My Car Quest

February 28, 2024

Concepts: 1970 Ford Mustang Milano

It seems to have influenced the modern day Dodge Challenger…

by Wallace Wyss –

In the late ’60s leading into the ’70s, Ford was intent on coming up with an Italian influenced car. Most of the Ford prototypes had Italian names and Henry Ford II, chairman of the board, had an Italian wife. Ford was tied to DeTomaso, Ford even bought Carrozzeria Ghia from DeTomaso.

So that explains this long lost hatchback show car which seems one part Shelby and two parts a new shape on the side which ironically seems to have shown up on the Dodge Challenger decades later. The 1970 Ford Mustang Milano Concept was introduced in February 1970, as a design study for the upcoming 1971 Mustang. The nose was the 1970 Shelby – a car styled at Ford (Ford had taken over production and design of Shelby Mustangs in ’67).

Ford Mustang Milano

It was also only a two seater which would have never been sports car enough to compete with the Corvette. Reminds you of the saying “Don’t bring a knife to gunfight”. The color was called Ultra Violet, a moniker used by in real life Isabelle Collin Dufresne, a French-born artist, actress and author, the reigning beauty among the superstars of Andy Warhol’s glory days at his studio.

The car was low cut–43 inches tall, three inches taller than a GT40, and had a nearly horizontal fastback roof. The windshield was sloped back at a 67-degree angle probably as close as you can get to legal. The NACA-style ducts in the hood were modern thinking after the ’60s cars had bulbous hood scoops.

Ford Mustang Milano

Ford wasn’t into offering mag wheels, except on Shelby Mustangs and the by then discontinued Cobra, but this one had cast-aluminum wheels, with a laced design reminiscent of classic wire wheels. The seats were light purple leather with blue-violet cloth inserts. Deep purple mohair carpeting covering the floor just screams 1970. This was, you have to know, from the days when Peter Max, with his wildly pigmented pop art posters, was a sensation in the art world.

Ford Mustang Milano

You could stretch it and say future Mustangs used some of the design cues but also said to benefit was the the Australian-market 1974 Falcon XB coupe, the car driven by the title character in the first two Mad Max films.

This design is lithe and purposeful compared to the awkward 1971 Mustang. It had some weird quirks perhaps best forgotten like tail lights glowing green when accelerating, amber when coasting, and red when braking.

What happened to the Milano? I don’t think it was sold but Ford–in contrast to GM and Chrysler–does have a history of taking batches of concept cars to auctions that benefit charity.

I like it because it showed a direction Ford could’ve gone. I like it because it took Mustang into hatchback territory (used in the Mustang II) and the color name showed Ford designers were in touch with pop art. Detroit was, after all, not THAT isolated…

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Ford Mustang Milano

Wallace Wyss

THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss, a Detroit native and son of a Ford assembly line worker, has authored several books on Ford history. Most recently he’s a fine artist doing commissioned paintings of exotic cars.


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Concepts: 1970 Ford Mustang Milano
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Concepts: 1970 Ford Mustang Milano
At a time when Ford was influenced by Italy they designed the 1970 Mustang Milano concept.


  1. Wayne Watkins says

    Actually before the Ford Falcon XB coupe used in Mad Max , Ford Australia introduced the XA coupe in March 1972 . It was the first Falcon totally designed and manufactured in Australia although I would say they got their styling ideas from this Milano Mustang . It had longer frameless window doors and we called it the coke bottle look with its humpy rear . . In 1973 they had a run out model called Superbirds . It was a short lived model until the XB came in 74 with the same shape only with a different grill and tail lights .

    • Wayne,

      I always appreciate your comments. Do you have any photos of these Australian cars?

      • Wayne Watkins says

        I am hopeless with computers Mike or as the Japanese would say ” I bit wrong in the tooth ” But if you want pics , just Google or wiki Ford Falcon XA coupe or XB or XC coupe and there are plenty of pics . When Ford Australia introduced the XD Falcon it almost looked like a 4 door Fiat 130 coupe and from memory the XD was the first car in the world to have a plastic fuel tank . Ford had a lot of white XC coupes left over when the XD was due for release , so that painted wide blue stripes over the entire V8 coupes and numbered them with a plaque on the dash and called them Cobras . Of course they had different trim and lots of go faster bits and came in either autos or 4 speed manuals and are now highly collectable .

  2. Wayne Watkins says

    Here is a 72 Ford Falcon XA coupe Mike as I finally figured out how to do it !!

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