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First Generation Mustang (1964 - 1973)

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1969 Ford Mustang Wins Best Ford in Ford at Shades 2016

1969 Ford Mustang Wins Best Ford in Ford at Shades 2016

When Tim Spencer of Pelham, Alabama decided to build his latest hot Read More

Full Custom 1969 Mustang Fastback

Full Custom 1969 Mustang Fastback

Now 2016 is well into its second half, it got me to thinking about my Read More

50 Years of Mustangs in the Trans-Am Series
Category: features

50 Years of Mustangs in the Trans-Am Series

Even if you’re not a racer, it’s likely you appreciate the Read More

A WWII Vet and his Mustang

A WWII Vet and his Mustang

Military Veterans and the muscle car community join forces to give Read More

Billion-to-One Odds, 1965 Shelby G.T. 350

Billion-to-One Odds, 1965 Shelby G.T. 350

SFM-5S505, a 1965 Shelby G.T. 350, arrived at Shelby American in Los Read More

15,000 Miles to Alaska, and Back, in a 1965 Ford Mustang

15,000 Miles to Alaska, and Back, in a 1965 Ford Mustang

Everyone thought we were nuts and would never make it—while I knew Read More

Special Edition 1972 Ford Mustang Sprint Package Celebrates the Olympics

Special Edition 1972 Ford Mustang Sprint Package Celebrates the Olympics

Competing in the Games of the XX Olympiad hosted by Munich, Germany, Read More

Wheels-Up Gasser 1965 Mustang Runs 8s!

Wheels-Up Gasser 1965 Mustang Runs 8s!

Finley has done such an impressive job building this high 8-second Read More

This 1966 Ford Mustang Fastback is a Pantera Pony

This 1966 Ford Mustang Fastback is a Pantera Pony

No need to mince words here. Glen Martyn’s 1966 fastback is a truly Read More

180 Degree 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1

180 Degree 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1

Tom Cantrell has had his share of high performance Mustangs and Fords. Read More

1966 Mustang Gold Found in Ohio Garage

1966 Mustang Gold Found in Ohio Garage

Mike Hollis had no idea he and his wife Kay were buying an extremely Read More

Luck—and a Lot of Love—Helped Him Realize His Dream of a 1968 Shelby G.T. 350

Luck—and a Lot of Love—Helped Him Realize His Dream of a 1968 Shelby G.T. 350

Kerry Kelly's dream car was a 1968 Ford Mustang G.T. 350. His desire Read More

It Always Had to be a 1970 Boss 302
Category: features

It Always Had to be a 1970 Boss 302

Bill Kidman of Torrance, CA has owned his 1970 Boss 302 since it was Read More

Update on the Vicious and Violent Mustang!

Update on the Vicious and Violent Mustang!

Timeless Kustoms in Camarillo, California is hard at it to finish Read More

Father and Son Design Award Winning 1965 Ford Mustang

Father and Son Design Award Winning 1965 Ford Mustang

In the Mustang hobby, there are untold thousands of father-and-son Read More


About

In the early 1960s in response to the success of the Corvair Monza, Ford president Lee Iacocca formed a clandestine "Fairlane Committee" with other executives to explore the feasibility of developing a sporty compact car for the emerging Baby-Boomer generation. Knowing that Henry Ford II was still bitter about the recent failure of the Edsel, Iacocca and his group kept development costs low by utilizing existing drivetrains and basing the new car on the Falcon platform. After much debate about a name, "Mustang" was finally chosen, initially for the World War II fighter plane but later taking on an equestrian identity as a "wild horse of the western plains.

Ford introduced the '65 Mustang on April 13, 1964, at the New York World's Fair, followed by an elaborate marketing and advertising campaign prior to the car's public introduction on April 17. The new car was an immediate success, with dealers taking orders for 22,000 on the first day. Over 400,000 were sold in first 12 months; sales topped one million in the first two years. It remains one of the most successful car launches of all-time.

Based on evolving variants of the Falcon chassis, Mustangs produced from '65-'73 are recognized as the "first generation." When first introduced, '65 Mustangs were available as hardtops and convertibles with a fastback joining the line-up in August 1964. Cars built from March to mid-August 1964 are known as "'64½" models because they were produced during Ford's 1964 production cycle, although all first-year Mustangs carry a '65 Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

The first Mustang was a long hood, short rear deck design, providing a sports car profile in a four-seat configuration. A number of design cues – open grille, side sculpting to emulate rear brake scoops, and tri-bar taillights – would become Mustang styling features for the future.

In late 1964, Ford asked Carroll Shelby to prepare Mustang fastbacks for sports car racing. By removing the back seat and modifying the engine/suspension, Shelby created the GT 350, both as a street model and an SCCA race car, known as the "R-Model," which went on to win the 1965 B-Production championship. Shelby Mustangs were offered through '70.

Evolution

Marking the Mustang's first anniversary on April 17, 1965, Ford added a pair of packages to the Mustang's option list. To create the first GT Mustang, the GT Equipment Group included fog lamps, side stripes, "trumpet" exhaust tips, and heavy-duty suspension. A Décor Interior Group came with woodgrain trim, molded door panels, and unique bucket seats with embossed running horses, inspiring the name "Pony interior."

For 1967, the Mustang was updated for the first time with new, more sculpted sheetmetal and its own interior, as opposed to the Falcon-style interior of the earlier models. The Mustang also grew in size to accommodate the 390 big-block engine as an option. Shelby added a new GT 500 model with a dual-quad 428 engine. Mustang joined the musclecar ranks with the introduction of the 428 Cobra Jet engine for the GT on April 1, 1968. Earlier in 1968, Cobra Jet Mustangs won the Super Stock class at the NHRA Winternationals.

The 1969 Mustang grew once again, becoming more muscular in appearance. Two new models debuted – the Mach 1 for the fastback, now called "SportsRoof," and a luxury Grande for the hardtop. A Ram-Air option for the 428 Cobra Jet added a "Shaker" hood scoop that protruded through the hood. The Boss models were introduced at mid-year to homologate special engines for racing – the Boss 429 for NASCAR and the Boss 302 for Trans-Am. Parnelli Jones and George Follmer won the 1970 Trans-Am championship in Boss 302 Mustangs prepared by Bud Moore.

With larger engines predicted for the future, the '71 Mustang grew larger still, reaching almost intermediate size. The 428 Cobra Jet was replaced by the 429 Cobra Jet, while the Boss 302 gave way to the Boss 351 when Ford discontinued racing activities in the summer of 1970. With increasing insurance rates and stricter emissions requirements, the 429 disappeared in '72, leaving the four-barrel 351 as the top performance engine for '72-'73.