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April 17, 1964 will surely go down as one of the most important dates in automotive history. In case you don't already know that was the date that the Ford Mustang made its debut in the Ford showrooms across the United States. In those days it was big news, people literally packed the dealership just to see the new Pony Car.
In 1962 Lee Iaccoca was promoted by Ford to head up this new line. Along with many other notable people Lee had a vision for a 2 door car with 4 seats and a price tag of $2,500. After more than a year of drawing and modeling, what we know today as the Mustang was ready for production. Most people don't know that the project wasn't called Mustang at first. In fact it had many name changes during that time but the most notable was "Cougar" which of course Mercury would use later.
When the Mustang first hit the showrooms there was only two models, the coupe and the convertible. The base versions of the car came with the 170 ci engine and the 3 speed transmission on the floor. You could however upgrade to the 260 V-8 with the V-8 and the 4 speed gear box or even the automatic transmission.
As 1965 came around Ford released the first Fastback or 2+2 models, giving the car a fresh look and changing the base engine to the 200 ci and 289 ci V-8. By 1965 there had already been nearly a million Mustangs sold and on the anniversary of the release they took it one step further by releasing what we know as the GT Package.
At the time Ford was very successful at making dealer installed options part of the Mustang. The dealer could sell and install upgrades for the car at the time of sale. It was not unusual for a dealer to install Air Conditioning, Power Brakes, Styled Steel Wheels, Luggage Rack and even upgraded Suspension. Can you imagine asking a dealer today to install factory AC in your new car? I can only guess they would say no.
In 1967 the Mustang would get its' first of many facelifts. Among those at Ford there certainly was a school of thought to stay the course because The Pony car was already so successful. But with the Camaro, Firebird and yes even the Cougar coming up as competition it was agreed to freshen up the look for the car for 67. Ford increased the size slightly to make room for the big block engines.
Surprisingly the wheel base remained the same. As did the classic lines of the now famous body style. More safety features were added too. What seems to be a small detail to us today was an innovation at the time such as padded armrests and padded steering wheels. The 1967 is distinctive in that it was the first to have quarter panel emblems that were inset in the rear quarter panels.
In 1968 those quarter panel emblems disappeared as quickly as they had come. The 1967 also had the Exterior Decor group available too. What we know as the "winker" hood was part of that group that included several pieces of molding and a pop open gas cap. The horsepower race heated up too and the 428 and 429 engines were introduced and options started appearing like the Drag-Pac and the Cobra Jet Engines.
In 1969 came another facelift and even more horsepower and it is interesting to note that more than 40% of the Mustangs produced in 1969 were fastbacks.
In 1971 came the big body Mustangs and what many consider the last of the Classic Mustangs. Engine sizes remained the same but in many cases performance was reduced.
Our job is Mustang Parts but our passion is for all the years of the Classic Mustang. Discussion around our lunch table always seems to go back to Mustangs and what we like about them, how we can make them better, stop quicker, go faster or just plain look the best they can. If your car is a 1965 or a 2013 we love the car, the hobby and the people who join in!