The Ford Mustang Debut in 1964
On April 17th, 1964 at the World's Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York - Henry Ford II unveiled the Ford Mustang. At the exact same time, the Mustang also showed up in dealerships around the country and were an immediate hit. "In the Mustang, Ford actually has created three cars in one," according to Lee A. Iacocca, Ford Motor Company vice president and Ford Division general manager at the time. "Starting with the economical, fun-to-drive basic Mustang, the buyer may select options to give him a sports car for street or competition use or a luxury car geared to either economy or performance." The Pony Car was born, and with it competitors such as GM's Chevy Camaro, AMC's Javelin, Chrysler's revamped Barracudas and the Dodge Challenger soon followed.
The first Mustang wasn't very fast, but its impact was significant. The Ford Mustang was a reasonably priced alternative to the Thunderbird. "We believe the Mustang represents a new dimension in American motoring at a time when new and old generations of car-lovers alike have come full circle to an appreciation of the automobile for its own sake," said Mr. Iacocca. "It offers a combination of driving fun, roominess and style that permits the Mustang buyer to make of the car almost anything he desires -- all at a low initial cost."
The Mustang name is rumored to have originated from Ford designer John Najjar, who was a huge fan of the World War II P-51 Mustang. Another view was that Robert J. Eggert, Ford Division market research manager came up with the Mustang name. Eggert was a breeder of quarterhorses and received a birthday present from his wife of the book, The Mustangs by J. Frank Dobie in 1960. In any event, the name stuck. The Mustang was here.
The 1965 Mustang won the Tiffany Gold Medal for excellence in American design, the first automobile ever to do so. And the Mustang was on the Car and Driver Ten Best list in 1983, 1987, 1988, 2005, 2006, and 2011. It won the Motor Trend Car of the Year award in 1974 and 1994.
It wasn't all glorious though, around 25 years ago Ford almost gave up on the Pony because of poor sales and a soft performance car market. Fans demanded they keep focusing on it, which they did. To this day over 9 million Mustangs have been sold.
Click here to see just about every Mustang ever made - yeah, seriously.