Image by PercyGermany via FlickrIt was April 17, 1964, when Ford unveiled the original long hood, short deck pony car—the Mustang—at the World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, Queens. Ford is now preparing to celebrate the car's 45th Anniversary.
18. Mustang Turns 25, Steers Wins
In its silver anniversary year, Mustang returned to Trans-Am as rookie driver Dorsey Schroeder drove Ford’s anniversary car, numbered 25, while Lynn St. James returned to a Mustang. Schroeder won his very first race on his way to six season wins, a drivers’ championship and a leading role in Ford’s first Trans-Am manufacturers’ title since 1970
19. A Winning Tradition
The Roush Mustangs carried on the winning tradition in 1986 with eight more GTO wins and another manufacturers’ title for Ford. Scott Pruett scored seven of those wins and claimed the GTO drivers’ championship, as well as the GT Endurance Championship—with more than a little help from Bruce Jenner.
20. Manufacturing a Winner Again
In 1985 nine Mustang victories brought Ford its first road-racing manufacturers’ championship since '70. Three of those wins belonged to Lyn St. James, the first ever for a woman in the series.
21. A Marathon of Wins
In February 1984, Wally Dallenbach Jr., John Jones and Doc Bundy won GTO class at the Daytona 24 Hours—the first of three consecutive Mustang victories in the season-opening marathon.
22. King of the GTO
A Roush-prepared Mustang, driven by Willy T. Ribbs and Wally Dallenbach Jr., won GTO class in the three-hour IMSA ’84 season finale at Daytona. It was the beginning of a Mustang reign as king of GTO.
23. In Hot Pursuit!
In 1983 The California Highway Patrol purchased 400 Mustangs to help troopers keep pace with high-speed pursuits.
24. Back in the Saddle
In Ford’s resurgent racing program of the 1980s, Mustang figured prominently from the beginning in '81. In International MotorSports Association GT racing, the turbocharged Miller Mustang, driven by Klaus Ludwig, came within a 10th of a second of winning its first race ahead of the dominant Porsche 935 Turbos. Ludwig then made the threat a reality with back-to-back victories at Brainerd and Sears Point.
25. Hometown Hero
In SCCA road racing, Mustang became the first domestic car ever to win the Showroom Stock, a national championship, when Ron Smaldone drove his turbo Mustang to victory at Road Atlanta.
Pro Stock gained popularity, and by 1975 a now-familiar name was in the record books. Bob Glidden drove a Ford Pinto to his first Pro Stock championship in ’74, and then switched to Mustang for ’75, winning four national events and his second NHRA championship—Mustang’s first Pro Stock title.
27. Trick Pony
Mustang was a favorite of short-track stock car racers through most of the 1970s. In '72, Dick Trickle raced a Mustang to a national record of 67 short track feature wins in one season.
28. Performance Pause?
Budget cuts, the oil embargoes and economic recession all contributed to the end of factory backing for Mustang's racing career in the 1970s—and to the end of the so-called muscle-car era. Of course, it didn't mean that Mustangs stopped racing.
29. Triple Threat
To performance enthusiasts, 1969 was dominated by the hottest Mustangs ever—428 Mach 1, Boss 429 and Boss 302.
30. You Better Slow That Mustang Down
The Mustang has inspired not only car enthusiasts but lyricists as well. In 1966 Mustang Sally was released by Wilson Pickett and is still a tune that continues to be covered by artists today.
31. A Top Performance
In 1967, Mustang 390 GT wins Cars magazine’s Top Performance Car of the Year.
32. One Million and Still Counting
In 1966 the millionth Mustang was built just before its second birthday in March '66.
33. Championship Heaven in ’67
In the 1967 Trans-Am series, Jerry Titus chalked up four more victories in a Shelby Mustang, won the drivers’ title and Ford took a second straight manufacturers’ championship. Mustang also won another SCCA B-Production road-racing title.
34. Prize Ponies
Jerry Titus, Bob Johnson and Mark Donohue drove GT-350s to national titles in 1965, and the GT-350 went on to win SCCA B-Production national championships for three straight years.
35. The man behind the Cobra Jet 428
Frustrated in the '60s when potential buyers would leave his dealership because the Mustang wasn’t fast enough, drag racer and owner of Tasca Ford in Rhode Island, Bob Tasca Sr. decided to take matters into his own hands. Using parts from the Ford service parts catalog, Tasca and his dealership team created their own engine: the Cobra Jet 428. On the drag strip, his engine blew away the competition thus resulting in a demand for the 428.
36. Shelby’s First Contribution
On Jan. 27, 1965, the first Shelby Mustang, a 1965 Shelby GT350, made its public debut. The car was an instant hit at the track. Shelby continued to make performance Mustangs for Ford until 1970. He rejoined forces with Ford in 2005 when he created the 2006 special-edition Shelby GT-H.
37. Racin’ to the Finish Line
By 1965 Ford was involved with cars competing in the National Hot Rod Association’s Factory Experimental, or A/FX class. Ten race ready Mustangs were built, and five of them qualified in the Factory Stock Eliminator field at the ’65 NHRA Winternationals. Bill Lawton drove his Tasca Ford Mustang A/FX to victory in the car’s very first race.
38. On the Right Track
A little more than a month after its April 17 introduction, Mustang was on the race track as a pace car leading the 1964 Indianapolis 500. Before the year was out, Mustang was a winner in competition, finishing first and second in class in the 1964 Tour de France International Rally.
39. The Born Identity
The first Mustang's VIN Number was 5F08F100001.
40. How much is that Pony in the window?
The base price upon introduction of the first Mustang was $2360.
April 17, 1964, people attacked the Ford showrooms. Everyone was in a frenzy to be one of the first to own the Mustang. Ford sold over 22,000 Mustangs the first day. By the end of the year, Ford had sold 263,434. By the end of the Mustang's first anniversary, April 17, 1965, Ford had sold 418,812 Mustangs.
42. The commercial that started it all
Ford was not unaware of how popular the car would be. They announced when the first television commercial would be shown and on April 16, 1964 at 9:30 pm on all three major television networks ABC, NBC and CBS, 29 million people tuned in to see it.
43. The name
The name Mustang was suggested by executive stylist John Najjar because he was an aficionado of the P-51 Mustang fighter plane of World War II.
Ford unveils a new car on October 7, 1962 during U.S. Grand Prix at Watkins Glen, N.Y., the Mustang.
45. The birth of a legend
In 1961, Lee Iacocca, vice president and general manager of Ford Division, had a vision. His vision was a car that would seat four people, have bucket seats, a floor mounted shifter, be no more than 180 inches long, weigh less than 2500 pounds, and sell for less than $2500.00. Out of this vision, the Ford Mustang was born.