Image by Gonzalo Barrientos via Flickr
- The original Ford Mustang debuted on April 17, 1964 at a price of $2,368 – a bargain even at that time.
- Dealers were inundated with requests for the vehicle. In Garland, Texas, 15 customers bid on the same Mustang, and the winner insisted on sleeping in the car overnight to guarantee that it wouldn’t get sold from under him before his check cleared the next day.
- Ford expected annual sales of about 100,000 units, but 22,000 Mustang orders were taken on the first day, and sales reached an astounding 417,000 in the car’s first 12 months on the market.
- Not much more than a month after its introduction, Ford’s new Mustang was on the racetrack as the pace car for the 1964 Indianapolis 500 race.
- The early Mustangs have figured prominently in hundreds of notable films to date, beginning in 1964 with the James Bond movie Goldfinger, in which Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 chased a white Mustang convertible.
- Mustang-crazed parents bought 93,000 pedal-powered children’s Mustangs during the 1964 Christmas season.
- In 1965, the Shelby GT350 was introduced, with a 306 horsepower V-8 engine, giving the Mustang performance credibility.
- Mustang sales passed the one million mark in March of 1966. The 1966 Mustang was the first – and perhaps the only – car to park on the 86th floor observation deck of New York’s Empire State Building. Ford engineers disassembled a 1966 Mustang convertible and took it up in four sections using the building’s passenger elevators.
- Mustang-mania hit full force. The 289-cid V-8 “Hi-Po” engine became available. Carroll Shelby adapted the Shelby GT350 for Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) competition, and the GT350 went on to win three straight SCCA national championships.
- The 1967 Mustang was considered by many to be the high water mark for Mustang design in the 1960s. The 2+2 model went from a semi-notchback to a sweeping full fastback roofline. Separate triple tail lamps, a longer nose and a bigger grille made for a more aggressive stance.
- In 1968, the 428 Cobra Jet engine was introduced as part of an option package aimed at enthusiasts, and it helped make the Shelby GT500 become King of the Road – KR.
- A “steed for every need” philosophy yielded 11 different powertrain combinations in 1969. New models added to the lineup included hot rods like the 290 horsepower Boss 302, the 375 horsepower Boss 429 and the Mach 1, giving the Mustang its muscle car heritage. The Grande luxury model also was introduced.
- In 1970, a ram air “Shaker” hood scoop could be ordered on any Mustang equipped with a 351-cid or larger V-8.
- The 1971 Mustangs were the biggest Mustangs ever – nearly a foot longer and some 600 pounds heavier than the originals. The Boss 351, with its 351 “Cleveland” V-8
and Cobra Jet heads, debuted. The Mach 1 was available with a variety of powertrains, topped by the 370 horsepower 429 Super Cobra Jet.
- In 1973, the impact of gasoline shortages, rising insurance premiums and emissions controls brought the muscle car era to a close. The 1973 model was the last original Falcon-platform Mustang, and the convertible model was discontinued.