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  • Generation: 1964-1973 Mustang

First Generation Mustang (1964 - 1973)

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A Cherry of a 1972 Mustang Convertible

A Cherry of a 1972 Mustang Convertible

Many of our readers won’t recognize the name Bill Johnson as the Read More

A Perfect 1969 Mustang Mach 1

A Perfect 1969 Mustang Mach 1

“We’d go to Hot Springs, Arkansas, every Fourth of July. In 1982, Read More

Steve McQueen’s Bullitt Mustang Meets 2017

Steve McQueen’s Bullitt Mustang Meets 2017

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two Read More

One-of-a-Kind Holman-Moody-Prepped 1969 Ford Torino Cobra Was a Gift to NASCAR Great David Pearson

One-of-a-Kind Holman-Moody-Prepped 1969 Ford Torino Cobra Was a Gift to NASCAR Great David Pearson

In 1969, David Pearson drove Holman Moody’s No. 17 Ford Torino to a Read More

The Make-A-Wish Mustang: 1965 Ford Mustang

The Make-A-Wish Mustang: 1965 Ford Mustang

The Orange County Mustang Club along with help from a consortium of Read More

Matt Alcala's 1965 Mustang is Beyond Just a Track Car

Matt Alcala's 1965 Mustang is Beyond Just a Track Car

We’ve never met San Diego, California resident Matt Alcala in Read More

Revology Cars Builds Shelby Replica for Ford’s SEMA Display

Revology Cars Builds Shelby Replica for Ford’s SEMA Display

The Mustang hobby has certainly come a long way from when Mustang Read More

Found: Cobra Jet Mustang Hidden In Basement For 28 Years

Found: Cobra Jet Mustang Hidden In Basement For 28 Years

The 1969 428CJ Mustang Mach 1 was a hero for Ford during the classic Read More

Rode Hard and Put Away Wet: Shelby G.T. 350

Rode Hard and Put Away Wet: Shelby G.T. 350

This battle-hardened Shelby G.T. 350 might be the most raced Shelby Read More

Test Driving Revology Cars’ Shelby G.T. 350 Replica

Test Driving Revology Cars’ Shelby G.T. 350 Replica

We get behind the wheel of an original Hertz Shelby G.T. 350 and its Read More

1968 Shelby GT500KR Convertible Sees Light of Day, Parked Since 1978

1968 Shelby GT500KR Convertible Sees Light of Day, Parked Since 1978

Nelson Bandy has been a longtime antique and vintage-car collector Read More

Holley’s 1966 Mustang Is a HOT-Bed for Engine Innovation

Holley’s 1966 Mustang Is a HOT-Bed for Engine Innovation

Holley’s Ti-VCT test mule It was subtle, but keen-eyed SEMA-goers Read More

Editor’s Choice: Home-Built 1966 Mustang Fastback

Editor’s Choice: Home-Built 1966 Mustang Fastback

Isn’t it cool when a dream becomes reality? That’s what happened Read More

The Rarest Shelby Mustang of Them All!

The Rarest Shelby Mustang of Them All!

Brian Styles' 1967 Shelby G.T. 500 is the only '67 Shelby convertible Read More

Timeless Kustoms Built a Supercharged, Turbocharged, Widebody Mustang

Timeless Kustoms Built a Supercharged, Turbocharged, Widebody Mustang

Like the current crop of ponycars and sports cars coming from Detroit, 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.