From being a police car to a drag king and a collectible, Ford’s muscle car completes 52 years
This Sunday (April 17) marks a very special day in automotive history as it is
Ford Mustang day. Born on this day in 1964 was the Ford Mustang, which continues
to evoke passion among car enthusiasts around the world. We present some
facts from the car’s history that every Mustang lover needs to know.
Ford launched the first Mustang in themiddle of 1964, so the early batch ofMustangs are still referred to as the 1964½ Mustangs, despite Ford tagging them as 1965 model year cars. Unveiled to thepublic on April 17, 1964, the Mustangs went on to be one of the most popularcars after the Ford Model A (1927-31)
There are a couple of theories to how the Mustang got its name, but the officialversion from Ford’s corporate
archives gives credit to its stylist John Najjar and Philip Clark, who worked on
the original design of the Mustang I prototype from 1961. Najjar was a big fan of the P-51 Mustang fighter plane
from World War II which was itself an icon in the history of aviation.
The 1964 Mustang’s design paved the way for the term pony car–the elongated hood with the short
rear boot and the coupe style, which thereafter inspired many American car manufacturers. The
Chevrolet Camaro, Pontiac Firebird and the Dodge Challenger were some of those iconic cars that
were born with an inspiration of the Ford Mustang.
The price tag on the first generation Ford Mustang was just $2,368. The price was possible as a long list of common
parts from Ford Falcon and Fairlane were adopted. This also meant quicker production time, low costs and
skipping the training programme for assembly line workers and mechanics, which are usually required with
the launch of a new model.
When Ford made the original Mustang, it was supposed to be a two-seater, but was soon changed to be a four-seater coupe as Ford sensed the former’s sales was dwindling. With a target to sell a lakh Mustangs by the first year, Ford reached the number within three months and went on to sell more than 3.18 lakh cars by the end of the year.
While pony cars from other manufacturers soon followed the Mustang, they were eventually shelved. Some of these were even revived in recent years (Camaro and the Challenger), but the Ford Mustang remains the only pony car to never go out of production. Since its launch in 1964, the Mustang has gone through six generations, with the current generation even slated to make its official debut in India.
The last generation Mustang may not havehad a major role in this 2007 Will Smithstarrer, but the way it was featured is unforgettable. Driving around an abandoned city is the perfect tribute to theMustang’s pedigree as the exhaust roarechoes through the empty streets long before you catch sight of the car. Thebright red paint and double white racing stripes also add that rush of adrenaline tothe zombie chase scenes.
(A new pitstop formodern-day car and bike enthusiasts, this column features the latestmachines, reviews,roadtrips and more. By a team of automotiveinsiders, who call themselves MotorScribes)