A Faster Horse
A new documentary film details the creation of the 2015 Mustang
By Steve Turner
Photos courtesy of White Horse Pictures
Heading into the one of the most significant Mustang milestones yet, the team of engineers and designers at Ford Motor Company faced a unique challenge. Not only were they charged with creating an all-new Mustang that would broaden the pony car’s appeal across the globe, but this same car would arrive to coincide with the car’s 50th anniversary. Those factors combined to create quite a pressure cooker for Team Mustang, but turning up the pressure a bit more was something new—a film crew.
Yes, as part of a marketing effort surrounding the Mustang’s milestone birthday Ford open its doors to a film crew that set out to make a movie about the Mustang’s anniversary. In the process director David Gelb and his team focused on the creation of the 2015 Mustang and the man responsible for bringing it to fruition, Dave Pericak. The result is a new feature film titled A Faster Horse, which debuts in theaters this Thursday and on Vimeo on demand the following day.
“I was startled by how much work goes into making a car. This car has more than 2,000 individual parts that need to be designed, tested, and produced on a massive scale. Over a billion dollars are on the line and thousands of jobs,” David explained. “And finally, the lives of every person that gets into one of these cars in the engineers hands. The stakes are a lot higher than I had initially thought. I hope that audiences will walk away from the film having a much better understanding and appreciation for just how much work goes into the creation of a legendary car like the Mustang.”
Clearly David knows a thing or two about creating movies. We had the opportunity to screen the film in advance of its nationwide debut and it presents a tale that even non-enthusiasts would find compelling. While the thrust of the film is the development and delivery of the 2015 Mustang, it deftly moves between the car’s past and present setting the stage for the new car’s arrival by reminding the audience of the pony car’s place in history. Take a look at the official trailer right here…
From the jump, A Faster Horse was like turning on a home movie and seeing your friends and family. We have been students of the sport for a lifetime—the kind of students that sit right up front and ask too many questions—so almost every past and present Ford employee interviewed in the film is a familiar face. Past designers like Jack Telnak and Gale Halderman enforced the challenge of delivering the Mustang look, while Team Mustang alumni, like Art Hyde and Hau Tai Tang, offered expert testimony about how much pressure is on the Mustang’s Chief Engineer.
“Our protagonist Dave Pericak is the Chief Engineer of Mustang, and is essentially the director of the car. He has loved Mustang since he was a kid, and now has to live up to not only the legend of the original car and the high expectations of a legion of dedicated fans, but also to his own incredibly high standards,” the director added. “It’s a story about teamwork, leadership, and trying to stay true to your vision when everyone else is trying to tell you what to do. It’s not unlike filmmaking.”
In our interview earlier this week Dave was able to reflect on his successful run as the Mustang’s Chief Engineer, but in the film you get a peek inside the development process, from troubleshooting to adhering to the budget. There are so many parts and variables in a car that it really is amazing that cars move from the drawing board to the highway. A Faster Horse gives you a greater appreciation for the efforts of the people behind the scenes.
While the struggles certainly provide cinematic drama, we really enjoyed the candid look at the interactions between the team members. In particular, it was great to see the partnership between Dave and his longtime collaborator and Mustang Vehicle Engineering Manager, Tom Barnes. This duo was at the helm for the pinnacle of the S197 era—the 2012-2013 Boss 302—and continued on to revamp the Mustang for the world stage.
In addition to getting a window into the Mustang development process, the film also offers a glimpse at just how much the car means to the people behind the scenes. We have had the good fortune to get to know many of these people over the years, and the movie let’s the viewer get to know them as well. From personal Mustang stories to the enthusiasm that comes through in interviews, this movie brings the people behind the pony to life.
A Faster Horse also looks at the Mustang from outside of Ford in. There are glimpses from Mustang enthusiasts that show how passionate Mustang fans are. It also shows that such a passionate fan base can be a double-edged sword as fans reacted to the illustrated guesses at what the 2015 Mustang would look like.
Even as the car is being developed, there is a telling scene as Dave drives out of a Ford facility and asks a fellow Ford employee what she thinks of the 2015 Mustang. She hadn’t quite come to grips with the new design, and he drives away with saying that he hopes the car grows on her.
Of course, the film culminates with the big public reveal of the 2015 Mustang, and now that it’s out we can see that Team Mustang succeeded in its efforts to push the car into the future.
Whether you are a fan of the latest Mustang or any of its predecessors, A Faster Horse is a love letter for the enthusiast. And, even if you are a just a fan of cars in general, we can’t recommend the film highly enough. It is packed with emotion, drama, and a real, inside look at the development of the 50th Anniversary Mustang.
Check it out tomorrow in theaters or download it from Vimeo on demand starting this Friday.