The history of the Ford Mustang, a classic American automobile, is one of exceeding expectations. First released in April, 1964, the sleekly-styled Ford Mustang was an instant hit. It skyrocketed past Ford’s anticipated 100,000 units being sold in its first year to an astounding 417,000. The Mustang caused such a sensation, the 1964 Indianapolis 500 chose it as the pace car. By the end of its second year in production, over a million of the Mustangs had been sold. Ford had a hit on its hands.
The Shelby-made 1965 Mustang GT350 took the legend of the Ford Mustang to even higher heights. The Sports Car Club of America officially named it the first mass-produced class B Production car to be racetrack ready. With its 289-inch, 309 horsepower modified K-code engine, the lightweight car was able to produce incredible acceleration. The 1967 Carroll Shelby designed Mustang GT500 featuring a 427 cubic inch ‘Cobra Le Mans’ V-8 engine made the Mustang even more legendary and valuable because the company only produced about 2,000 of them.
The 1970s Mustangs
In the 1970s, Ford made some changes to the Mustang. The company released a Mustang with a 130 horsepower, 302-cid V-8 engine only available with an automatic transmission in 1975. Ford also produced the ‘MPG’ Stallion that year. In 1976, a Mustang with the Cobra II package was offered. It came in white, blue or black and featured a hood scoop, white, blue or gold racing stripes and front and rear spoilers to make it look like the famed Mustangs designed by Carroll Shelby.
Brand New Mustangs
To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the introduction of the Mustang, in 1984 Ford produced a special, limited-edition, Oxford White Mustang GT. Its interior was Canyon Red and it had a powerful V8 engine. In 1987, Ford introduced a Mustang with a new ‘aero-look’ body design and a 5.0-liter, 225 horsepower V8 engine. It was a new take on the Fox-body platform the company had introduced in 1979. The motoring public’s reaction showed they still loved the Mustang.
Sales Begin To Slow
The 1990s saw sluggish sales of the Mustang. Ford designers began looking at the popular, modern-looking, front-wheel-drive Mazdas for inspiration for the “new Mustang.” Public outcry led the newly created Ford Special Vehicle Team to use Ford Motorsports performance parts to produce the race car inspired 1993 Mustang Cobra R. Only a limited number were produced and prior to production, all of them had already been sold. The Cobra’s performance upgrades and racing styling cues attracted driving enthusiasts.
A Successful Makeover And Salute To An American Icon
The newly redesigned fourth generation Mustang released in 1994 was a huge success. Ford replaced the Fox platform they had used for 15 years and created a Mustang that looked brand new and felt radically different. Then in April, 1999 in North Carolina at the Charlotte Motor Speedway the Ford Motor Company, in conjunction with the 70,000 member-strong Mustang Club of America, saluted the iconic Mustang’s 35th birthday by unveiling their 1999 Mustang special 35th Anniversary edition. The company also revealed the 2000 Ford SVT Mustang Cobra R prototype. It was a fitting tribute to a legendary American icon.
Fastest Factory Mustang Ever
The 2000 SVT Mustang Cobra R started the new millennium with a bang. With its 385 horsepower, 5.4-liter DOHC V8 engine, it was the fastest Mustang the Ford factory had ever produced. Built for speed and performance, the 2000 Cobra R had no radio, no AC and no unnecessary weight to prevent it from delivering blazing speed on the track. Ford only made 300 of this speed demon and they all had Performance Red exteriors and Dark Charcoal interiors. This sleek, fast, performance powerhouse is a Mustang lover’s dream. It’s also among the rarest Ford Mustangs ever produced.
A Proud History
The history of the Ford Mustang is a proud one that reflects the vision, adventurous soul, determination and engineering genius. It created a car with style, speed, power and handling that bestowed it with legendary status and saw it immortalized in films James Bond’s 1964 ‘Goldfinger’ to the 2000 car chase classic ‘Gone in 60 Seconds’. The history of the Ford Mustang represents more than 50 years of automotive innovation.
The Fifth And Sixth Generation And Beyond
The fifth generation started with the ‘retro-futurism’ of the 2005 Mustang and the 2007 Mustang GT500 with its 500 horsepower 5.4-liter supercharged V-8 engine, Tremec TR-6060 smooth-shifting six-speed manual transmission and 18-wheels, built on a S197 Mustang inspired platform. The 2011 Mustang introduced the 412 horsepower, V-8 Coyote engine. And the evolution of the Mustang continues into the sixth generation with digital, personalizable, instrumentation, 10-speed transmissions, next level refinements and breathtaking exterior design. But under it all beats the heart of the original rebellious Mustang.