Though it harks back to the classic saloon designs of the 1960s, Ford says its 427 concept is a showpiece of the possible design direction for a future model line. It debuted at the 2003 North American International Auto Show as part of Ford’s biggest-ever wave of new product and concept introductions, nine of which are cars.

The 427 concept is a modern, all-American saloon inspired by the exuberance of the company’s landmark sedans of the 1960s, including the uncompromising, 590-horsepower engine that inspired its name.

“This is a car that you take home, park in your driveway, sit back and let your neighbour eat his heart out,” said Ford design head J Mays. “The 427 concept is unmistakably Ford and 100% American. It demonstrates that a sedan from a US manufacturer can once again be exciting, sexy, sophisticated and powerful.
“It’s the kind of car that, when you drive it, makes you look like you’re doing something wrong,” Mays added.

To create the 427 concept, Ford designers went back to the blue oval saloons that defined American luxury and performance in the 1960s. They constructed a wish list of elements they felt would be needed to create a modern-day interpretation of the large, family saloon and then incorporated those into a car that would unmistakably be a Ford.

The concept proportions are long, low-slung and wide and graphical simplicity is emphasised by the use of brushed billet trim to highlight the window line and rocker.

The car’s overall profile is clean, smooth and unfettered by extraneous detail. The front fascia is vertical and linear with a powerful, thick bent bar grille that was inspired by the mid-sixties Galaxie lineup. The front headlamps and rear taillamps are vertical, drawing from the same era but adding modern rounded square cues.

The wheels feature an iconic five-spoke wedge-shaped configuration wrapped with 19-inch rubber. The nomenclature is a modern rendition of the ‘427’ logo that saw use on the Galaxie 500 XL 427. When all of these elements are combined, they cast a silhouette that is unquestionably Ford and unabashedly American.

Where the Ford 427 concept exterior design is all-American, the interior is fully modern. Contemporary exterior themes of the muscular bent grille, the squared vertical headlamps and clean American profile are carried over to the interior.

The saloon’s black interior is wrapped in black handcrafted leather with cornmeal stitching. Recessed brushed billet trim panels near the A-pillars create the visual effect of the door as a solid, cohesive part of the car. The doors are wrapped in leather and feature offset armrests. They include additional brushed billet trim and door handles, building on the structural visual experience. The seats have racing inspired contours with brushed aluminium seat backs and bases. They also add to the structural effect, making it appear as if long pieces of soft leather have grown out of steel bases.

The steering wheel carries the same leather stitching and visible through the wheel is an instrument cluster with a rounded square speedometer and tachometer that are direct descendants of the front and rear lamps. These gauges are analogue with bold black numbers bathed in a red glow. The instrument panel also employs billet end-caps that create the illusion that the panel has a core of solid steel. The rear view mirror is trimmed in similar fashion.

The centre console runs the entire length of the interior, conveying the sense that the car has the strength and structure to handle a large, potent powerplant. It also creates a sensation that its four-passenger bucket seats form individual roomy fighter jet cockpits. The console houses the six-speed shifter with brushed billet base capped off with a soft leather shift knob and integrated aluminium emergency brake. Its lower portion adjacent to the floor pan is trimmed in billet and accents the angular slotted billet pedals. Finally, the carpet is all black with chrome checkered flag buttons fastening it in place.

The modern version of the Ford 427 concept’s power plant started off as a cloak and dagger “skunk works” project commissioned by product development head Chris Theodore, who wanted to know if it was feasible to craft an all-new, lightweight 427 cubic inch (7.0-litre) engine out of Ford’s highly flexible modular V8 engine family.

Ford’s Powertrain Research & Development answered the call and began working under the radar screen on a limited budget.

The 427 engine produces 590 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 509 foot-pounds of torque at 5500 rpm. Remarkably, the engine is almost 70 pounds lighter than the 5.4-litre 32-valve Cobra R engine from the Ford Mustang. The 427 achieves this high power-to-weight ratio with a siamese bore aluminum V10 engine block, a pioneering metal spray process to maximise the bore at 95mm, new lightweight forged aluminium pistons with a very short compression height, aluminum cylinder head derived from the SVT Cobra R Mustang, new billet H-beam connecting rods and billet steel common pin crankshaft for increased strength without the need for a balance shaft and lightweight hollow stem valves.