Posted Juerg Weidmann on April 13, 2011
Perhaps no other automobile represents American innovation and culture more completely than the beloved Ford Mustang. From its initial rollout in 1964 to the present day, this car has had a magnetic appeal that spreads across the entire demographic markup of the U.S. and other countries. And yet there is nothing mysterious about this particular make of vehicle; it was simply introduced at the right time and in the right way. And a legend was born.
The First Generation Mustang
The so-called T-5 design was an exciting departure for the Ford Motor Company and called for a two-seat roadster appearance. However the decision to remake the vehicle as a 4-seat model was based on the poor reviews of a similar experiment with the Thunderbird make. The revised project design was unveiled at the 1964 World's Fair in New York, and the original sticker price was under $2400.
The name "Mustang" is credited to more than one source. An original style engineer, Pres Harris, is said to have been an adoring fan of the old P-51 Mustang warplane, but the name may also have been suggested by Robert Eggert, a Ford market research manager, who aside from his day job was in the business of horse breeding.
The new car was projected to sell about 100,000 units in its first full production year, but the public response was far in excess of predictions. Over 400,000 Mustangs were purchased in the 1964-1965 year, and Ford decided not to incorporate major changes to the automobile’s design for 1966. Thus began the tradition of generation models, much like what was now being marketed by Lincoln Motors with its popular Mark series.
Second And Third Generation Mustang
Ford announced a major overhaul of the Mustang for 1974. Earlier model years were equipped with the 289ci V-8 engine, with the larger 352ci as optional. The car had grown increasingly heavier as well, but with the Arab oil embargo of 1973 came the need for more fuel efficient cars. The “Mustang II” looked much like the original 1964 model, but was now equipped with the latest emission control devices and safety features. It did not have the power of the original model, and in the public’s view was no longer a borderline muscle car. Another major change occurred in 1979, when the Mustang was redesigned along the Fox platform, and was for the first time given a more rounded, sleek appearance.
Fourth And Fifth Generation Mustang
A notable design change was made in 1994, as the Mustang was given a new V-6 engine and the hatchback option was discontinued. The Mustang GT was the variant that now came standard with the large V-8 engine, and the newer contouring styles made this generation far different in appearance than its predecessors. In 2005 the fifth generation model returned the front end of the car to its original appearance, and completely redesigned the convertible version. The Mustang was now built on a D2C platform, and for the first time options such as a glass roof and a choice of performance transmissions were available.
The Shelby Variant
This variant of the Mustang was built by Shelby American Motors from 1965 to 1970, and was produced as a high performance vehicle. It was lighter than the standard Mustang model, and was equipped with a 4.7 liter V-8 engine. Popularly known as the GT 350, this car was quickly incorporated into the world of stock car racing, and soon had a new variation on the market known as the Cobra. The Mustang name was eventually dropped altogether as the car was selling well enough to be marketed exclusively under the Shelby name. Ford Motor Company was still responsible for most of the car’s design, and in 1970 Carroll Shelby decided not to renew his contract to build this muscle car.
There is absolutely no doubt that Mustang Apparel will endure for another generation. The name itself is enough to keep this line in production as an American favorite enjoyed the world over.
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