Today, the Ford Mustang Mach-E is an electric crossover SUV that in some details, such as taillights and horse-shaped logos (the name comes from the North American wild horses Mustang), resembles the legendary American sports car. But other than the name and a few details, it has nothing to do with the original, which is one of the best-selling cars in the history of the world’s automotive industry, which was imitated by many other brands.
The Ford Mustang was born in 1964 and quickly became one of the most iconic muscle cars of the 60s and 70s. The project dates back to the early 1960s, when legendary manager Lee Iacocca had the idea to create a car designed for the post-World War II baby boomer generation. Work starts on a low budget after the demise of the Edsel brand, and for this reason many parts taken from other models are used; while the Ford Falcon platform is used as a base with a smaller footprint and some structural reinforcements added. The result is a 4.6 meter long and 1.78 meter wide car that simultaneously opens up the muscle car and pony car genres.
The Mustang enters the market in the spring of 1964 and immediately captivates young people and adults, as well as a significant part of the female public, thanks also to the targeted communication desired by Ford: orders of 20,000 units on launch day alone. The secrets to its great success lie in its exciting lineup of coupe and convertible body styles, strictly four-seat, at a discreet base price (under $3,000), and a wide choice of engines and options. The base model is equipped with a 2.8-liter six-cylinder engine producing just 105 hp; while on request it is also available with V8, 3 or 4 speed transmission as well as automatic transmission and various trim options.
Fastback and early developments
The first series disappeared from the list after only four months, so much so that it was remembered as “1964 and 1/2”, to make way for the 65 model year in September, which introduced various innovations, including a third body, fastback, coupe with a thin tail, which will soon become a favorite model of motorists. At the same time, Shelby’s first sports modifications appear: the first GT350 with a 310 hp 4.7-liter V8 Windsor engine, which opens a parallel series that has always gone hand in hand with the evolution of the Mustang.
More muscle and strength
The first generation (produced before 1973), like other iconic vehicles such as the Chevrolet Corvette, underwent numerous aesthetic changes while retaining the conventional foundation. The first massive facelift came in 1967 when the first Big Block engines were introduced, starting with the 325 hp 6.4. Mustang Bosses are other high-performance models thanks to the 429 and 302 engines, equivalent to 7 and 4.9 liters, respectively, with a power output of 380 and 294 hp.
The car, produced from 1974 to 1978, is more compact and less electrified and is called the Mustang II. It was built from the Pinto with great attention to detail, but lost power, with four- and six-cylinder engines (a forced choice due to the oil crisis), joined by a V8 in 1975. The second generation Mustang continues to reward motorists with sales that are more than good.
New life after sales drop
In 1979, the time came for the third generation, which became more modern, while maintaining a compact size with a length of 4.56 meters. In 1982, the GT appeared with a 5-liter V8 engine from the Windsor family with 160 hp, which in 1987 switched to 225 hp, returning the Mustang to the muscle car category. With sales declining, Ford is evaluating the possibility of taking the historic car out of service and replacing it with a more modern sports car like the Probe, but surprisingly motorists are in favor of continuing the Mustang dynasty.
In 1994, the fourth generation, based on the Fox, appears like the previous one, which represents the avant-garde lines anticipated by the 1993 Mach II concept car. This series should revive the image of the Mustang, especially after the facelift of the early 2000s, with GT and Cobra versions and engines from 250 to over 300 hp The 40th anniversary of the Mustang in 2004 is celebrated with a special red version with gold stripes.
Back to the past with the latest generations
Muscle cars follow the revival of many other cars at the turn of the century, such as the Volkswagen New Beetle and the Fiat 500. The fifth-generation Mustang, in production since 2005, with an updated platform and MacPherson front suspension, is inspired by late 1960s models; while the sixth generation from 2015 was born on a new basis and is also sold in Europe. It is powered by a classic 435 hp V8 5.0 engine, complemented by a 2.3 hp four-cylinder Ecoboost engine. turbocharged 315 hp; in the United States, on the other hand, the 3.7-liter V6 is the mainstay.
The myth consecrated by cinema and music
Like any self-respecting true icon car, the Ford Mustang has also taken its place on the big screen and beyond. In the famous 1968 movie Bullitt, Steve McQueen drives a green GT; no less than Sean Connery in 1971, who races behind the wheel of a Mach 1 in 007 – Diamond Cascade. In the 2007 movie I Am Legend, Will Smith tries his hand at a Mustang Shelby GT-500, and Ryan Gosling stars in a GT 5.0 coupe in the 2011 movie Drive.
1965 also sees a tribute to the musical world with the legendary rhythm and blues song “Mustang Sally”, written by Mac Rice and made even more famous by interpretations by Wilson Pickett, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Buddy Guy, Los Lobos and many others. The origin of the song is curious: according to music historian Tom Shannon, Mac Rice composed it as a joke after learning that Della Reese’s bandleader wanted to buy a Ford Mustang. Rice called the song “Mustang Mama”, but on the advice of soul queen Aretha Franklin, he changed the title to “Mustang Sally”.