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
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),
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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,