Ford Mustang 40th Anniversary: Fast Facts
We pony up with some memorable stats
By John Kiewicz
Photography by the author & Scott Mead
Nobody wants to be a Mustang nincompoop. Armed with a few key Mustang morsels of wisdom, you can amaze your friends, gather approving nods, and score valuable "gotcha" points at the next Mustang club picnic. For instance, Ford never officially sold a 19641/2 Mustang. There were early 1965s, delivered from April through August of 1964, and late 1965s sold afterwards. All first-year Mustangs were registered and titled as 1965 models. Now, here's a few more Mustang factoids bound to earn you benchracing kudos.
•While Chevrolet played up the fact that NASA astronauts drove Corvettes, Ford wins as numerous presidents have owned/driven Mustangs. During his tenure, Bill Clinton owned a 1967 Mustang convertible with an inline-six-cylinder. Hey, Bill: Why no V-8?
•The 1996 Mustang Cobra was the first production vehicle in history to make use of color-shifting paint. The color was called Mystic.
•Mustang holds the title of having the most clubs (more than 250) of any vehicle marque.
Quickest mustang (race car)
John Force blasted his Ford Mustang funny car to an amazing 4.72-second quarter-mile pass during the 2003 NHRA Sears Craftsman Nationals. Too bad it's powered by a Chrysler Hemi-style engine.
Quickest Mustang (factory stock)
In 2003, Motor Trend hustled a 2003 Mustang SVT Cobra to a 12.84 at 113.18 mph on stock radials. A few years earlier we ran a 2000 Mustang SVT Cobra R to a nearly identical 12.88 at 112.77 mph.
SVT supercharged V-8
Fastest Mustang (race car)
At 327.43 mph, Force teammate Gary Densham is the guy who's piloted the fastest Mustang funny car in history.
Fastest Stock Mustang(factory stock)
In 2003, we circled the high-bank five-mile oval at Ford's Desert Proving Grounds in a 2003 Mustang Cobra to record a 159-mph run. With the supercharged 4.6-liter V-8 still pulling hard, the Cobra's electronic speed limiter kicked in and halted the fun.
Fastest Land-Speed Mustang
During the 1997 Bonneville Speed Trials, Bill Wideman piloted his "Old Muscle" 1966 Mustang fastback to a two-way average of 233.529 mph as he skimmed across the hard-packed salt. The car made use of an 875-horsepower 302-cube V-8 fed by a pair of turbochargers.
Total Mustang Sales
As of the end of the 2003 model year, Ford has produced 7,745,907 Mustangs.
Most Popular Mustang Trim Level
Would you guess the "El Strippo" Mustang is the best-selling trim level? The most-popular year for base trim is 1966 with a total of 422,416 Mustang coupes (fit with standard interior) sold.
Most Famous Mustang
While some may argue that the early 1965 Mustang is the most well-known (it started the craze), most gearheads will likely agree that Steve McQueen's green 1968 Mustang GT featured in the classic film "Bullitt" takes top honors.
Winningest Mustang of All Time
With 44 wins (as of the end of the 2003 NHRA season), John Force holds the title of the winningest Mustang. However, after countless bashes, crashes, and explosions, it's debatable if his Mustang has remained the same car--likely not. Thus, SCCA Trans-Am road racer Tommy Kendall's Mustang may hold the record with 11 consecutive wins during the 1997 season.
Applying old-style SAE gross ratings, the 1969/1970 Mustang Boss 429 and 1971 Mustang Super Cobra Jet 429 produced an advertised (yet likely underrated) 375 horsepower. The tuner 1967 Shelby GT500 had an optional side-oiler V-8 that produced an advertised 425 SAE gross horsepower. Applying modern SAE net ratings, the 2003-2004 Mustang SVT Cobra wins the power game with 390 horsepower from its supercharged 4.6-liter DOHC V-8.
The gas crunch of the 1970s hit hard, choking horsepower, with the most dismal example being the 2.3-liter I-4 with 88 horsepower. It was fitted as the base engine in many Mustang models from 1974 through 1986.