The first Ford Mustang immediately got into the “classic New World cars” as soon as it got off the assembly line. Since then, for 55 years this car legend has remained an iconic car, known all over the world.
The history of creation
The car Ford Mustang owes its “birth” in many respects to the general manager of the company Ford Lido Jacocca.
The biography of this outstanding engineer and marketer is interesting enough in itself and is closely connected with “Mustang”. Lido joined Ford immediately after graduating as a design engineer. After working for nine months, he realized it wasn’t his calling, so he applied for a transfer to the marketing department.
Business wasn’t going well at the time, which is probably why Jacocca was able to find a place in Ford’s Pennsylvania office. However, the young marketing engineer was able to quickly prove himself on the positive side, showing that he could think strategically, calculating the distant consequences and prospects of his marketing programs.
Jacocca paid close attention to what potential buyers could expect from the company’s cars.
Perhaps Lee Jacocca was a pioneer in marketing research; in any case, no one before him had conducted such major analytical work on the existing market.
Jacocca suggested that, as a result of the post-war birthrate spike in the next decade, the U.S. car market will see about 11 million young drivers who will need a car.
Ford Mustang was designed to meet the needs and moods of the very young aspiring drivers whose aspirations were so masterfully defined by the marketer.
1964 – 1973: first generation
The first Mustang was developed taking into account results of marketing research which have shown: the buyer wishes to see the car similar to legendary ThunderBird, but more democratic class.
As a basis, sports model Chevrolet Corvair – Monya which has attracted attention of engineers by the economy was taken.
The long hood and trunk of the short type gave the car external dynamism, and narrowed bumpers and a predatory nose “a la Maserati” added an aggressive note popular among young people.
The size of the car was inferior to other sports cars, and was designed for four people. There was a modification with a folding roof.
The first Ford Mustang came off the assembly line in Detroit on March 9, 1964. By the way, initially the creators wanted to name their brainchild “Cougar”, and only before the car was launched into mass production was the name “Mustang”, and the image of a cougar on the radia
tor shell is replaced by a silhouette of a mustang running from right to left on a red-white blue background, which symbolizes the colors of the flag of the United States of America.
The developer of the logo was Philip Thomas Clarke, a famous car designer.
Initially, the Mustangs of the first generation were equipped with a 2.8-liter eight-cylinder power unit with an output of 271 hp. Power of the engine was constantly increasing: sports modifications of the model GT-350 and GT-350R, developed together with engineers from Shelby American Inc, had 306 and 360 hp engines, respectively.
In 1966, the GT-350 engine was equipped with a mechanical supercharger, which after acceleration allowed the engine to increase power to 430 hp.
In the same year, the “GT-500” model was released – more powerful, with a standardized six-cylinder engine. The “G8” continued to use it, but it was just possible to order a V8 engine with 350 hp.
The appearance of the Ford Mustang literally charmed the market: the car sold extremely well, with lines lining up behind it. Thanks to this model, the car design, popular in the 30s – 40s, became fashionable again. Gradually, this fashion returned to the sector of prestigious expensive models.
Only by the end of 1964 681 thousand cars were sold, and in 1965 – another 600 thousand.
To understand what these figures meant at that time, it is enough to say that the sales volume of Ford Mustang in those years was higher than the total sales of Cadillac, Oldsmobile, Buick, Chrysler and American Motors. The success of the Mustang also drew the attention of Americans to other Ford products.
The very first Mustang has a dramatic history. This pre-production car, created for promotional purposes, was illegally bought by Canadian airline pilot Stanley Tucker. Upon learning of this, Ford fired the dealer who had made the illegal deal and had long negotiations with the buyer, as a result of which Tucker still agreed to return the purchase, getting another car in return.
The Mustang #1 is now on display at the Henry Ford Museum.
1974 to 1978: second generation
The second generation of Mustangs was almost the collapse of the whole model. The car was shortened to 445 cm, removed the V8 engine, offering in return:
- a four at 89 hor
- sepower the six at 106 hor
- peight for 140 hp.
Neither the dynamics, nor the controllability of the second generation model, produced as a three-door hatchback or two-door coupe, let’s say, mildly, were pleased.
The developers have made an attempt to correct the situation by offering the buyer special versions of the model – Cobra-II and King Cobra, but in fact, nothing has changed in the car, except for the aerodynamic dressing and external fittings.
It would seem that the second generation can be unconditionally considered a complete failure. But this is not quite true. At that time, economic conditions were such that the Mustang-2 proved to be quite in demand for a certain period.
In the history of the model, the second generation is considered the most economical. Moreover, this generation has gone down in history as one of the most sold cars, despite its unimpressive size and engines.
1979-1993: third generation
The year 1979 was marked by the release of the third generation of “Mustang”. The basis of the model was the Fox platform.
The car became longer by 12 cm, lighter metal alloys were used for its production.
To the existing range of power units was added a turbocharged “four” of 2.3 liters and 118 hp. After restyling in 1983 the model was also available with a fuel injection engine with an output of 203 hp.
With all the positive changes, initially the third generation cars were sold out of hand badly. Neither special versions with inflatable engine, nor the returned “eight”, nor the top level restyling under the name Cobra were saved.
Mustang extended its life thanks to the efforts of enthusiasts who, despite the company’s plans to move the model to front-drive, made Ford give up and give the car another chance.
In 1983, the Mustang SVT sports car was produced. In this restyling, the model pleased motorists with a 4.9 litre and 240 hp power plant.
The third generation of Mustang SVT was produced for a decade and a half, making 2.6 million copies.
1994 – 2004: fourth generation
The new generation was building everything on the same, really, reinforced Fox platform. The designers brought European body design to the model concept, while at the same time reviewing the classic exterior elements. In technical terms, the model has not received particularly revolutionary solutions.
In 1999, the exterior of the car received new changes. In particular, the level of interior soundproofing was significantly increased, there was a system that prevents slippage, and the top model Cobra began to be equipped with an independent rear suspension.
Until 2004, 1.6 million copies of the model have been produced.
2005 – 2014: fifth generation
The fifth generation of Ford Mustang was a kind of revolution, finally returning the model to its original popularity.
The new body of the Mustang is again reminiscent of the first generation. Customers responded to the car’s redesigned contours with a sharp increase in demand: the fifth generation Mustang was once again in line, as it was in 1965.
In 2007, the Shelby GT500 with 500 bhp engine came off the assembly line, and a period began, which can safely be called the Ford Mustang Renaissance.
The fastest and most powerful version of the model was Shelby 500 of 2013. This vehicle was equipped with a turbocharged 5.8 liter engine with an output of 622 hp. Thanks to this power unit, for the first time in history Mustang could reach 322 km/h (200 miles per hour).
Paired with the engine worked manual or automatic five- or six-speed gearboxes.
However, the level of car sales after 2009 began to fall anyway: the conditions of the global crisis affected.
2015: sixth generation
By 2015, Ford Mustang has deservedly become a global brand. After its debut in the U.S. markets, the model began to be sold at European car dealerships for the first time.
In the sixth generation, this legendary American sports car became the best-selling in its segment not only in the U.S., but also in the world.
Now the model is available in two versions: “American” and “European”. The first variant is equipped with “eight” for 460 hp, the second – with “four” for 310 hp.
The vehicle has an independent suspension. For the first time in the history of Ford production, the right-hand drive versions of the model were produced.
2019: Shelby GT500
In 2019, Shelby offered the third generation GT500. However, the name of this model is not related to the company with the same name, but was used as a result of the license agreement to make the model more recognizable in the market.
Mustang-“five hundred” is equipped with an atmospheric engine called “Predator“. The declared power unit capacity is 2.6 liters – 700 hp, which is 45 hp more than the engine power in the model Ford GT. The dynamics of the model has also been announced: acceleration up to 100 km/h – in 3.5 seconds.
A manual gearbox is not provided here, preference is given to “automatic” for seven gears. The developers were especially proud of the customizable suspension with adaptive type shock absorbers Magne Ride.
This model is equipped with the largest brake discs, which are only used in sports cars in the USA: 420 mm on the front axle.
The cost of the new Ford Mustang coupe is not yet officially known, with sales scheduled to start this fall. Most likely, the “five hundred” will cost about $100 thousand.
Ford Mustang is a legend for several generations. This model was called by many fans of the auto world “defining life style”, the embodiment of style.
And the fact is not even that the Ford Mustang for many decades actively used in the film industry. Dynamism, beauty, rapidity of external contours, special chic and “American character” made this car, which experienced not only triumph, but also failure, “face” of the American automobile industry.