the last couple of pages. I want to be careful how I phrase this.

First the political answer.

We are in a climate where the business case wins. Makes sense right? Well, how do you quantify passion or that emotive quality? Red calipers don't make sense to many, but those of us that "get it", get it. Right?

Which leads me to the crux of it. Truth is, there are very few people from the '01 team on the '08 team. You can look at that a variety of ways. What I want to illuminate is the fact that the '01 was born as the passion poured out of the team developing it. The '08 - a fantastic car in many respects - might lack the emotive qualities because it was not born of the same passion. There is an honesty in the '01car that is lacking in the '08. It's okay though. The '08 has incredible appeal in its own way.

Besides, we didn't make enough of the cars the first time around, and there is always room in the garage for two right?
 

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Thanks guys for posting and editing....I know it takes a long time to do...GREAT READ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!This should be made a sticky.................
 

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just "re-browsing" through, and he said early on that he had tons of pics but didn't know how to post them...hmmm?????/
 
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