The Ford Mustang has been an American legacy for nearly 40 years. The “Pony Car” has its own unique history, which includes myths, rumors and outright falsehoods. It also has some very interesting and crazy facts that can be substantiated, making it one of the most sought-after and admired cars in automotive history. Here are 10 crazy, yet true facts about the Ford Mustang that will surprise and delight.
1. Nothing about the Ford Mustang was rated as special, exotic or custom-designed. It came off the production line in blunt-force trauma fashion-quick and tediously assembled, sharing parts with Galaxies, four-door Fairlanes and six-banger Falcons. No intricate hand-crafting was ever intended. The United Auto Workers employees treated it no differently than any other production car that raced down the assembly line.
2. The concept of the Ford Mustang was anti-establishment in that it is was designed for the audience of the baby boomer generation of the 1960s. It was displayed in public in the Ford Pavilion during the New York World’s Fair, April 17, 1964. This date preceded the Beatles first appearance on the Ed Sullivan show by two months and nine days.
3. The Mustang name did not derive from the idea of a running horse. It took its name from the famous World War II P-51 fighter plane that gained a reputation as an avid killer of enemy aircraft. Phil Clark, who joined the Ford team in 1962, is credited as the designer of the graphic icon.
4. Charles Phaneuf, the exterior stylist and designer from the Ford Advanced Studio, sculptured the body of the Mustang to resemble a scaled-down version of the Continental Mark II. The proportions are evident, especially in a view of the side profile. The modeling work took a scant 11 days to complete. George Shoemaker is credited with the idea of the mouth portal on the front end.
5. The running pony icon that adorned the front grille was always a part of the Mustang lexicon and lore. Yet from 1975 to 1993 the running pony was not produced. It was reinstated in 1994, much to the relief of adoring fans. The pony can be seen from a front facing position, its mane and tail hair whipping in the breeze. However, the horse is running in the opposite direction of racehorse fashion.
6. It wasn’t until the Mustang model was rendered in 3-dimensional clay that Lee Iacocca first saw it. He was so smitten by the design that he convinced the Ford board members to put up the money for the tooling of a second assembly plant. The new assembly ended up in San Jose, California, and turned out to be a financial bonanza.
7. The gas crunch in the United States during the 1970s brought a temporary decline in the purchase of muscle cars. Dealerships dropped their prices in an effort to lure in eager customers. This move surprisingly resulted in many sales to Mexico, particularly the high-performance, big-block models. Today, it is not uncommon to find vintage Mustangs in Mexico that have been store-housed or left out in the elements to deteriorate. One such Boss Mustang found in Juarez, Mexico, in 1989, had been used as a doghouse.
8. The first car to ever win the Tiffany Gold medal was the model 1965 Mustang. This was quite an accomplishment considering that was its second year out. The Mustang hit Car and Driver’s Best Ten List a total of five times. It garnered two Motor Trend Car of the Year titles, one in 1974 and then in 1994.
9. The original base price of the 1964 Mustang was $2,368 for the V-6-equipped engine. It sold 126,538 units. As of 2010, the Mustang has topped over 9 million units sold.
10. Although the Mustang is commonly identifiable from it outward appearance, the number of engine packages/options are numerous, to say the least. They range from the meek, lackluster 170 cubic inch, 101 horsepower model that carried the basic straight six, on up to the 427 cubic inch monster that pushed out 390 horsepower, an engine that had to be shoehorned into the engine compartment.
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