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First Generation Mustang (1964 - 1973)

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Street Smart, Track Tough 1967 Ford Mustang

Street Smart, Track Tough 1967 Ford Mustang

Reaching New Heights with Heidts Pro-G Wide-Track front and rear IRS Read More

Mustangs & Fast Fords of Orange County builds a 1965 Mustang in its Showroom

Mustangs & Fast Fords of Orange County builds a 1965 Mustang in its Showroom

Paul's vision was to build a great, fun-to-drive, classic Mustang Read More

This 1967 Mustang 390-GT Coupe Hides Mysteries

This 1967 Mustang 390-GT Coupe Hides Mysteries

White’s restoration stirred members of the local Mustang club in Read More

Last Call: Supercharged Widebody Convertible Mustang at the 2016 SEMA Show #TENSEMA16

Last Call: Supercharged Widebody Convertible Mustang at the 2016 SEMA Show #TENSEMA16

Ballistic, a 1965 wide-body convertible from the Ringbrothers was Read More

Mike Dufford’s 1969 Ford Mustang

Mike Dufford’s 1969 Ford Mustang

What's with the personal history as it relates to Mike Dufford's Read More

1967 Mustang Australian Home-Built Hero

1967 Mustang Australian Home-Built Hero

Despite no formal training and a pretty typical suburban garage, Greg Read More

Fantastic Vintage Burgundy 1966 Ford Mustang Fastback

Fantastic Vintage Burgundy 1966 Ford Mustang Fastback

Seduced by the perfect lines of 1965-1966 fastbacks, Brian Frame Read More

Big Bad 1971 Mustang Boss 351

Big Bad 1971 Mustang Boss 351

The 1971 Mustang Boss 351 you see on these pages was restored back to Read More

Canadian Rare Find! 1967 Shelby G.T. 500

Canadian Rare Find! 1967 Shelby G.T. 500

John Lingam had always wanted a Shelby Mustang but never had the Read More

Mustang Dream Giveaway’s 1967 and 2016 Mustang Shelby GT350s

Mustang Dream Giveaway’s 1967 and 2016 Mustang Shelby GT350s

You read that right, you can win two Shelby GT350s; a 1967 model and Read More

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


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.