For many automobile collectors, the Ford Mustangs of the 1960s were the quintessential American muscle cars. The two seat roadster, launched at the New York World’s Fair in 1964, was such a success, it was widely emulated by rival car makers and has been in continuous production for more than 40 years by Ford itself.
Priced at $2,400, the Mustang was powerful, stylish, and affordable, too. "Car Life" magazine called the vehicle “better than any domestically produced automobile on the basis of handling and roadability and performance, per dollar invested.” The initial hype was so great, some dealers auctioned off their precious allotments of Mustangs to the highest bidders—one nervous buyer spent the night in his new car while waiting for his check to clear. Ford sold more than a million Mustangs within the first two years of its release, making it the world’s fastest selling car at the time.
The Mustang’s design was actually based on Ford’s budget model, the Falcon, but it boasted a sportier look and European-inspired interior elements. The car came in notchback, fastback, and convertible models, with a range of other specifications that buyers could select. Bucket seats, a floor shifter, and a six-cylinder engine were all standard features, though a popular V-8 upgrade was also available.
Beginning in 1965, racecar driver Carroll Shelby sponsored the development of an updated, hot-rod version of the Mustang dubbed the GT350, which was jointly produced by Ford and Shelby American. It was a later version of this revamped Mustang that Steve McQueen drove in the chase scenes of “Bullitt.” Other popular designs with shorter runs include the GT500, the 428 Cobra Jet, the Mach 1, the Boss series, and the King Cobra. Design changes in the 1970s made the Mustang slower and bulkier, and the car lost much of its initial street credibility, with drivers referring to the altered Mustang as a “luxury bus.” However, the vehicle maintained a loyal fan base throughout the '80s, '90s, and early 2000s, with updated models released every few years.
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Film Friday: 'Styling and the Experimental Car' takes us from Da Vinci to the ...AutoWeek, April 18th
It debuted in 1964; not coincidentally, that's right around the time Ford pulled the sheets off the 1965 Mustang. This reel's objective, then, is to connect Ford's wildest flights of fancy to the very real car. It does so by walking us through a series...Read more
Mustang in the '60s: Vintage adsamNY, April 16th
Mustang was unveiled with great fanfare at the 1964 World's Fair, but here we see a sort of soft introduction for the far-flung public. Other than a bit of rhyming and alliteration and the brand slogan, "Ford-built means better built," there isn't a...Read more
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If the 1978 Ford Mustang King Cobra II isn't quite your thing, why not give the 1984 Ford Mustang SVO a try? In the Jan. 3, 1983, issue of Autoweek, we previewed a different take on the pony car -- one that promised "visual subtlety with unsubtle...Read more
One Lap of the Web: 1970, rollin' in sightAutoWeek, April 14th
In 1964, GM had Futurama II and Chrysler had the Turbine car, but Ford unveiled a sporty-like two-door runabout that it called the Mustang. Fifty years later, it's the most enduring example of a World's Fair that presented the car as the pinnacle of...Read more
Mustang Makes History with 50th Anniversary PhotoCanada NewsWire (press release), April 12th
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Driving the Ford Mustang II King Cobra: Some context requiredAutoWeek, April 10th
Technically the second-generation 'Stang, the Mustang II debuted as a 1974 model year car in 1973 and lasted only until 1978. And given the car it shared a platform with -- the infamous Pinto -- perhaps Ford would rather leave the uninspiring pony car...Read more
Vintage photos show Ford Mustang I and the elusive XD CobraAutoWeek, April 7th
Vintage photos show Ford Mustang I and the elusive XD Cobra. As the Ford Mustang turns 50, we look back at pony car history. Tweet · Pin It · Ford Mustang I concept front Photo by: William Drew. The Ford Mustang I concept didn't have much in common...Read more
Photos reveal the all-new Ford Mustang -- of 1979AutoWeek, March 28th
If you need further proof that everything old is new again, just look at the engine options for the upcoming 2015 Ford Mustang. That optional 2.3-liter turbocharged inline-four is generating a lot of buzz; it's expected to help keep the car sporty...Read more