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50 years of Ford Mustang

When the Ford Mustang was introduced at the World’s Fair in New York in April of ‘64, it was clearly something special. Little did Ford know that the long-hood, short-deck styling would prove to be successful beyond their wildest dreams. In essence, the Mustang changed the car industry by establishing a new car segment: the pony car.

Hard to believe it's been 50 years for the Mustang! This '65 'vert is the quintessential classic pony car.
Hard to believe it's been 50 years for the Mustang! This '65 'vert is the quintessential classic pony car.
Photos by author, Aaron Ahlstrom

Though it was based on previous platforms featuring suspension and interior components from other Ford vehicles (namely the Falcon), the Mustang wasn't just another reboot. Affordable and stylish, the Mustang had everything going for it at the right time. Bucket seats were standard fare and a long list of options awaited customers at the dealerships. Three body styles were initially produced: convertible, fastback, and coupe (sometimes referred as a notchback).

The Mustang was more than transportation. It was an image, a movement. Baby boomers from World War II vet families had spoken, ordering hundreds of thousands within a scant few months. General Motors, along with all its subsequent divisions, had no match to the new-found pony car market. By the time Chevrolet released the Camaro (and its Pontiac cousin, the Firebird) in late ’66, the Mustang had already been in production for several years with well over a million* units sold (*according to official records, 1,288,557 through ’66).

Throughout the years the Ford Mustang has routinely been at the top of the pony car sales race. It has continually evolved and changed with the times. More importantly, it has never been out of production.

Today the Mustang is revered for its enduring styling, performance pedigree and longevity. The most popular Mustangs models are the ’64-’72 iterations. Though not as admired as its forbearers, the ’74-‘78 Mustang IIs have a devoted, if not loyal, following. Fox-bodies ‘Stangs of the 3rd-gen class (’79-’93) are admired for their huge aftermarket support and lightweight platform. The 4th-gen cars (’94-‘04) and the retro-infused 5th-gen (’05-’14) reap the benefits of plenty of refinements in research and technology, making these Mustangs the most efficient yet powerful models to date.

The 6th-gen 2015 Mustang is set to be released in late-2014. Features include an independent rear suspension wrapped in a more international design style.

Hard to believe it's been 50 years! Long live Ford Mustang.

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