Then & Now: Ford Mustang

1963: The plans begin. To be built upon the Ford Falcon unibody platform, Mustang is discussed at length before a single sketch is drawn. The all-consuming goal is to make a car that looks like no other. Sweeping hood, sculpted flank and short rear deck set the Mustang apart.

1964: Ford officially introduces Mustang on April 17. Fastback debuts on Oct. 1. Standard equipment includes floorshift transmission, full wheel covers, padded dash, bucket seats and carpeting.

1966: Much to the buyer’s and collector’s delight, Mustang is “refreshed” annually. For 1966, thin bars, leaving the galloping horse to float in its chromed rectangular frame, replace the honeycomb grille texture.

1967: Different everywhere except in its chassis, inner structure and running gear, the Mustang 2+2 goes from a semi-notchback to a sweeping full fastback roofline. Separate triple taillamps, a longer nose and a bigger grille are also added to promote a more aggressive stance.

1968: Mustang GT is given a unique look, highlighted by striking C-shaped body stripes. Styled steel wheels with a slotted disc pattern are stock on GTs. The 1968 fastback is virtually unchanged save new side marker lights.

1969: A “steed for every need” is launched with the creation of special models to complement the all-out muscle car. An extra pair of headlights are set within the grille and the taillights were no longer recessed.

1971: The entire Mustang lineup gets longer and wider – the biggest Mustang ever. The freshening includes a stronger front appearance thanks to a new bumper and honeycomb grille with pony logo, a NACA-style ram-air hood scoop and Magnum 500 wheels.

1974-1978: Due to the growing popularity of sporty import coupes, Mustang II enters the market to appeal to those customer conscious of fuel economy during a historic gasoline crisis. Convertibles are a thing of the past, not to return until 1983, though the T-top is an option in 1977.

1979: New crisp and clean lines help make the transition to the fifth generation of Mustang, beginning with the 1979 “Fox” platform. Performance was back and quality is improved both inside and out. The new model is longer and taller than Mustang II, yet 200 pounds lighter.

1983: All Mustangs look faster for 1983 due to a more rounded nose that reduced air drag, as well as restyled taillights. The first convertible in 10 years appears glamorous with a power top, roll-down rear side windows and a tempered glass back window.

1984: Ford introduces the Mustang SVO. It features a front fascia with integral fog lamps, but no grille. An off-center functional scoop also make the vehicle unique. The vehicle comes standard with a polycarbonate dual-wing rear spoiler.

1987: The Mustang is heavily restyled, with a new “aero-look” body and revised instrument panel that would influence future models. Control buttons are placed conveniently on the steering wheel. GTs sport a longer hood, new grille and aero headlamps.

1992: The Mach III concept car is introduced. It has carbon fiber body panels sculpted to recreate a long hood, short rear deck and grille-mounted running horse, dual cockpit and three-spoke steering wheel: reminders of the 1965 original. The rounded rear end carries two sets of triple tail lenses.

1993: Ford’s Special Vehicle Team (SVT) introduces the Cobra. The hot hatchback is developed with an undeniable GT interior and modest exterior performance upgrades. It features a special grille opening with a unique running horse. The limited-edition 1993 Cobra R sells out prior to production.

1994: Mustang is dramatically restyled to evoke the model’s heritage and performance tradition. Thoroughly modernized with smooth and wedged lines, fully 1,330 of the vehicle’s 1,850 parts are changed. The hatchback body style is dropped, leaving the two-door coupe and convertible.

1999: For 1999, Mustang has a sweeping hood, side scoops and short rear deck that recall the past, while crisp, beveled surfaces invite new interpretation.

2001: Building on the success and history of limited-edition Mustangs, the Mustang Bullitt GT is introduced. Unique side scoops, 17-inch Bullitt-style aluminum wheels and a lowered suspension are specially tuned for the car. Rocker-panel moldings enhance the low-to-the-ground appearance. A bold, brushed aluminum fuel filler door is prominently placed on the quarter panel.

2002: The new Mach 1 is introduced. The car features the return of the “shaker” scoop, a redesigned “comfortweave” interior, heritage wheels and an extended black air dam and spoiler.

2005:  Ford returns with a remake of an old classic

2012: The legacy continues…


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