Since making its debut at the New York World's Fair in 1964, Ford Mustang has earned its place as a true American icon.
Mustang mania swept the country when Ford Motor Company’s fabled pony car went on sale April 17, 1964. Dealers took an impressive 22,000 orders that day. Enthusiasm ran so high that in Garland, Texas, the winner among 15 bidders for the same car insisted on sleeping overnight in the car until his check cleared the next day.
Mustang posted world-record sales of 418,812 in its first year on the market, more than quadrupling expected sales of 100,000. Within three years, some 500 Mustang enthusiast clubs had formed.
Mustang's much-heralded arrival and attention-drawing design earned it twin cover stories in Time and Newsweek the week of its introduction. Conceived as a "working man's Thunderbird," the first Mustangs were available as hardtops, coupes and convertibles.
Based on the Falcon chassis, Mustang had a 108-inch wheelbase and an overall length of 181.6 inches. Engine choices ranged from the standard, 170-cubic-inch, 101-horsepower, six-cylinder to a high-performance, 289-cubic-inch V-8 rated at 271 horsepower. The hardtop's base price was an affordable $2,368.
The year 1969 brought a new body and two new models: the Grande, an upscale hardtop with vinyl roof and luxurious interior, and the Mach 1, a fastback variation. A restyled Mustang debuted in 1971, with a new front end and flatter roof that lowered its profile.
In 1974, Mustang was again restyled, this time in the form of Mustang II. With 10 model years behind it, Mustang had sold more than three million vehicles. An all-new 1979 Mustang was voted America's most significant new car by Car and Driver magazine's readers.
A new generation of Mustangs arrived in 1994. The classic long hood and short deck silhouette, sculptured side scoops and galloping chrome pony on the grille evoked the original, but with a contemporary interpretation. For 1999, Mustang's 35th anniversary, all cars bore special anniversary tricolor-bar emblems on the front fenders. The U.S. Postal Service issued a 33-cent stamp featuring the original 1964½ Mustang.
For Mustang's 40th anniversary, 5,700 special-edition 2004 anniversary Mustangs were produced, along with two other special-edition vehicles.
Mustang the movie star has appeared more than 300 times on the silver screen, with its stellar performance in the 1968 police drama "Bullitt" perhaps the most memorable. In 2001, Ford introduced a special edition Mustang Bullitt GT.
Mustang continues to capture the spirit and look of the original with today's technology—including numerous safety, convenience and comfort features.