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50 things you probably didn’t know about the Ford Mustang

To mark the 50th anniversary of the production of the millionth Ford Mustang on 2nd March 2016 – here are fifty things you may not know about the iconic fastback:

  1. The Mustang created the “pony car” class of American automobiles—sports-car like coupes with long hoods and short rear decks and gave rise to competitors such as the Chevrolet Camaro, Pontiac Firebird, AMC Javelin, Chrysler’s revamped Plymouth Barracuda, and the first generation Dodge Challenger.
  2. Ford Motor Co. built two mid-engine Mustang-badged concept cars: the 1962 Mustang 1 and the 1968 Mach II.
  3. The Mustang I Prototype made its formal debut at the United States Grand Prix in Watkins Glen, New York on October 7, 1962, where test driver and contemporary Formula One race driver Dan Gurney lapped the track in a demonstration using the second “race” prototype. His lap times were only slightly off the pace of the F1 race cars.

    The 1965 Ford Mustang fastback on display outside the Ford Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair during its debut on April 17, 1964.
    The 1965 Ford Mustang fastback on display outside the Ford Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair during its debut on April 17, 1964.
  4. Executive stylist John Najjar, who was a fan of the World War II P-51 Mustang fighter plane, is credited by Ford to have suggested the name. Najjar co-designed the first prototype of the Ford Mustang known as Ford Mustang I in 1961, working jointly with fellow Ford stylist Philip T. Clark.
  5. Various names were evaluated before Mustang was chosen. At least two of the rejected names eventually appeared on Ford vehicles: Cougar and Torino.
  6. Buhlie Ford, a nephew of Henry Ford II, took a ride in an early Mustang convertible in the spring of 1964 and left the car in a downtown Detroit parking lot. The Detroit Free Press published photos of the car in what was considered a major scoop before the official unveiling.
  7. On April 16, 1964, the day before its public unveiling, Ford sponsored simultaneous programs on the three major TV networks as part of a national marketing blitz. The Mustang was seen by 29 million people during prime time. The next day, Mustang ads ran in more than 2,600 newspapers.
  8. The Mustang was premiered on April. 17, 1964 at New York’s World Fair.
  9. Ford took the Mustang on the road since many people could not see the car at its New York debut or at a dealership. The Mustang was put on display at 70 high-traffic metropolitan sites nationwide, 15 major airport terminals, in 100 Holiday Inns and on billboards in more than 170 markets.
  10. In 1964, the Mustang’s base price — $2,368 — was featured prominently in the company’s initial advertising. It was $1,000 lower than that of the closest competition.
  11. The first generation Mustang chassis was based on the Ford Falcon.
  12. Phil Clark is the original designer of the galloping horse logo.
  13. The Mustang came in three body types: Coupe, Convertible, and Fastback, made available for the true 1965 model year.
  14. The first Mustang’s VIN Number was 5F08F100001.
  15. The first Mustang was accidentally sold when it was brand-new. Ford intended to truck the car across Canada on a tour of dealerships. However, a salesman in St. Johns, Newfoundland, accidentally sold it to airline pilot Captain Stanley Tucker. He drove it about 10,000 miles and then traded it back to Ford. In fact, he traded up for the 1,000,001 Mustang built.
  16. Mustangs were built at Dearborn Assembly Plant for every model year from 1965 through 2004.
  17. The Ford Mustang was brought out five months before the normal start of the 1965 production year. The early production versions are often referred to as “1964½ models” but all Mustangs were advertised, VIN coded and titled by Ford as 1965models.
  18. The 1965 Ford Mustang engine choices included a standard 101HP 170CID I-6 Cylinder, a 164 HP 260CID V8, or a 210HP 289CID with either a three speed manual, three speed automatic or four speed manual transmission.
  19. Dealers were inundated with requests for the vehicle. In Garland, Texas, 15 customers bid on the same Mustang, and the winner insisted on sleeping in the car overnight to guarantee that it wouldn’t get sold from under him before his check cleared the next day.

    1,000,000th Ford Mustang
    1,000,000th Ford Mustang
  20. In 1964, the Mustang’s base price — $2,368 — was featured prominently in the company’s initial advertising. It was $1,000 lower than that of the closest competition.
  21. Ford originally forecast about 100,000 Mustang sales in the first year. More than 400,000 were sold.
  22. Ford Division General Manager Lee Iacocca credited the Mustang’s simultaneous appearance on the covers of Time and Newsweek in April 1964 with selling an extra 100,000 Mustangs.
  23. Mustang-crazed parents bought 93,000 pedal-powered children’s Mustangs during the 1964 Christmas season.
  24. In 1964, just about a month after the model was introduced, a Mustang served as pace car for the Indianapolis 500.
  25. Mustang production began on March. 9, 1964.
  26. The vehicle came available in a standard hardtop or standard convertible design, manufactured in 17 different exterior colors and 40 different interior trims.
  27. The 1967 Mustang was available in two shades of pink: dusk rose and Playboy pink.
  28. In 1965, the Shelby GT350 was introduced, with a 306 horsepower V-8 engine, giving the Mustang performance credibility.
  29. Mustang sales passed the one million mark in March of 1966.
  30. The 1966 Mustang was the first – and perhaps the only – car to park on the 86th floor observation deck of New York’s Empire State Building. Ford engineers disassembled a 1966 Mustang convertible and took it up in four sections using the building’s passenger elevators.
  31. Mustang-mania hit full force. The 289-cid V-8 “Hi-Po” engine became available. Carroll Shelby adapted the Shelby GT350 for Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) competition, and the GT350 went on to win three straight SCCA national championships.
  32. The 1967 Mustang was considered by many to be the high water mark for Mustang design in the 1960s. The 2+2 model went from a semi-notchback to a sweeping full fastback roofline. Separate triple tail lamps, a longer nose and a bigger grille made for a more aggressive stance.
  33. In 1968, the 428 Cobra Jet engine was introduced as part of an option package aimed at enthusiasts, and it helped make the Shelby GT500 become King of the Road – KR.
  34. A “steed for every need” philosophy yielded 11 different powertrain combinations in 1969. New models added to the lineup included hot rods like the 290 horsepower Boss 302, the 375 horsepower Boss 429 and the Mach 1, giving the Mustang its muscle car heritage. The Grande luxury model also was introduced.

    Ford Mustang - 1967
    Ford Mustang – 1967
  35. In 1970, a ram air “Shaker” hood scoop could be ordered on any Mustang equipped with a 351-cid or larger V-8
  36. The 1971 Mustangs were the biggest Mustangs ever – nearly a foot longer and some 600 pounds heavier than the originals. The Boss 351, with its 351 “Cleveland” V-8 and Cobra Jet heads, debuted. The Mach 1 was available with a variety of powertrains, topped by the 370 horsepower 429 Super Cobra Jet.
  37. In 1973, the impact of gasoline shortages, rising insurance premiums and emissions controls brought the muscle car era to a close. The 1973 model was the last original Falcon-platform Mustang, and the convertible model was discontinued.
  38. The Mustang is one of fewer than 10 nameplates to survive in continuous production for more than 50 years without missing a model year.
  39. To achieve an advertised list price of US$2,368, the Mustang was based heavily on familiar yet simple components, many of which were already in production for other Ford models.

    1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302 - interior
    1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302 – interior
  40. For more than 50 years, red and blue have been the color preference of Ford Mustang owners. In all time overall color popularity, red comes in first with 21% and blue is a close second at 17%. Silver is not far behind at 14%, and white garners 13% of Mustang colors. Blue was particularly popular when the Mustang was introduced, while white took over in the mid to late 70s. By the 80s and 90s, red was established as a clear winner for Mustang colors. In fact, about one in five of all Mustangs built have been painted a shade of red. Now, black has become the most popular color in late generation mustangs
  41. .The 1967 Mustang was available in two shades of pink: dusk rose and Playboy pink. While yellow has been the least favorite color over time, it has inspired deep passions among Mustang owners. The Yellow Mustang Registry, founded in 2001, is dedicated to owners and enthusiasts of yellow Mustangs. It has more than 8,932 members and 8,984 registered vehicles worldwide, and it has hosted more than 60 events since its founding. The yellow Mustangs in the registry range from early Springtime Yellow, offered in 1965 and 1966, to Zinc Yellow, introduced in 2000.
  42. In 1966, the Ford GT40 won the Le Mans race in France. This win was the first Le Mans win for an American manufacturer and started a new era of performance racing for Ford. Following this win, famous racers including J Foyt and Mario Andretti won races with Ford powered engines. While the Ford GT40 was not a Mustang, it did have many of the design and engineering innovations that were a part of the original two seat Mustang prototype unveiled in 1962.
  43. The name could not be used in Germany, however, because it was owned by Krupp, which had manufactured trucks between 1951 and 1964 with the name Mustang. Ford refused to buy the name for about US$10,000 from Krupp at the time. Kreidler, a manufacturer of mopeds, also used the name, so Mustang was sold in Germany as the “T-5” until December 1978.
  44. “Mustang II”, was introduced two months before the first 1973 oil crisis, and its reduced size allowed it to compete against imported sports coupés such as the Japanese Toyota Celica and the European Ford Capri[citation needed] (then Ford-built in Germany and Britain, sold in U.S. by Mercury as a captive import car). First-year sales were 385,993 cars, compared with the original Mustang’s twelve-month sales record of 418,812.
  45. Steve McQueen drove a Highland Green 1968 Ford Mustang GT 390 fastback in the famous chase scene in the 1968 film Bullitt. The famous chase scene in Bullitt (1968) lasts 9 minutes and 42 seconds.
  46. The Mustang has appeared in two James Bond films – Goldfinger (1964) and Diamonds are Forever (1971).
  47. The Mustang is the world’s most-liked vehicle on Facebook.
  48. The song Mustang Sally, recorded by Wilson Pickett in 1966, is about a man who buys a Mustang for his ungrateful girlfriend. It has been described by one cultural historian as “Free advertising for the Ford Motor Company.”
  49. Mustang has won Motor Trend’s Car of the Year award twice, the 1974 Mustang II and the 1994 Mustang.
  50. In May 2013, a 1967 Shelby GT500 Super Snake sold for $1.3 million. The vehicle is incredibly rare: only one initial test car was built, and this one is it, making it an incredibly rare and sought after Mustang. There is one other Mustang that’s believed to be worth more: a 1968 Shelby EXP 500 Green Hornet with a number of notable experimental upgrades. The last time it was up for auction, it reached a top bid of $1.8 million in a January 2013 auction — but that still wasn’t enough to meet the reserve price. The vehicle remains with its original owner until a suitable offer can be found. Several other Mustangs have reached sales prices between $500,000 and $1 million, making this model incredibly valuable at auction.

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