Mustang - The Legend is Born

1964 - 1966

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Early Mustang Performance Comparison
Yearly Mustang Production Numbers

The Mustang the first, the original pony car. It was born because the people needed something sporty, affordable, good style. Ford had played with the Thunderbird in 1955, changing it in 1958 with bigger power, weight and price. It proved to be a winner in the showroom, as sales increased (as opposed to the Chevy's Corvette). Lee Iacocca, the man in charge of the Ford division knew that, so his orders for this new car were simple:

The main reason Ford was looking for such a car was the up and coming buyers. The timing was right - the baby boomers were about ready to start buying their first cars.
The first car to be called Mustang was truly an exciting car. It was first shown at Watkins Glen in 1962.

Mustang concept race car

It was a two seater car, with no roof, really defined aerodynamic style, mid-car 1.5 liter V4 engine rated at 109 hp, dual exhaust, two huge air intakes (scoops) on the side of the car drew air to the engine. Behind the front wheel opening there was a little badge now famous; three stripes with a chrome running horse.
The spectators went wild, so did the automotive press. Good reports were coming from every where. However that wasn't the car that the world needed. It needed two more seats, more space, more practicality. So designers went to work. David Ash designed the Mustang II. The link between the two seater sports car to the production Mustang.

Mustang II Concept car

It's body resembled the production car. It had an open grille with the running Mustang horse, it had a very similar side scoop to the '66 Mustang with five parallel chrome bars (three in '66) . It's design was a bit sharper than the production car. It had no bumpers, not really necessary. As almost all concept cars it's windshield was swept back for that aerodynamic look - not always too practical. It's head lights were square and concealed by chrome strips. It had nice chrome styled wheels with knockers finishing it off. It was introduced only half a year before the introduction of the production Mustang. It's mission - to create excitement for the new car. It worked!

As the production date got closer the design chanced a bit. Mass production makes it a bit more complicated to execute. Some shapes are harder to produce than others. The body of the Mustang had to be rounded off a bit, the headlights had to be round (according to regulation). To save production cost the Ford Mustang Team based the new car on the Falcon. It's chassis, suspension, engines, interior instruments, were used with different degrees of modification. As the project was close to debuting, test were made. The Mustang as we know it hit the streets. Every where it went people went crazy for it. Research proved the car was in the right track, when people were ready to pay for it a lot more than Ford was thinking. Some people were putting this new sports car right there with a lot more expensive European exotic sports cars, costing about twice as much.

The 1964 1/4 Mustang

It was an instant hit, the masses went wild for the Mustang, It first appeared as a coupe and convertible.
The coupes looked a lot like a convertible with the top up, hence the name - Two door, hard top.
Engines choices were:

170 ci straight 6--V code 101 HP
260 ci  V 8 -------- F code 160 HP
289 ci 4 V  V 8 -------- D code 210 HP
289 ci 4 V HI PO V 8 -------- K code 271 HP
The style was sleek and sharp, not as much as the Mustang II. It was a looker. Even standing still it looked fast, sporty and expensive. The Mustang caused complete mass information hysteria, all papers, magazines, auto publications, tv stations, radio stations were talking about it.
April 17 of 1964 was a good day for Ford it was the release of the Mustang. All cars were sold right away, there was waiting lists, orders. Along side with the Mustang, the pony car, Mustang madness, muscle car madness, were all born in the same day. In a bit more than a month it became the top selling compact car. In the first year it sold 418,812 units

The 1965 Mustang

The Mustang was getting a bit more refined.
New for '65 was of course the natural evolution a fastback design it had a very practical fold way rear seat and functional rear air ducts on the rear quarter panel. It was called the 2 plus 2.
Also new were front disk brakes, limited slip differential
It was the first year for the GT package with either V 8 - 4 v (four barrel carb) engines. It grouped dual exhausts, improved suspension, disk brakes, five gauges instrument panel, rally pack, exterior GT badges, fog lights, nicely integrated exhaust horns into the rear valance and deletion of the chrome rocker panel.
The big news for '65 was the introduction of the Shelby GT 350. It was based on the production Mustang GT fastback, with a different scooped fiber glass hood, striped down for weight improvement. Other modifications were the suspension, the Hi PO 289, bigger rear ends, custom interior. An hot rod Mustang from the factory!

Engine choices were:

200 ci straight 6 -- T code 120 HP
289 ci - 2 V V 8 -------- C code 200 HP
289 ci - 4V V 8 -------- A code 220 HP
289 ci - 4V HI PO V 8 -------- K code 271 HP
289 ci - 4V HI PO - Shelby V 8 -------- K code 306 HP

The 1966 Ford Mustang

Success continues. Sales reached one million. The millionth Mustang came out of the line in February 23rd 1966.
The Mustang it self didn't change very much. A good number of options became standard like the GT five gauge instrument panel. The interior door panels were revised, remote mirror available, windshield washer standard, the front end treatment lost the horizontal bar, except on the GT 's fog light. A vinyl roof was made available. The side scoop now had three chrome bars.
The Shelby GT 350 lost a few pounds by losing the heavy louvers in the quarter panels, replaced by a plexiglass window. It improved outward vision. The side scoop became functional by providing the cooling for the rear brakes. The GT 350 could now be ordered with an optional automatic transmition. It became more user friendly with a softer suspension, but the optional Detroit locker rear end and the optional Paxton supercharger made things a a lot more exciting.

Engine choices were:

200 ci straight 6-- T code 120 HP
289 ci - 2 V V 8 -------- C code 200 HP
289 ci - 4V V 8 -------- A code 225 HP
289 ci - 4V HI PO V 8 -------- K code 271 HP
289 ci - 4V HI PO - Shelby V 8 -------- K code 306 HP
289 ci - 4V HI PO Shelby / Paxton Supercharged V 8 -------- K code 400 HP

End of the 1st generation Mustang.
 The Mustang 1st make over

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