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U.S. Originals

Ford Mustang History

Between 1960 and 1963 the Ford Motor Company decides to develop a fun-to-drive "personal car" that will appeal to the post-World War II "baby boom" generation. Ford’s still-unnamed personal car is to be derived from the Ford Falcon. The winner of an in-house design competition establishes the classic "pony car" proportion: a long, sweeping hood, short rear deck and sharply sculpted flanks.
The first Mustang – the 1962 Mustang I concept – is a two-seat, mid-engine sports car named after the legendary P51 Mustang fighter plane from World War II.
The world debut of Mustang occurred at the World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York on April 17, 1964.
Standard equipment includes a 170-cubic-inch (cid) six-cylinder engine, three-speed floor-shift transmission, full wheel covers, padded dash, bucket seats and carpeting. It weighed just 2,572 pounds. The price at launch: $2,368.
22,000 Mustang orders were taken on the first day, and sales reached an astounding 417,000 in car’s first 12 months.
The first regular production Mustang was a Wimbledon White convertible with a 260-cid V-8 that rolled off the assembly line on March 9, 1964. While on a promotional tour of Canada, a Ford dealer in St. John’s, Newfoundland "mistakenly" sold the car to Capt. Stanley Tucker, a pilot with Eastern Provincial Airlines. Ford reacquired the car from Capt. Tucker in 1966 in exchange for Mustang number 1,000,001, and the original car is now on display at The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Mich.
The Shelby GT350 is introduced in 1965 and has a 306-horesepower (hp), 289-cid V-8.
In 1966 Mustang sales pass the one million mark in March. A 1966 Mustang is the first – and perhaps only – car to park on the 86th floor observation deck of New York’s Empire State Building. In October 1965, Ford engineers disassembled a 1966 Mustang convertible and took it up in four sections using the building’s passenger elevators.
1967: The 1967 model is considered by many to be the high water mark for Mustang design in the 1960s. The 2+2 model goes from a semi-notchback to a sweeping full fastback roofline. Separate triple tail lamps, a longer nose and a bigger grille also are added for a more aggressive stance.
The Shelby GT500 goes on sale, powered by a massive 428-cid V-8 that produces 355 hp.
In the following years Mustangs are getting more and more powerful.
The 1971 cars are the biggest Mustangs ever — nearly a foot longer and some 600 pounds heavier than the originals. Gone from the lineup are the Boss 302, Boss 429, Shelby GT350 and GT500. The Boss 351, with its 351 "Cleveland" V-8 and Cobra Jet heads, debuts. The Mach 1 is available with a variety of powertrains, topped by the 370-hp 429 SCJ (Super Cobra Jet).
1973: The impact of gasoline shortages, rising insurance premiums and emissions controls brings the muscle-car era to a close. The 1973 model year is the last for the original Falcon-platform Mustang. The convertible is discontinued.

The Mustang Generation II starts in 1974 and lasts until 1978.
This era is marked by more economic engines and reduced output.
In 1974 the completely redesigned Mustang II is introduced. Compared with the 1973 model, the Mustang II is 19 inches shorter and 490 pounds lighter. There are only two engine choices – a 90-hp, 2.3-liter inline four cylinder or a 100-hp, 2.8-liter V-6. For the first time, there is no V-8 engine and no Mustang convertible.
In 1975 the V-8 power returns to Mustang, but the 302-cid V-8 engine produces only 130 hp and comes only with an automatic transmission.

The 3rd generation Mustang arrives 1979 with the new "Fox" platform Mustang. The new model is longer and taller than Mustang II, yet is 200 pounds lighter. A sleek, "Euro" design replaces many traditional Mustang styling cues. Engine choices are a 2.3-liter four-cylinder (including a 140-hp turbo version), a 2.8-liter V-6, a 3.3-liter inline six-cylinder and a 140-hp 5.0-liter V-8.
Highlights of this era are that the Mustang GT returns after a 12-year absence in 1982.
Also back is the 5.0-liter V-8, rated at 157 hp. In 1983 the Convertible returns. For Mustang’s 25th anniversary in 1989, all cars produced between April 17, 1989, and April 17, 1990, sport the familiar running horse on the dashboard with "25 years" inscribed underneath.
Ford’s new Special Vehicle Team (SVT) introduces in 1993 the limited-production SVT Mustang Cobra with subtle but distinctive styling cues and performance upgrades. The low-volume 1993 Cobra R, developed to be used as a race car, sells out prior to production.

In 1994 - for its 30th anniversary - Generation IV is introduced.
The Mustang is dramatically restyled to evoke the car’s heritage and performance tradition.
Fully 1,330 of the vehicle’s 1,850 parts are changed. During the next decade Ford Mustangs regain their strength and power.
In 1996 Mustang GTs and SVT Mustang Cobras are for the first time equipped with Ford’s 4.6-liter modular V-8 engine, which uses overhead cams to open the intake and exhaust valves. The Cobra’s 4.6-liter dual-overhead cam (DOHC) aluminum V-8 produces 305 hp.
In 1999 a redesign gives Mustang sharply creased lines and pronounced wheel arch flares, plus a new hood, grille, fascias and lamps. The SVT Mustang Cobra becomes the first Mustang with a fully independent rear suspension. The car’s 4.6-liter DOHC V-8 now produces 320 hp. In 2000 the third SVT Mustang Cobra R is produced. This lightweight, street-legal racing model has a 385-hp, 5.4-liter DOHC V-8 and features the first six-speed manual transmission ever in a Mustang. Production is 300 units.
Inspired by the 1968 Mustang GT390 driven by Steve McQueen in the movie classic "Bullitt," the Mustang Bullitt GT makes its debut in 2001. It has unique side scoops, 17-inch Bullitt-style aluminum wheels and a lowered, specially-tuned suspension.
The SVT Mustang Cobra gets an Eaton supercharger for its 4.6-liter V-8, which ups the power output to 390 hp and 390 lb.-ft. of torque. This made the 2003 Cobra the fastest, best-performing regular production Mustang to date.
The 2004 models will be the last cars built at Ford’s fabled Dearborn Assembly Plant, which has produced Mustangs every model year since the car's inception.

Generation V starts with model year: 2005: A newly restyled, back to the roots Mustang gives its debut. Production began in fall 2004 in Flat Rock, Michigan.

Ford Mustang
Ford Mustang

Ford Mustang 1966
1966 Ford Mustang


  Ford Mustang
  • 1964: Ford Mustang unveiled at New York World’s Fair on April 17, 1964
  • More than 8 million Mustangs have been sold since April 1964
  • Fifth-generation Mustang launched in fall 2004 - back to the roots

Document Information
Source: Ford Motor Company Press Media Release
Last modified: 20041202
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