Ford Mustang: an Icon of American Automotive Industry
Production of the Ford Mustang began in March 1964 in Dearborn, Michigan, and it debuted at the World's Fair in 1964. The car is the third-oldest Ford nameplate; the original sales forecast was less than a hundred thousand cars in the first year. However, that mark was passed in a mere three months- over three hundred thousand more Mustangs were sold that model year. In the first year and a half, over a million cars were built.
All of the first cars were identified as being 1965 models, but there were changes made at the beginning of the 1965 model year. Backup lights were added on some models, the alternator replaced the generator, and the V8 engine was enlarged from 260 to 289 ci. On some 6-cylinder models, the Ford Falcon lineage showed through. The horn ring bore the Falcon logo, but the trim ring bore the Mustang badging. These differences were enough to cause the earliest Mustangs to be designated as 1964 1/2 models.
The OPEC oil embargo beginning in 1973 brought stricter pollution laws and a demand for fuel efficiency. America's big 3 automakers were then competing directly with foreign auto makers. Ford debuted the Mustang II, which was smaller than the original, but heavier due to additional emissions equipment. Performance was drastically reduced, and in the Mustang II's first year, only 385,993 were sold. The second-generation Mustang was available from 1974-1978 in both a coupe and a hatchback.
The Mustang was redesigned again in 1979, and its interior was big enough to seat four. The new Mustang's trunk was larger, as was the engine compartment, and there were convertibles, hatchbacks and coupes available. The car served as the pace car for the Indianapolis 500 that year, and to commemorate that occasion, Ford built 10,478 replicas.
The fourth-generation Mustang was sold from 1994-2004; that marked the first major redesign in fifteen years. The base-model came with a V6 engine with a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic transmission. The 302 small-block was retired in 1996, being replaced with a single overhead cam V8. 1999 saw the Mustang get a minor facelift, but the powertrain stayed the same.
In 2004, Ford introduced a newly-redesigned 2005 model-year mustang. The styling was both retro and futuristic, and the base-model was powered by a 210-hp V6. The GT model had a single overhead cam V8 with an aluminum block. The 2008 and 2009 models featured seating made from eco-friendly materials, and the 2009 featured a full glass sunroof.