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The History of the Ford Mustang

By T Frady

The Ford Mustang was first introduced in 1964, at the World Exhibition of New York, and Americans immediately fell in love with the car. Everyone flocked to Ford showrooms, scrambling to be the first to own a Mustang. Over 22,000 Mustangs were sold on the first day! Sales reached 418,000 in the first year.

The first Mustang became known as the 1964½ and was available in two models, the coupe and the convertible. Features of both models included a lengthened hood and shortened rear deck, chrome wrap-around bumpers, chrome grill with a running horse, full wheel covers and a sporty interior. The cost for a standard Mustang was around $2,400. The GT and the fastback model were introduced in 1965.

The Shelby GT350 was also introduced in 1965. Its design was a collaboration between Ford and performance car legend, Carroll Shelby. Its goal was to create competition for the Chevy Corvette. The Shelby GT500 Mustang was first released in 1967. It was powered by a 428 V8 engine and sported numerous luxury options. It was produced until 1970. A new version of the Shelby GT500, considered to be the most powerful factory-built Ford Mustang in history, will be released in 2006. Shelby Cobra GT500’s supercharged 5.4-liter DOHC V-8 produces over 450 horsepower.

The 1967 Mustang sported simulated air-scoops and a larger grill and it was longer and appeared more aggressive. By 1969, the Mustang became bigger and heavier. New Mustangs were nearly four inches longer.

New models introduced in the 1969-1970 model year were the Grande, the Mach 1, the Boss 302 and the Boss 429. The Boss 351 model was introduced in 1971. In 1974, the Mustang II was released. It was smaller and more fuel efficient than previous models. This was also the first year that a convertible was not sold, and the only year that a V8 engine wasn’t available.

In 1976, the Cobra II package, which added a big rear spoiler, a fake hood scoop and blue stripes across white paint to a V8-powered fastback, was made available. It wasn’t any faster than similarly powered Mustang II’s, but it sure looked cool. The King Cobra, which was very similar to the Cobra II, debuted in 1978. Also in 1978, Ford stopped production on the Mustang

In 1982, the Mustang lineup included the GT hatchback, as well as the more luxurious series: L, GL and GLX. Evolving from its humble beginnings in 1982 to the hard-charging street performer of 1993, the third generation Ford Mustang GT has gained respect as one of the most versatile and popular Mustangs of all time. More than 450,000 of these cars were produced between 1982 and 1993. The fourth generation Mustang was introduced in December 1993 and was way more aerodynamic than its predecessors, while still embodying the same personality and style. The special edition SVT Cobra, made its appearance in 1993; and in 2001, the special “Bullitt” edition Mustang GT coupe was released.

For the 2005 model year, Ford redesigned the Mustang for the first time since 1994. Ford gave its iconic car a retro look with round headlights, chrome details inside and a throaty roar when accelerating, all hearkening back to its mid-’60s roots. Fans have been enthralled. It’s 1964 all over again! Except for the price, that is – pricing for a new Ford Mustang starts at around $20,000.