Welcome to Mustang Theme Week here at the Cool Rides Online Blog. Car guys are loyal to their favorite rides and Mustang no doubt has their fans. This week we will feature the Mustang brand over the last 50 years. Today we start out by looking at the history of the Mustang brand.
Since the 1960s, the Ford Mustang has occupied the spotlight as America’s first and arguably most famous pony car. Derived from the original Ford Mustang I, a concept car, the 1963 Mustang II was a two-seater prototype Ford used to gauge the potential for success. In the interest of creating an affordable product, the Mustang shared much of its engineering with the Falcon, Ford’s smallest vehicle at the time.
Ford Mustang – Generations 1 to 3
Introduced early on April 17, 1964, the first Ford Mustang became known as the 1964 1/2 model. Its cockpit was pushed further back on its chassis, giving it a longer hood and shorter rear deck, similar to the proportions of a horse. In 1965, the new vehicle became Ford’s most successful launch since the Model A. As Ford noticed a growing interest in racing, the legendary GT Shelby models were introduced in 1966.
In 1967, the second generation Mustang was born in a more competitive marketplace that included the Camaro, Firebird, Barracuda and Ford’s own Mercury Cougar. In response, Ford constructed a slightly larger body for the Mustang. The choice of a 390 cubic-inch “big block” V8 engine was added. Ford’s ’67 Mustang offered greater stability, comfortable seats and easier-to-read instrumentation.
The 1969 Mustang grew in size again and broke away from traditional styling with a sharper nose and fake side scoops. Two versions of the 428 V8, the Cobra Jet and Super Cobra Jet, also made an appearance. The ’69 Coupe was offered as the luxurious “Grande” model while the “Mach 1” version of the 2+2 fastback was performance-oriented. The Boss 429 and Boss 302 were also added midyear.
Mustang – Generations 4 to 6
In 1971, Ford introduced a wider, bulkier Mustang that was not as well-received. The introduction of emissions regulations also challenged the automaker’s beloved vehicle. Ford rolled out the Mustang’s fifth generation in 1978, placed it on the subcompact Pinto platform, and called it the Mustang II in an effort to cater to a demographic that was shifting to smaller, foreign-produced vehicles. Ford stopped making the Mustang II in 1978 after not regaining the marketplace excitement the automaker sought.
As the Mustang’s most successful run, the sixth generation model spanned 15 years. Ford placed the 1979 Mustang on the Ford Fox’s shortened chassis and added a modified MacPherson strut system that would remain in use at least until 2003. Other notable additions included a five-speed manual transmission, a high output version of the 5.0 liter V8. Carburetors also became a thing of the past.
Seventh Generation – Present Day Mustang
By 1994, Ford had abandoned all thoughts of discontinuing the Mustang and recognized that the car had become synonymous with the automaker itself. The automaker continued to stick with the Fox platform along with tradition Mustang styling and offered the vehicle’s first convertible since 1973.
The 1999 Mustang was an aesthetic development of the seventh generation with the new emblem featuring a corral around the running horse, and 1999 models received a 35th anniversary badge. The V6 and V8 engines were revised to produce more horsepower. The Cobra received the first independent rear suspension ever offered on a Mustang.
In 2005, the beginning of the ninth and current generation, Ford moved the Mustang from the Fox platform to DEW98 platform that was also used for the Lincoln LS and Thunderbird. On the inside and out, the current generation of the Mustang is intended to be a return of the pride and glory of the Mustangs of 1967 to 1968.
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