Hal Sperlich, program manager for the 1964 Ford Mustang, says the formula that made the original model a hit is timeless.
"There is no car today that is a great-looking roadster configured with four seats, a good trunk, great styling, plenty of features and a low price," he says.
That was part of the magic that enabled Ford to sell a million Mustangs in the first 24 months.
Sperlich, 73, says the Mustang in its current form has too narrow a focus - performance - to attain the wide appeal of the original model. The first generation, with a few face-lifts, lasted until 1973. Mustangs since then have not sold in the same high volume as the original.
Ford has something in its lineup now that - using the original Mustang formula - could spawn a wildly successful car, Sperlich says.
In the 1960s, Ford engineers used a modified version of the Falcon's floorpan and suspension to create the Mustang. And Ford engineers could use the Focus to create a youth-oriented sporty car, Sperlich says.
"You would start with the Focus platform and modify it to create proportions of having a long hood and a short trunk," he says. "You move front wheels forward, and the rear wheels back, lower the cowl, keep a decent back seat and price it around $20,000."