David Pericak: His Dream Was to Own a Mustang – Now He’s in Charge of the Iconic Muscle Car

David Pericak, Chief Engineer
  • Who: David Pericak, chief engineer, Mustang
  • Role: Oversees development Ford Mustang, including engineering, manufacturing and cost
  • Did you know? Started his career as a manufacturing engineer in a parts plant

Each work day for Dave Pericak is absolutely packed. And he couldn’t be happier about it.

Pericak’s dream while growing up was to own a Ford Mustang. It’s a dream shared by many, as more than 9 million Mustangs have been sold.

Pericak has attained a position that other Mustang owners can only dream about: He’s Mustang’s chief engineer. That means he is responsible for engineering, manufacturing, quality, cost – in short, everything.

“You hear a lot about how people have their dream job and how lucky they are,” said Pericak. “Well, I’m definitely one of those lucky few. It’s an honor to lead the Mustang team. This car, more than any other, represents the freedom we have in this country and it is raw power at its finest.”

The 2011 Ford Mustang V6 is the first car ever to achieve 305 horsepower and up to 31 mpg highway. The 2011 Mustang GT returns to its rightful place, at its rightful displacement of 5.0 liters. This advanced twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) V8 engine delivers 412 horsepower and up to 26 mpg highway.

Adding to this outstanding Mustang lineup is the return of the Boss, specifically the limited-production 2012 Mustang Boss 302. Its high-revving small-block V8, true to Boss heritage, produces 444 horsepower.

The goal of the Boss program was as simple as it was daunting: Build the quickest, best-handling straight-production Mustang ever offered by Ford.

The 2011 Mustang GT provided the foundation, but a full, comprehensive re-engineering of key components and systems ensures that the new Boss delivers. Also available is the track-oriented Boss 302 Laguna Seca model, which deletes the rear seat and adds race-ready suspension and aerodynamic treatments.

“The team at Ford wanted to offer their fellow Mustang enthusiasts something really special – a beautifully balanced factory-built race car that they could drive on the street,” said Pericak. “The Boss 302 isn’t something a Mustang GT owner can buy all the parts for out of a catalog or that a tuner can get by adding a chip.

“This is a front-to-back re-engineered Mustang with every system designed to make a good driver great and a great driver even better.”

Moving the legend forward
Pericak said one of his goals as Mustang’s chief engineer is to bring even more edginess back to America’s favorite sports car.

“I want to take a great car and make it second to none,” he said. “The new Mustang is outstanding, and the next couple of years will be some of the most exciting for Mustang. Our vision is to make Mustang a world-class sports car.”

Pericak’s first Mustang was the 2000 GT convertible. He also has a 1968 version he’s restoring.

“Owning the cars and having a passion for them keeps me grounded with customer wants and expectations as I am truly a customer of Mustang,” Pericak said. “This helps me as I make decisions about Mustang going forward.”

City boy takes to country living
Pericak began his career at Ford as a manufacturing engineer at a parts plant working on door panels. This position afforded Pericak the chance to interact with several chief engineers and inspired his desire to direct a vehicle program himself.

“For the program to be Mustang was almost too much to hope for,” he said.

A native of Chicago, Pericak and his wife, KrysAnna (“my high school sweetheart”), have been married 13 years and live in Bruce Township, Mich., with their 20-month-old son Dominic.
“The best thing about living here is the outdoors,” said Pericak. “My house is my favorite place to hang out. We live on a pond – I love to fish – and have a bit of land. The wildlife is awesome. I always feel like I’m on vacation.”

Personal Insights and Fun Facts

  • Pericak has been married to KrysAnna for 13 years. They have one child, Dominic, 20 months
  • His favorite auto-themed movie is “Gone in Sixty Seconds.” Not surprisingly, the famous Mustang, named “Eleanor,” is his favorite car featured in a movie or TV show
  • In Pericak’s garage are a 1968 Mustang, a 2000 Mustang GT convertible, a Lincoln MKT and a Ford Focus. “I am going to add another Mustang soon,” he says
  • Pericak recently wrote a chapter in the book “Program Management Circa 2025”


About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 164,000 employees and about 70 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.ford.com.

Feb. 22, 2011

News Center