April 20, 2014
Ford’s Plan For Mustang’s Trip to The Top
Back at the beginning of April this year, I blogged on Ford placing a new 2015 Mustang on top of the Empire State Building, repeating what Ford did 50 years ago with the 1965 model Mustang. The only difference was that the new Mustang is bigger, so they had to devise another way of getting the new muscle car up the elevators.
The method has been released and our good friends at Top Speed have graciously shared it with us.
The ‘Stang was be placed on the observation deck at the 86th floor. The only way to get the car up there was to cut it up in pieces small enough to fit into elevators. The first time this was done, the car was cut into three sections, brought up and reassembled on the deck. Then after the viewing was over, it was brought back down in reverse order.
“This week, the band is getting back together as Ford and DST bring the all-new Mustang to the Empire State Building to honor 50 years on sale. We’ve taken the new Mustang to new heights of technology and refinement, so we decided to take it to new heights literally for this celebration,” Dave Patrick, Mustang chief engineer said.
With the 2015 Mustang being a little longer and a little wider, the car needed to be cut into six sections for the trip. Each of the sections was welded to a tube frame and was bolted back together for a showroom look when reassembled. The Mustang was available to be viewed on April 16, 17 and 18 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. After the closing on April 18, the crew disassembled the car and brought it back down the elevators.
“The observation deck is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m., leaving our crew of six with only a six-hour window to get everything out onto the deck and get the car assembled. Before we shipped the crates to New York, the crew spent several days practicing the entire assembly process – timing everything down to the minute – much like a NASCAR or Formula One pit crew,” Patrick added.
“When our engineers sat down with the DST team to start plotting this out in mid-February, everyone quickly realized that some old-school craftsmanship would be needed to successfully place this car more than 1,000 feet above the crowded streets of Manhattan,” said George Samulski, manager, Ford North America design fabrication. “The deck is too high to reach with a portable crane from the street, and the spire that towers more than 400 feet above that narrow deck makes helicopter delivery impossible.”
In preparation for this feat, two prototype convertible Mustangs were used and the team made a pre-inspection of the elevators to gain measurements to cut the Mustang down to pieces of the correct dimensions. The team used custom built carts to transport the pieces from the loading dock to the freight elevator and two passenger elevators. The carts were weighed to ensure they were not over the elevators’ weight limits.
Back in 1965, the only trouble they had was the steering wheel. “The only real problem we had in 1965 was the steering. When we tried to roll the middle section of the car with the windshield removed into the elevator, the top of the wheel stuck out a bit too far through the door, so we had to tip the cart a bit to get it in,” Claude Cochran a technician who worked on the first Mustang event as well as this one, said.
Image Credit: Ford Motor Company / TopSpeed.com