Forget King Kong – in New York this week there’s been something far more interesting exposed to the elements at the top of the Empire State Building.

A bright yellow Ford Mustang convertible was this week taken 1000 feet up onto the observation deck on the 86th floor of New York’s tallest building as part of the Mustang’s 50th anniversary, recreating a stunt first undertaken by Ford in 1965.

As you can imagine, getting it up there is no mean feat. Six weeks of planning were needed, and Ford enlisted the services of Michigan firm DST Industries, the company also responsible for getting the Mustang up the building in 1965.

“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,” says George Samulski, manager of Ford North America design fabrication, on the challenges.

Therefore taking it up in the lifts was the only solution, for which the car had to be cut up into sections as had happened in the 1960s.

In preparation Ford measured all the lifts and doors in the Empire State Building to see if the Mustang could fit. DST worked on two prototype Mustang convertible bodies to see where the cuts needed to be made.

Once the sections were decided, bespoke rolling carts and wooden crates were made for the individual sections to transport them up to the observation deck. DST even made a wooden mock-up of the smallest lift to make sure the crates fitted, and the sections were weighed to check they didn’t go over the weight limit of the freight lift and two passenger lifts the sections were to travel up.

DST would only have a six-hour window between 2am and 8am when the building’s observation deck was closed to the public to get the Mustang up there and assembled, so several practice runs at its headquarters got the process down to a tee.

They succeeded, and the Mustang is up at the top of the Empire State Building now, before DST moves in on Friday morning to reverse the process in the same six-hour window. Impressive, no? 

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