First displayed at the Chicago Auto Show in February 1970 at the International Amphitheatre, the Mustang Milano was one of a fleet of five Fords specially customized for the car show circuit that year. And while it never reached production, the Milano did foreshadow some significant future Mustang features—including the hatchback roof.
Based on a production 1970 Mustang body shell but with radically different lines, the Milano was just 43 inches tall, seven inches lower than a standard showroom Sportsroof. The low roofline and radically laid-back windshield—67 degrees—created an almost bullet-like overall silhouette.
To our eyes, the squared-off nose bears a strong resemblance to the ’69-’70 Shelby Mustang front snout, and to the production ’71-’73 Mustang nose as well. Ford press releases called the flamboyant paint color “Ultra Violet,” setting it off with a leather interior with high-back bucket seats in bold lavender and contrasting rainbow stripes. A set of matching luggage, also in lavender leather, stowed in the rear compartment.
The Milano’s giant tail lamps boasted a novel three-color warning system: Under acceleration the lamps glowed green, turned amber while coasting, and lit up in red like conventional brake lamps when stopping. The cast-aluminum lace wheels with wire-wheel motif remind us of the once-popular Appliance Wheels aftermarket pieces that were introduced around that same time, and they rode on specially constructed Firestone F60x15 tires with raised white letters.
According to the Ford press materials, “The uniquely styled rear deck lid, complete with built in air spoiler, is similar to tailgates on some European station wagons. Hinged at the top, the deck lid and backlite open electrically just above the taillights to provide generous accessibility to the rear luggage compartment.” So it seems Ford had the hatchback concept down pat—just not the term “hatchback.” Here the rear hatch area is large enough to swallow up two fashion models, not nearly as roomy as the handy but smaller cargo space on the 1974 Mustang II hatchback. We don’t know what became of the Milano but as with so many Motor City show cars, it is presumed destroyed.