The history of the Mustang
If there is one car that can be said to be a classic American piece, it is the Ford Mustang. This vehicle has remained popular for decades. Born out of a need to compete with the model of a rival company and drive down sales, the Mustang’s success is due to the right combination of media savvy, great entrepreneurship, and marketing brilliance.
In 1964, the Ford company was experiencing a recession. Although it had seen good sales with its Falcon model in previous years, Chevrolet had advanced in sales due to the development of the Corvair Monza. Ford wanted an answer to Chevy’s character and style, which were its key selling characteristics.
Lee Iacocca came in, with the idea of creating a car that could be designed by people. While his idea was initially rejected, he eventually convinced management to accept it and the design was soon underway. In order to reduce development costs, the Mustang used many parts that were originally included in other car models, notably the powertrain found in both the Fairlane and Falcon. It came in two-seater, coupe or convertible models.
Ford’s launch of the Mustang involved an incredibly detailed ad campaign. Ford debuted the Mustang at the New York World’s Fair on April 17, 1964. Two days later, the car was advertised on all three American television networks. The campaign was one of the most successful launches in American history, with more than a million Mustangs sold in its first year and a half on the market (during which time it was upgraded to a four-seater).
A significant selling point of the Mustang was that it was built to order. In other words, buyers had a huge list of options that they could select on the car for themselves. Some of the options included power steering, power train combinations, air conditioning, and a high-performance engine. It was the first car to include so many different options for the buyer, and the strategy paid off for both manufacturers and dealers.
Mustang models 64 through 66 were built with a sports car look, including long hoods and shorter rear units. The interiors were also designed along sporting lines, with a small rear seat and two seats in the front.
The 1967 and 1968 Mustangs had a larger grille than the original models, and also a widened hood that had a more aggressive look and a better reflection of the engine units.
The 1969 and 1970 Mustangs were longer than previous models and were also heavier. Additionally, the Mustang’s headlights were now housed within the grille rather than protruding.
’71 to ’73 saw the heaviest Mustangs to date put on the market.
The second generation of Mustangs saw a return to the appearance of the original model, but with major innovations in the casings. Rack and pinion steering was an important part of the system that was manufactured between 1974 and 1978.
The third generation Mustang was also the car’s longest incarnation in terms of production. While it lacked the aesthetic appeal of the other generations (being smaller and with softer lines), this model had a complete interior rework to fit four people comfortably in it. With a 302 with a better camshaft and new valves, as well as an updated exhaust system, the third-generation Mustang was the best from a performance standpoint, being one of the fastest domestic cars available in America.
The fourth generation Mustang was designed to bring the car back to the sales figures it had enjoyed in previous years. Manufacturers relied on a return to sporty looks to accomplish this, and the move paid off. The new Mustangs were almost a perfect hybrid of the previous models in appearance, and included all the innovations in the guts that had made the Mustang a reliable performance car.
Ford joined the retro popularity in a big way with the fifth generation Mustang that hit the market in 2005. The latest Mustang models are much more similar to the styles of the 60s than any other generation, only with the sleeker lines than the XXI century model is so attractive in all aspects of decoration.