So, I forgot to post yesterday in honor of National Mustang Day. April 17th might seem like a very odd day to memorialize such a famous American automobile; so why that day? On March the 9th, 1964 the first Mustang; a Wimbledon White convertible with a 260-cubic inch V-8 engine; rolled off the assembly line in Dearborn, Michigan. A little more than a month later, on April 17th, 1964 the Ford Mustang debuted at the World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York. It was on that stage that a legacy was born. The introduction of the Mustang started a new class of cars commonly known as: the pony car. The Mustang’s styling caught the world’s eye and grew in popularity. It also inspired a lot of the competition which are known now as the Significant 7 (The Ford Mustang, The Chevrolet Camaro, The Pontiac Trams Am, The Plymouth ‘Cuda, The Mercury Cougar, Dodge Challenger, The AMC AMX). The Mustang was originally sold as just a hardtop and convertible option; but in August of 1964, customers could also get a fastback version.
The first-generation Mustang was relatively unchanged from 1964 through 1973. Lee Iacocca, who was one of the original creators behind the original Mustang, had became President of Ford Motor Company by the time 1974 rolled around and in response to the oil crisis; he ordered the design team to create a smaller, more fuel-efficient Mustang. Dubbed the Mustang II, it didn’t really have anything in common with the preceding model. it was ultimately based on the Ford Pinto subcompact car and made its debut on September 21, 1973 (two months before the oil crisis). The reduced size allowed the car to be competitive against the newly imported Japanese Toyota Celica and the European Ford built compact car, the Mercury Capri. The 1975 saw the inclusion of a V8 option after the 1974 models were only available in the 2.3 liter inline four cylinder from the Ford Pinto or the 2.8 liter Cologne V6 found in the Mercury Capri. The 302 cubic inch (4.9 L) Windsor V8 was only available with a C-4 automatic transmission. It continued to be this way until the end of the Mustang II which was in 1978.
The third generation of the Mustang saw a complete change. The new Mustang was based on the larger Fox body platform (other Fox body cars include the Ford Fairmont and Mercury Zephyr). With the larger body, the Mustang had an increased wheelbase which yielded more space. The larger engine bay, back seat and trunk capacity was a big hit with buyers. Ford now offered a coupe (aka the notchback), hatchback, and convertible and with each variation offered a variety of packages and engine options.
In November of 1993, a car code-named the “SN-95” was debuted. The Mustang saw its first redesign in 15 years and incorporated styling cues from earlier Mustangs but was very different at the same time. For the first time since 1964; the Mustang was not available in a coupe (aka notchback) model. The Mustang came as either a 3.8 OHV V6 or a V8. The Mustang also, after nearly 30 years of use retired the 302 cid pushrod small-block V8 and was replaced with a modular 4.6 L 281 cid SOHC V8 for the 1996 model year. In 1999 was again reskinned The interior, proportions and chassis were remained the same but the 1999-2004 Mustang had Ford’s new styling with sharper contours and creases in its bodywork.
Code-named the “S-197” (I guess they use a lot of code names in the car business) was introduced at the 2004 North American Auto Show. The newly re-designed 2005 model year Mustang was reminiscent of the fastback Mustang from the late-1960s. The car not only saw a newly designed exterior with a reduced drag coefficient while the engine was unchanged, the interior saw a few upgrades.
The sixth generation brings us to present day. Back in 2015, Ford debuted yet another rendition of the famous Mustang. The current Mustang is as popular as ever and whether we’re referring to the Ford direct cars or the many variations modified by companies (ie Shelby, Saleen, Roush) throughout the years; Mustangs are the American muscle car. I’m sure that any Camaro fan would disagree with me in emphasizing the cultural significance of this car but since my first car was a Fox-body Mustang; I am slightly partial.
1964 Ford Mustang Convertible by Sicnag – 1964 Ford Mustang Convertible, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40645649
1978 Ford Mustang King Cobra by Sicnag – 1978 Ford Mustang King Cobra, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40645475
1980 Ford Mustang Ghia Hatchback by Sicnag – 1980 Ford Mustang Ghia Hatchback, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40645609
Featured Image – 1993 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra Hatchback by Sicnag – 1993 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra Hatchback, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40645591
1995 Ford Mustang GT by Kieran White from Manchester, England – 1995 Ford Mustang 5.0 GT, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38606091
Mustang by Ben – Mustang, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=66494677
Geneva Motor Show 2014 (photo taken on first press day) by Norbert Aepli, Switzerland, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31448683