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The Ford Mustang is an American automobilemanufactured by Ford. It was originally based on the platform of the second generation North American Ford Falcon, a compact car. The original 1962 Ford Mustang I two-seater concept car had evolved into the 1963 Mustang II four-seater concept car which Ford used to pretest how the public would take interest in the first production Mustang. The 1963 Mustang II concept car was designed with a variation of the production model's front and rear ends with a roof that was 2.7 inches shorter. Introduced early on April 17, 1964,(16 days after the Plymouth Barracuda) and thus dubbed as a "1964½" by Mustang fans, the 1965 Mustang was the automaker's most successful launch since the Model A. The Mustang has undergone several transformations to its current sixth generation.
The Mustang created the "pony car" class of American automobiles, affordable sportycoupes with long hoods and short rear decksand gave rise to competitors such as theChevrolet Camaro, Pontiac Firebird, AMC Javelin, Chrysler's revamped Plymouth Barracuda, and the first generation Dodge Challenger. The Mustang is also credited for inspiring the designs of coupés such as theToyota Celica and Ford Capri, which were imported to the United States.
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 1965 models, though minor design updates for fall 1965 contribute to tracking 1964½ production data separately from 1965 data (see data below). with production beginning in Dearborn, Michigan on March 9, 1964; the new car was introduced to the public on April 17, 1964 at the New York World's Fair.
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 stylistPhilip T. Clark. The Mustang I made its formal debut at the United States Grand Prix inWatkins 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.
An alternative view was that Robert J. Eggert, Ford Division market research manager, first suggested the Mustang name. Eggert, a breeder of quarterhorses, received a birthday present from his wife of the book, The Mustangs by J. Frank Dobie in 1960. Later, the book's title gave him the idea of adding the "Mustang" name for Ford's new concept car. The designer preferred Cougar (early styling bucks can be seen wearing a Cougar grille emblem) or Torino (an advertising campaign using the Torino name was actually prepared), while Henry Ford II wanted T-bird II. As the person responsible for Ford's research on potential names, Eggert added "Mustang" to the list to be tested by focus groups; "Mustang," by a wide margin, came out on top under the heading: "Suitability as Name for the Special Car."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.
Mustangs grew larger and heavier with each model year until, in response to the 1971–1973 models, Ford returned the car to its original size and concept for 1974. It has since seen several platform generations and designs. Although some other pony cars have seen a revival, the Mustang is the only original model to remain in uninterrupted production over five decades of development and revision.
Lee Iacocca's assistant general manager and chief engineer, Donald N. Frey was the head engineer for the T-5 project—supervising the overall development of the car in a record 18 months—while Iacocca himself championed the project as Ford Division general manager. The T-5 prototype was a two-seat, mid-mounted engine roadster. This vehicle employed the German Ford Taunus V4 engine.
It was claimed that the decision to abandon the two-seat design was in part due to the increase in sales theThunderbird had seen when enlarged from a two-seater to a2+2 in 1958. Thus, a four-seat car with full space for the front bucket seats, as originally planned, and a rear bench seat with significantly less space than was common at the time, were standard. A "Fastback 2+2", first manufactured on August 17, 1964, enclosed the trunk space under a sweeping exterior line similar to the second series Corvette Sting Rayand European sports cars such as the Jaguar E-Type coupe.
Favorable publicity articles appeared in 2,600 newspapers the next morning, the day the car was "officially" revealed. A Mustang convertible also appeared in the James Bond film Goldfinger in September 1964.
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. Many (if not most) of the interior,chassis, suspension, and drivetrain components were derived from those used on Ford's Falcon and Fairlane. This use of common components also shortened the learning curve for assembly and repair workers, while at the same time allowing dealers to pick up the Mustang without also having to invest in additional spare parts inventory to support the new car line. Original sales forecasts projected less than 100,000 units for the first year. This mark was surpassed in three months from rollout. Another 318,000 would be sold during the model year (a record), and in its first eighteen months, more than one million Mustangs were built.
Several changes were made at the traditional opening of the new model year (beginning August 1964), including the addition of back-up lights on some models, the introduction ofalternators to replace generators, an upgrade of the six-cylinder engine from 170 to 200 cu in (2.8 to 3.3 l) with an increase from 101 to 120 hp (75 to 89 kW), and an upgrade of the V8 engine from 260 to 289 cu in (4.3 to 4.7 l) with an increase from 164 to 210 hp (122 to 157 kW). The rush into production included some unusual quirks, such as the horn ring bearing the 'Ford Falcon' logo covered by a trim ring with a 'Ford Mustang' logo. These characteristics made enough difference to warrant designation of the 121,538 early versions as "1964½" Mustangs, a distinction that has endured with purists.
Ford's designers began drawing up larger versions even as the original was achieving sales success, and while "Iacocca later complained about the Mustang's growth, he did oversee the 1967 redesign." From 1967 until 1973, the Mustang got bigger but not necessarily more powerful. The Mustang was facelifted, giving the Mustang a more massive look overall and allowing a big block engine to be offered for the first time. Front and rear end styling was more pronounced, and the "twin cove" instrument panel offered a thicker crash pad, and larger gauges. Hardtop, fastback and convertible body styles continued as before. Around this time, the Mustang was paired with a Mercury variant, called the Cougar, which used its own styling cues, such as a "cougar's head" logo and hidden quad headlamps. New safety regulations by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for 1967 included an energy-absorbing steering column and wheel, 4-way emergency flashers, a dual-circuit hydraulic braking system, and softer interior knobs. The 1968 models received revised side scoops, steering wheel, and gasoline caps. Side marker lights were also added that year, and cars built after January 1, 1968 included shoulder belts for both front seats on coupes. The 1968 models also introduced a new 302 cu in (4.9 L) V8 engine, designed with Federal emissions regulations in mind.
The 1969 restyle "added more heft to the body as width and length again increased. Weight went up markedly too." Due to the larger body and revised front end styling, the 1969 models (but less so in 1970) had a notable aggressive stance. The 1969 models featured "quad headlamps" which disappeared to make way for a wider grille and a return to standard headlamps in the 1970 models. This switch back to standard headlamps was an attempt to tame the aggressive styling of the 1969 model, which some felt was too extreme and hurt sales, but 1969 production exceeded the 1970 total