History of the Ford Mustang

History of the Ford Mustang

First introduced in 1964, the Ford Mustang inspired a whole new class of sporty coupes, which have continued to become bigger and badder throughout the years. The brainchild of vice president and general manager of Ford, Lee Iacocca, the first 180-inch long Ford Mustang was designed to seat four people. Ford’s first sports car also included a floor mounted shifter, weighed less than 2,500 lbs. and sold for less than $2,500. After months of meetings, discussions and market surveys, funding was finally approved for the Mustang in September of 1962. On March 9,1964 the first Mustang rolled off of the assembly line.

First Generation Power
Engine choices for the first generation of Ford muscle car power started with a 170-cubic-inch (2.8-liter) OHV straight six that made just 101 HP; a 200-cubic-inch (3.3-liter) OHV straight six rated at a flaccid 116-HP; a 260-cubic-inch (4.3-liter) OHV V8 breathing through a two-barrel carburetor and making 164-HP; a 210-HP two-barrel-equipped 289-cubic-inch (4.7-liter) V8; a four-barrel 289 making 220-HP; and, at the top, the famous "K-code" high-compression, solid-lifter, four-barrel 289 pumping out a lusty 271-HP. K-code-equipped cars got a special badge on their front fenders indicating that not only did the engine displace 289 cubic inches, but that it was also the "High Performance" version.

A three-speed manual transmission was also standard with every engine. The Cruise-O-Matic three-speed automatic transmission was also offered.

Advertising Frenzy
Heavily advertised on all three major television networks the night before its release, left each of the Ford showrooms jam-packed with everyone in a frenzy to be the first one to own a Mustang. As a result, the automaker sold over 22,000 Mustangs its first day on sale. By its first anniversary year, Ford had already sold over 400,000 Mustangs throughout the U.S.

Ford Mustang Fastback
As Ford continued on its successful path with their new-found glory, the history of the Ford Mustang became a powerful one. In 1965, the first Mustang Fastback, which was to become the basis for Carroll Shelby’s GT350, was born. Gone forever was the 260 V8 that few buyers were choosing anyhow.

After introducing the new power, America’s appetite for the Mustang skyrocketed with more than 500,000 Mustangs sold in its second model year.

Shelby GT350
As the word spread about Ford’s powerful new sports car the news caught the ear of Texan and longtime racer Carroll Shelby. Shelby saw the potential to slay the once masterful Chevrolet Corvettes on the racetrack. To do so, Ford needed to create its first two-seater.

To achieve his dream of racing the first Ford Mustang, Shelby took 100 Mustang Fastback’s to Los Angeles for modification. After tossing the rear seats aside, Shelby added performance parts such as oversize front disc brakes, a fiberglass hood and a lowered suspension with oversize tires on 15-inch wheels. Shelby's legendary series of modified Mustangs would be built through 1970 in various forms and are now considered some of the most desirable Mustangs ever built.

The Future of Ford’s Top Muscle Car

Fast forward more than 50 years later and the history of the Ford Mustang has become even more golden. Today, the Ford Mustang is one of the most sought-after sports cars across the globe, with Germany and China making up most of the growth over the last year alone.

As the 2018 Ford Mustang, with all its new bells and whistles, including an engine that provides more torque for wide-open throttle acceleration than ever, rolls onto the market this fall there is no doubt that this muscle car will continue to be on top of the competition.

So, if you are ready to slip behind the wheel of one of the hottest pieces of sports car history, get to your Southern California Ford Dealer today to feel those ponies run!