Iconic. legendary. Here’s about the storied Ford Mustang; the car that inspired an entire class of American cars, the Pony Car. A car that has evolved over the years, inextricably tied to the country’s politics and pop culture that birthed it. The Ford Mustang is an American success story, not without their (or Fastbacks) failures.
First Generation: 1965-1973
The Ford Mustang was engineered by prominent Ford executive Lee Iacocca; for under $2,500, he decided to sell the public a car below 2,500lbs. Nobody could have predicted how famous the Mustang would be, not even Iacocca, because Ford sold 22,000 cars the first day. But when making 12,000 models a day, Ford was unable to keep up with demand and in the first year, they produced more than one billion dollars selling over 400,000 vehicles. It took Ford eighteen months to hit the million-vehicle mark, making it the most successful launch Ford has had since Model A.
The Shelby Cobra
It’s rumoured that after having a dream, Carol Shelby woke up in the middle of the night, scribbled something by his bed on a notepad, and went back to sleep. The notepad had one word on it when he woke up in the morning: “Cobra ». This gave birth to the 1965 Shelby GT350; this Mustang version was not planned for a diner drive — it was made for power and performance. The cars were sent to Shelby American beginning as a Mustang warehouse, where they got a range of modifications that brought the Mustang from 271-hp to a whopping 306.
The Mustang on the Big Screen
The Ford Mustang GT 390 Fastback from 1968 can be summed up in just one word: Bullitt. Although in the James Bond film, Goldfinger, the original 1964 model made its big-screen debut, it was Steve McQueen speeding through the San Francisco streets in a ’68 Fastback that made the car part of the cultural lexicon. McQueen, himself an experienced driver, did about half of the driving in that famous chase. Check out his rearview mirror for evidence.
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Second Generation: 1974-1978
During the American oil crisis, the Mustang’s first big failure came — Ford rolled out Mustang’s second version in 1974 as a smaller, less powerful model to please the American people who paid as much as four times what they used to at the pump. Not perfect for Mustang enthusiasts, but then again as petrol rose to 55 cents a gallon ($2.75 a gallon in the current economy), the U.S. government lowered the national speed limit to 55 miles an hour, and even those with the newer, more powerful Mustangs had to slow down a little. Only a transition in Nixon presidents to one named Ford could not save the success of the Mustang at this time in history.
Third Generation: 1979-1993
The Mustang’s third version was launched in 1979 and was initially designed for the ’78 Ford Fairmont, based on the longer Fox model. This was spacious, and the handling was improved by a brand new rack and pinion steering system. This was also the first Mustang to use a turbocharged engine, in this case, a four-cylinder 2.3-L turbocharged engine. The Mustang underwent a bit of a facelift in 1987, resulting in a more sporty appearance and better aerodynamics, and the resulting Fox Bodies were able to grab a bit of the success of the Mustang.
Fourth Generation: 1994-2004
It was the first major redesign in 15 years when the fourth-generation Mustang was launched in 1994. The next few years were all about exclusivity — between the two the ’95 Mustang SVT Cobra R and 2000 Cobra R were limited to a total of 550 units and averaged about 340hp. No stranger to big shake-ups either, the Mustang line dropped the famous 5.0L V8 in ’96 for a 4.6L V8. That didn’t buy the Mustang to the public, but 33 years later their homage to Steve McQueen and the 1968 movie Bullitt in the form of the 2001 special edition Bullitt model wasn’t nearly as popular. Or was able to win back Mustang fans with the final version of the fourth-generation Mustang, and believe it or not this one was not named after a film; the Mustang SVT Cobra “Terminator” was called as such because the Ford team behind it knew that this supercharged 390hp model would “terminate” the Camaro in the ongoing battle between the two vehicles.
Fifth Generation: 2005-2014
The Mustang ‘s 5th Generation was released in 2005. Two years prior to the International Auto Show, it had a strong reception with a theme, called ‘retro-futurism,’ which was reminiscent of the original 60s Fastback Mustangs. In 2007, the Shelby GT 500 was released, the first Shelby model in more than 35 years. The 5.4L V8 engine, which cranked out 500hp, completely upstaged the luxurious aspects of the car, making it easily the most powerful Mustang up to that point. Call us old fashioned, but the return to the Mustang ‘s origins in both aesthetics and performance was not only a pleasant nod to the past but also an indication of the enduring legacy of the Mustang.
Sixth Generation: 2015-Current
Not only did the current generation of Mustangs adopt a striking, modern look in 2015 but the Mustang scrapped its live axle suspension for an independent rear suspension for the first time in 50 years. Ford introduced the Mustang to the new 2.3L EcoBoost 4-cylinder turbo engine, which offered not only better fuel economy but also a more environmentally conscious way to get around quickly and in style.
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2018 and Beyond
What’s the future holding for all-powerful Mustang? In 2018 the sixth generation of this
American icon was refreshed mid-cycle, and while there are a few esthetic revisions, the re-tuned suspension and automatic 10-speed transmission, In addition to other performance enhancements such as the Brembo ® brakes and the MagneRide(TM) Damping System, it is suggested that the Mustang keeps moving along – faster than the last year.