Ford Mustang: first generation
The first generation Ford Mustang was made from 1964-1973 in both Michigan and California. There were three body styles available: the coupe, the fastback, and the convertible. The V6 had a curb weight of 2,570 lbs, and the V8 had a curb weight of 3,000 lbs. All three had a wheelbase of 181.6" and a width of 68.2".
When the idea for the Mustang was conceived by Donald Frey, a product manager at Ford, it was conceived as a mid-engine, two seat roadster. David Ash and John Oros reworked the car as a four-seater; to slash production costs, the company used simpler components in the construction of the car.
The Mustang's suspension, drivetrain and chassis were derived from the Falcon and the Fairlane. Customers loved the hardtop version, but it was plagued with durability issues, which gave rise to the development of the convertible top. The Mustang's length was the same as that of the Falcon, but the wheelbase was a bit shorter. The body was wider, and the seats were lowered. The first-generation Mustang was one of the first American cars to have a structural torque box, which stiffened the suspension and gave the car increased handling.
The earliest models were priced at $2,368 for the base model equipped with a straight 6 and 3-speed manual gearbox. After five months, changes were made to the line, which led to the "late '65 model". Changes included a revamped engine, and the replacement of the generator with an alternator. Ford also released the GT trim level and the 2+2 fastback.
The basic Mustang came with an AM radio, adjustable seats, and a floor mounted shifter. Through the year, Ford added options such as wood grain accent pieces, armrests, embellishments on the front seats, a rounded gauge cluster, remote mirrors, a floor console, sun visors, AC and bench seating.
The 1966 Mustang also featured a few changes, such as side decoration, wheel covers, a gas cap, a redesigned grille, an automatic gearbox, interior color and paint choices, an 8-track tape player and an AM/FM radio. The '66 model looked very similar to the '65 on the outside, but subtle changes were made to the emblem. Also, both years had the horse and corral emblem on the front grille.
For 1967, even more changes were made. V8 engines came as standard equipment on some cars, and Ford added a new side scoop, rear view mirror, concave tail lights, and a new gas cap. The '67 model had a roomier interior, because the vehicle's overall size expanded. The car now had an optional deluxe interior package, with brushed stainless, color options, tilt steering, integrated AC, paneling, and center and overhead consoles.
The 1968 Mustang achieved immortality due to its use in the Steve McQueen movie "Bullitt". That car was a modified GT390 fastback, and the California Special was only available out West. The 1969 and '70 models saw 3.8 inches added to the body length, along with quad headlights. The '69 model had a V8 engine with 220 hp. The Mach 1 version had more aggressive styling, with dual exhaust, Goodyear tires, spoilers, a blacked out rear window, and reflective striping. For 1970, the headlights were moved to the grille opening and the rear fender scoops were omitted.
The 1971 Mustang came equipped with 429 Cobra Jets that put out 375 hp. However, the '72 and '73 models were limited to 351ci because of stricter emissions rules in the US. Also, demand for muscle cars was declining due to higher insurance premiums. However, two higher-performance engines were added for 1972- the 351 Cobra Jet and the 351 HO (high output). Both were higher in performance than other cars of the time, but nowhere near what the older engines were.