• Generation: 1964-1973 Mustang

First Generation Mustang (1964 - 1973)

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The Pit Viper: A 1967 G.T. 500 Eleanor not like the rest

The Pit Viper: A 1967 G.T. 500 Eleanor not like the rest

This 1967 GT500E Mustang is a movie car inspired dream come true for Read More

A 1969 Mexican Shelby That’s One of 306

A 1969 Mexican Shelby That’s One of 306

Douglas Miller had no idea what a Shelby de Mexico was until he found Read More

Kiwi’s Big-Block 1966 Ford Mustang Custom

Kiwi’s Big-Block 1966 Ford Mustang Custom

A New Zealand Native Tweaks an Classic American Mustang Read More

Rare Find! W-Code 1970 Mach 1 Super Cobra Jet

Rare Find! W-Code 1970 Mach 1 Super Cobra Jet

One man’s discovery of a hidden and neglected 1970 Mach 1 Super Read More

Score! 1967 Mustang Fastback Turned Into Cover Car

Score! 1967 Mustang Fastback Turned Into Cover Car

Jerry Coleman finds a ragged 1967 Mustang fastback and turns it into a Read More

A Terminator-powered 1967 Mustang Fastback that’s a real Snake in the Grass

A Terminator-powered 1967 Mustang Fastback that’s a real Snake in the Grass

Jerry Coleman’s ’03 Cobra 4.6L DOHC-powered fastback was so nice Read More

Turn Back Tuesday: Tasca Ford 1966 A/FX Mustang
Category: features

Turn Back Tuesday: Tasca Ford 1966 A/FX Mustang

John Healy and driver Bill Lawton with their Tasca Ford-sponsored 1966 Read More

Golden Oddity: Don Harris’ 1972 Mustang Convertible

Golden Oddity: Don Harris’ 1972 Mustang Convertible

Don Harris has a 1 of 32 1972 Mustang convertible. What makes it Read More

Flat and Fast 1968 Mustang California Special

Flat and Fast 1968 Mustang California Special

Larry Ashley got a well-deserved head start on the buildup of his Read More

Week to Wicked 1966 Mustang Build Coming Soon!

Week to Wicked 1966 Mustang Build Coming Soon!

Mustang360.com be taking a vintage Mustang coupe from Zero To Hero in Read More

Former 1965 Mustang Hot Rod Project Car Is New Again

Former 1965 Mustang Hot Rod Project Car Is New Again

Former Hot Rod Magazine Project Car is Reunited with its Original Read More

One Man’s Unicorn is a 1970 Mustang SportsRoof project

One Man’s Unicorn is a 1970 Mustang SportsRoof project

Man is given a 1970 Mustang SportsRoof on April Fool’s day. Read More

A Father and Son Mustang Build: 1966 Ford Mustang

A Father and Son Mustang Build: 1966 Ford Mustang

A high school gift from the 1980s comes full circle as a high school Read More

Ultra-Rare 1964-½ Mustang Hi-Po Convertible

Ultra-Rare 1964-½ Mustang Hi-Po Convertible

Rare 1964-½ Mustang K-code convertible is a Hi-Po with 4-speed and Read More

Rare Find: 1966 Shelby G.T. 350 “carryover”

Rare Find: 1966 Shelby G.T. 350 “carryover”

A fortuitous act of Mustang karma scored Jeff Krueger his first Shelby 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.