The iconic Ford Mustang is credited with launching the ‘pony car’ segment and with helping to establish the dominance of the Ford Motor Company in the American car market in the 1960s and 1970s. Offered as an affordable, fun, and compact 2-door 4-seat sports coupe or convertible, the Mustang was an instant success when it was first introduced to the world on April 17, 1964 at the New York Auto Show. The Mustang beat the 1970s fuel crisis and even survived the great recession of 2007-2009 when automakers were drawing their focus from gas guzzlers. It is Ford’s longest-running car nameplate and is also one of Ford’s top-selling cars. This car also boasts a vibrant car tuning community in the USA and in several other countries around the world. You can get top quality OEM or aftermarket Mustang parts and accessories right here at GrokAuto.com.
The inspiration behind the Ford Mustang came from Lee Iacocca, Ford’s general manager and vice president during the 1960s. Iacocca saw an untapped market for an affordable yet powerful 2-door 4-seat sports coupe/convertible, and he set out to develop such a car although he had a tight budget. He hoped to design a sports car that weighed less than 2,500 pounds and that also cost less than $2,500. To cut costs, Ford based the original Mustang on the platform of the Ford Falcon. It was designed with a long hood and short deck, both of which define all Mustangs of today. The 1st-generation Mustang had a curb weight of 2,556 pounds and a starting price of $2,320.
The 1st-generation Mustang went on sale the very day it was introduced. Ford expected sales of approximately 100,000 units by the end of the first year, but the 1st-generation Mustang far outshined these estimates. Ford dealers recorded total sales of approximately 22,000 models by the end of the first day. The sales numbers continued to soar, and they hit 417,000 after just 12 months. At launch, the 1st-generation Mustang was offered with three engine options: a 170-cid straight-six, a 262-cid V-8, and the legendary 289-cid V-8. The 289-cid V-8 developed 271 horsepower. In 1965, thanks to the input of Carrol Shelby, the 1st Shelby GT350 was introduced with a modified 306-horsepower 289-cubic-inch V-8 engine. The Shelby GT500 debuted two years later with a massive 427-cid “Cobra Le Mans” V-8 engine. The famous 1st-generation Boss 302, Mach 1, Boss 429, and Boss 351 models followed soon after.
In the wake of the 1973 oil crisis, car buyers were looking for cheaper and more fuel-efficient cars. Ford responded by basing the 2nd-generation Mustang (also called the Mustang II) on the platform of the lighter and smaller Ford Pinto. At launch, the Mustang II also got smaller, more-fuel-efficient engines that included a 140 cid 4-cylinder engine or a 171 cid V6 gas engine. They were a far cry from the fire-breathing V8 engines of the 1st generation. Amazingly, despite these changes, the Mustang II sold 384,000 units in 1974. Thankfully, the V8 engine returned to the Mustang in 1975. However, it was a 302-cid V8 engine that made just 130 horsepower, so it did not quite deliver the brutal performance that Americans had grown accustomed to.
Ford finally brought the power back in the Mustang’s 3rd generation when it introduced the 1984 SVO model. It initially had a 175-hp 2.3-liter turbocharged inline-four engine, but the engine output was updated to 200-205 horsepower in 1986. The next year, the GT Hatchback cranked it up a little further to 225 horsepower.
The 4th-generation Mustang was introduced in 1994. It was curvier and had rounder edges, so it looked nothing like its prior generations. It was renowned for its highly responsive 4.6-liter V8 that initially made 215 horsepower; the output had increased to 225 hp by 1998. This generation also gave the 320-hp Mach 1 in 1999 and the 390-hp Cobra in 2003-2004.
The 5th-generation Mustang (codenamed the S197) debuted at the North American International Auto Show in 2004. It was larger and looked more muscular, and it also had retro styling that was inspired by the 1st-generation Mustang. This new look struck a chord with Mustang car enthusiasts. This generation also got a new platform and was offered in a variety of models that included the GT, Bullitt, Shelby GT500, and Boss 302. The most powerful model in this generation was the 2013 Mustang Shelby GT500 that features a supercharged 5.8-liter Trinity V8 engine rated at 662 horsepower and 631 lb.-ft. of torque.
The latest 6th-generation Mustang does not look as brawny as its predecessor, but it is wider and sits lower, and so it feels more planted to the road. The engine options start from a more-than-adequate 310-hp 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, and they range up to the supercharged, 760-horsepower 5.2-liter V8 of the 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500.
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