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Mustang is celebrating its 40th universary !
Have you ever wondered why it's so common to see Ford grinding metal with Chevrolet? Like there's some sort of rivalry between the two. For instance, a quick check on www.perfectcarhire.com would reveal that both manufacturers are neck in neck when it comes to the most rented-car category. To better understand this, let's try to look at both cars' history.
For a long time, there have been a competition between the Ford Motor Company and the Chevrolet division from General Motors. Both companies operated on the same market. Chevrolet launched the Corvair because people wanted a compact and cheap car. Ford responded with the Falcon and this car was sold much better than the Corvair did. Just like the Thunderbird did to the Corvette in the fifties.
Then Chevrolet took the Corvair Monza into production, a sporty, compact car and people wanted it. Ford tried to defeat this car with the Falcon Futura, but the Corvair Monza sold considerably better, because the Falcon didn't have the rival's image and caracter. To defeat Chevrolet, Ford needed a brandnew car, a car with a sporty image and sporty actions, a car to be wanted by the young people. And on 13 april 1964 the Mustang was coming up.
It was really something special. Therefore this Ford was called "Pony Car". Not bound to rank or class, nearly everyone felt attracted to it. Simply ... for the normal people. The Mustang was advertised as "the car to be designed by you".
This payable sports-car was an idea from the young vice-president at Ford, Lee Iacocca. He was asked to bring back the two-seater Thunderbird. In 1962 he build the Mustang I-prototype, a V4 two-seater. However it had to be a four-seater and in 1963 the Mustang II showcar was riding at the American Grand Prix. The car was received passionately and became so popular, the Mustang was taken into production.
In order to keep production costs down, many of the Mustang's components were "borrowed" from the Falcon, including most of the drivetrain. In spring 1964 the Mustang was launched at the World Exhibition of New York and ... the Americans bought it ... !!
The Mustang was heavily advertised during it's development. In 1964, Ford ran simultaneous commercials on all three major television networks. Immediately, people "attacked" the Ford showrooms. Everyone was in a frenzy to be one of the first to own the Mustang.
The 1964½, as it was later called, was available in only two models: the coupe and convertible. Both models featured a lengthened hood and shortened rear deck, chrome wrap-around bumpers, chrome grille with a running horse, and full wheel covers.
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The interior was sporty too, with two seats in the front and a little back-seat. It had a deep shaped steering-wheel and a dashboard with a horizontal speed-meter. which looked like the Falcon sedan speed-meter.
At night, the buyer slept in his car until his cheque was approved, so the car wouldn’t be sold to anyone else.
The three tail-lights on both sides would be characteristic for the Mustang for years.
The standard car would cost about $ 2.400,--, but with multitude of different interior, exterior and drivetrain options, you could turn it into your own hot rod and double its value. Ford sold over 22.000 Mustangs the first day!! After the first four months, 100.000 Mustangs were sold, the first year 418.000 and the 1.000.000-th in 1966. The Mustang had made a name for itself and it was here to stay !!!
1965 brought a view changes for the Mustang. The biggest was a new Fastback model. Another was the in april 1965 introduced GT. Over 500.000 Mustangs were build for the year 1965.
Most of the changes for 1966 were in the form of cosmetic refinements. The choices of available interior colors and styles increased to thirty four varieties, giving the buyer even more ways to personalize "their" Mustang.
On the racing track the Mustang succeeded too and its sporty image was increasing on the road due to the Shelby GT-350 Mustang from 1965 and to the Mach 1.
An interesting detail of the 1967 Mustang was the "Exterior Decor". The simulated air-scoops, a larger grill. This version was longer and looked more agressive, more accurate to the engines available.
In 1968 the GT/CS California Special was build and got a new dashboard with two big meters and tree little ones.
The Mustang was starting to grow up. At 1969 the Mustang became bigger and heavier. The new Mustangs were almost 4 inches longer. The grill, with no corral (a running horse similar to the one on the front fenders of the first generation took its place) and inner headlights.
Other new models were the Grande, the Mach 1, the Boss 302 and the Boss 429.
The Grande was based on the hardtop Coupé. The accent of this car was luxury, both the interior and the exterior. On the contrary, the actions were accentuated with the Mach 1, with details based on the racing tracks. The Mach 1 also had a luxe interior and air-scoops, a matblack hood, an agressive looking Windsor engine and heavy striping.
The very exclusive Boss 302 was brought onto the market to give Ford the chance to use the car on the Trans-Am races. According to the Trans-Am regulations, Ford had to sell thousand cars to the public before the car was allowed to participate the race.
Just like the Boss 429, which was riding on the NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Automobile Racing). Maybe this was the beginning of the end. The Pony was restained by the governments law and it drowned, just like the T-Bird did ... !!!
Special Mustangs were build for certain area's in the VS, like the Twister Special. This Mustang was sold in the area of Kansas Sity only. The Twister Special, based on the Mach 1, was recognizable to his color Grabber Orange and its special logo.
The V8 Mustangs were showing off their power (they had a acceleration-time of 0-96 km/hr in 8 seconds) while the less powerful 6-cylinders didn’t talk about the lack of it.
On the racing-tracks all over the world the Mustang was a success.
A big motor in a small car was the reason the car felt better than all the earlier American cars on the racing track.
THE WRONG DIRECTION
The grill-horse on the Mustang is running in the opposite direction in which the horses run at the American horsetracks !!
For more Mustang Stories go to the Mustang Story Index
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