Ford Mustang History
The birth of the Ford Mustang also saw the birth of the phrase ‘pony car’ which is a term used to describe an American car that is both sporty and affordable. Most Pony cars are epitomized by their inexpensiveness, small compact size and over powered engines.
In the late 1950’s Ford saw sales of its 2 seat Thunderbird decline and in 1958 introduced a new larger 4 seater version which after its introduction in 1958 was incredibly successful.
The competition between Ford and Chevrolet has always been fierce with both large companies trying to appeal to similar markets. This lead to the introduction of the Chevrlet Corvair in 1960 that was the catalyst that forced Ford to create the Thunderbird’s successor which was called the Futura and Futura Sprint. The competition lead the other manufacturer to follow Ford’s example with Plymouth introducing the Valient Signet and Dodge creating the Dart GT and it wasn’t long before Oldsmobile, Pontiac and Buick joined the competition.
All of these cars were a commercial success but some top auto executives including Ford’s Lee Iacocca believe that there was a bigger market that they could capture. They saw that there was a niche market of younger car buys with a disposable income looking to purchase affordable cars with a more sporty image.
This lead to the creation of the Ford Mustang in 1964 which proved to be an enormous success. Ford initially forecasted sales of just a mear 100, 000 but orders totalled 22,000 in the first day alone. By the end of that year sales had reached a staggering 618,812 units.
The Ford Mustang became the car that all the other manufacturers wanted to emulate and lead to the new phrase ‘pony car’ being adopted. The term was first used by Dennis Shattuck who was the editor at Car Life magazine around that time and created it based on the equestrian sounding Ford Mustang.
The Ford Mustang is one of Ford’s oldest running names together with the F-Series and the Falcon which is still in production in Australia. Over the years there have been 5 generations of Mustang with the 1970’s seeing a diversion from the lightweight original Mustang urging fans of the early 1964 design to force Ford to go back to its 1960’s roots.
The first generation of Mustang was created under the watchful gaze of Ford’s Lee Iacocca and chief engineer Donald N. Frey and took 18 months. The original prototype saw the car having a mid-mounted V4 engine and only 2 seats but this was abandoned in favour of a 4 seater 2+2 design due to the low sales figures of the Ford Thunderbird. The 2+2 design was believed to have been chosen due to the success of cars like the Jaguar E-Type.
The new body design was created by Joe Oros which produced a winning design in a competition introduced by Iacocca.
“I told the team that I wanted the car to appeal to women, but I wanted men to desire it, too. I wanted a Ferrari-like front end, the motif centered on the front something heavy-looking like a Maserati, but, please, not a trident and I wanted air intakes on the side to cool the rear brakes. I said it should be as sporty as possible and look like it was related to European design.” –Oros
In order to keep the costs of development to a minimum the car was based on components from cars already in production such as the Ford Fairline and Ford Falcon.
The second generation of the Mustang was fuelled by the energy crisis in 1973 which caused the large petrol thirsty earlier cars to fall out of favour due to the rise in fuel costs.
The new smaller Mustang II was released in 1973 and Ford goal was to compete against the small Japanese imports such as Toyota Celica. However the final car was much heavier than its early counterpart adversely affecting the performance.
In 1979 the third generation of Mustang was introduced relying heavily on the Japanese market for its design. The car was designed to be more accommodating to 4-passengers, the trunk size was increased and the engine bay was enlarged to make maintenance easier.
In 1994 the Third Generation Mustang underwent a major restyling taking cues from the original 1964 design and for the first time since 1973 the hatchback version would no longer be available.
The original engine was a 3.8 OHV V6 rated at 145 bhp but over the years this was upgraded to a 4.6L V8 producing a massive 225 bhp by 1998.
2005 saw the introduction of a completely redesigned Mustang based on Fords new D2C platform. The body took a lot of detailing from the earlier 60’s Mustangs which Ford’s Vice President of design termed “retro-futurism”.
If you would like to add a car wallpaper of the Ford Mustang to you desktop then you can find one in our wallpaper section on the Just Customz website.