The Ford Mustang is the epitome of the American muscle car movement and remains internationally popular, with five generations of the Ford vehicle having been produced over the decades since its introduction in 1964.
The Ford Mustang is widely credited with kick starting a wider trend during the mid-1960s because it encouraged a number of copycat models from Ford's US rivals. These competitors have gone on to become classics in their own right, but the Mustang remains the progenitor of this corner of the market.
The Mustang I was designed by John Najjar and Philip T. Clark and was originally a racing vehicle which took part in various events as early as 1962. While the physical attributes of this model would mostly not be passed on to the 1964 Mustang, the name would remain in place.
The first Mustang proper, known by fans as the 1964½ because it arrived too early to be classed as a 1965 model, was based on a number of elements of the Ford Falcon. Ford wanted to try and keep the Mustang as affordable as possible and so rather than setting out to use a bevy of unique components it instead integrated existing items into a new design.
When the Mustang went on sale it was predicted to shift 100,000 units within 12 months, but it had already surpassed this goalpost within the first three. Within a year and a half over a million units had been produced and Ford was already busy working on improvements and more models in the range before 1964 was over.
The first generation ran for a decade, with the second Mustang arriving in 1974. Since it had initiated an entirely new market since its introduction, the second generation had a lot more work to do. Models like the Toyota Celica were showing that non-US manufacturers could be equally handy in this area, but the new Mustang still managed to sell over 385,000 units in the initial 12 months after its launch.
The third-gen Mustang was longer and took quite a stylistic departure from its predecessors, with its introduction in 1979 representing the changing aesthetic tastes of the time. 1994 saw the fourth generation Mustang roll out of the factory, with yet another overhaul carried out on its styling and engine.
While the spirit of the Mustang range has remained consistent, it is the classic iterations that still win the hearts of new generations of car enthusiasts, harking back to a time when American muscle cars were the most desirable automobiles on the roads.
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