History of the Ford Mustang: The Birth of the Pony Car
The Ford Mustang has earned iconic status among cars. It is viewed as the definition of a muscle car that balances sophistication, speed, and aesthetic appeal. And if its commercial success is anything to go by, the Ford Mustang ticks all the right boxes. It has a rich history that dates back to the 60s. The market needed speed and it wanted the embodiment of freedom, and Ford was at the right place to deliver.
The First One
In April 1964, Ford debuted its first Mustang. The media at the time carried the story about the car, with the New York Times dubbing it “A Ferrari for the masses”. Against an initial projection of 100,000 sales, the debut model had 22,000 orders after its first showing. It came in 3 models, differing in engine size but boasting incredible power. In just 4 months, sales had exceeded the initial projection. In June that same year, a newer model, the 289 V8 launched. Ford’s launch was so successful that sales had to be done via the lottery. It took 2 years for sales to hit 1 million.
The Shelby Collaboration
In 1965, Ford wanted to improve the Mustang’s performance. Racer Carroll Shelby had been using an upgraded Mustang for his races. However, on doctor’s orders, Carol Shelby had to quit racing. Thus, the iconic Shelby was born. It was a collaboration between the English company AC Car Limited and Ford. The GT350 did exceptionally well in races. However, the Shelby Mustang identity didn’t really take off until the debut of the 1967 Mustang GT 500. Only 2000 of these cars were made.
The demand for sporty muscle cars was going up. The Boss 302 and Boss 429 become among the brand’s most recognized brands. To date, the 429 is still a collector’s item.
After 20 years of production, Ford wanted something special. It created a V8-powered GT that was meant to announce its continued dominance of the muscle-car range. Unfortunately, after a successful run, there were fears that the Mustang brand was fading into obscurity. In 1989, a Mustang-Mazda collaboration saw the rebirth of the Ford Mustang. It was dubbed the Ford Probe. It featured the look of a Mazda but had the power and mass appeal of the Mustang that the people loved. That move saved the brand.
In 1993, the Cobra R performed well in sales although it had the Mazda look. As the new millennium approached, there were calls for a rebranding. The rebranding came in the form of the 2000 SVT Mustang Cobra R.
New Millennium, New Look
After four generations of Mustangs, there was some excitement over what the new generation Mustang would look like. The 2005 version came with a wider grill and a bulky body. This was in line with calls from a younger demographic who wanted the look and performance of the Mustang but with enhanced safety features. In 2007, after a lengthy hiatus, Shelby was back for the rebranding of the GT500. This look carried on well into the mid-2010s.
There were numerous performance upgrades in between, but the Ford Mustang maintained its appeal even in the face of competition from Dodge and Chevrolet.
Ford at 50
Ford was looking to expand the Mustang’s popularity to Europe. The 2015 Ford Mustang had hints of its past look. However, the most surprising thing about it was the economic Eco-Boost engine. This engine was supposed to maintain the performance of the car but reduce fuel consumption. It maintained the grill but the overall look was more aggressive and streamlined. The interior had great additions that made the car an excellent daily drive.
In 2016, the GT350 got a newer engine dubbed the Voodoo engine. The race version of the GT350 had the same engine but fewer conveniences than its non-race counterpart.
In 2018, the Mustang got an engine upgrade to the new Coyote Engine. The body remains largely the same except for a front revamp and upgraded rear bumper. Most of the changes in the 2018 version were interior, with additions such as customizable gauge hues. The 2020 version is already a point of excitement. Its most expected upgrade is the new Predator engine. Reports indicate it could reach up to 760 Horsepower.
The Ford Mustang brand continues to mesmerize in both looks and performance. The future looks just as rich as the car’s history. If you're interested in Classic Ford Mustang Parts or Late-Model Ford Mustang parts, we have everything you need here at Cal Pony Cars!