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Discussion Starter #1
Four Decades Of Ponycars

By Editors of Motor Trend
Photography by George Bartell

In the Beginning
It was as unlikely an inspiration as any--circa 1961, Ford Division General Manager Lee Iacocca jealously eyed healthy sales of a sporty version of archrival Chevrolet's rear-engine Corvair. The Corvair Monza offered bucket seats, a floor shift, and clean Euro-inspired design. And the Chevrolet was attracting a new kind of buyer, one looking for something distinctively styled, small, maneuverable, and fun to drive. Ford had nothing like it.

As the 1960s dawned, the demographics of America were changing rapidly. The surging Baby-Boom generation, born into the optimism and rising expectations following World War II, was approaching its car-buying years. Social mores and attitudes were changing, moving away from the pragmatic conservatism of the 1930s' Great Depression and the sacrifices of a world war.

Ford needed new product to satisfy this thirst for a vehicle in tune with a more youthful lifestyle. Such a product could be targeted at four diverse market niches: the sporty set seeking a hot set of wheels; young buyers with very little to spend; women seeking easy-to-drive, easy-to-maintain transportation; and two-car households with some extra discretionary cash to spend.

Easier said than done.

Looking for that certain something, Iacocca directed his product planners to develop a "Special Falcon," a fun-to-drive, stylish car that would weigh 2500 pounds and sell for $2500. Simultaneously, Iacocca suggested a design contest for a new four-seater car, involving teams from Ford, Lincoln-Mercury, and advanced Corporate studios. A rendering by one Gale Halderman--showing a long hood, short deck, and sharply chiseled lines--caught everyone's eye. Planners figured out how to package Falcon and Fairlane mechanical components into the car's new proportions. A number of names were considered for the new car, including Puma, Cougar, Torino, and Bronco. Eventually the Mustang moniker won out, and the car's galloping-horse logo was developed from Frederic Remington's "Great Pictures of the Old West."

The company was still reeling from the embarrassment of the Edsel. But the compact Falcon and intermediate Fairlane sedans had been successful in opening new segments to buyers wanting more sober Fords of a smaller size. Could there be another mass segment out there based on fun and lifestyle?

Ford knew it had something when it got the results of consumer clinics on the proposed car. Based on the distinctive, almost Continental design, many thought the car would cost two or three times as much as what Ford had in mind. When told of its under-$2500 pricetag, potential buyers were ecstatic. Equally ecstatic were the Ford brass when the new Mustang went on sale April 17, 1964. An estimated four million people went to dealerships the next week to get a look at the new car. At a price of $2368 FOB Detroit, the car simply exceeded buyer expectations. Ford moved 70,000 Mustangs that first month, more than the Thunderbird sold in its first three years. A sign in a New York City diner at the time read, "Our hotcakes sell like Mustangs." Dealers sold 418,812 Mustangs in the first 12 months and an incredible 542,000 in the entire model run extending from April 1964 to September 1965.

Competitors rushed to market. Within a few years, the Mustang was joined by the Chevrolet Camaro, Pontiac Firebird, Mercury Cougar, AMC Javelin, Dodge Challenger, and Plymouth Barracuda. Auto writers even coined a new name derived from the Mustang for this new genre of uniquely American sporty compacts with a long hood, short deck, bucket seats, and V-8 power: the ponycar.

Over the ensuing decades, the Mustang changed with the times. Ford's ponycar rose to heady heights of raw performance in the late 1960s, got fat, dumb, and happy in the Dacron/polyester early 1970s, was recast as a subcompact, fuel-stingy personal coupe in the mid-1970s, and got reborn as a coupe spun off a midsize sedan in the early 1980s. As modern electronics and construction techniques improved in the 1990s, the Mustang became faster and cleaner and regained much of its fun-to-drive attitude.

The other ponycars have all faded away, buyers siphoned off by imports, sport/utilities, and sport sedans. Yet the Mustang has remained focused and viable. More than eight million have been sold over four decades. With the introduction of an all-new fourth-generation Mustang for 2005, it looks as though Ford's ponycar is galloping on.

7,859 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Ford Mustang 40th Anniversary: Futurama
What will the Mustang be like in another 40 years?

By Kim Reynolds
Motor Trend

Your guess is probably as good as ours, but if this unusually early report from the 2044 North American Auto Show is to be believed, it could be worth the wait. For long-time fans of the Ford Motor Company, it was a poignant moment: After being gingerly lifted on stage, 86-year-old Bill Ford, chairman emeritus of the legendary automaker, slowly pulled away a white sheet emblazoned with the familiar logo of the galloping horse. As the elderly Ford tugged, caught his breath, and tugged some more, there appeared what we were all waiting for: the glistening 2044 Mustang. An "ooh" went up from the thousand or so journalists on hand in unison with the flashing teleprompter.

Overhead, a large hologram blinked to life to explain what makes this latest Mustang tick. Although still based on the lackluster DNA of the old 2038 Falcon hydrogen-fuel-cell car, the new Mustang will offer plenty to interest the enthusiast. For starters, its exterior and interior are now microscopically identical to the very first 1964 example off the line, right down to the coordinates of that car's orange-peel paint dimples, marking a new standard in the ultra-retro-realism that's so popular today.

Yet underhood, the new Mustang will have what it takes--yep, eight meaty vibration oscillators to give that delicious quake of dynamic imbalance. Not enough? Steve Saleen, whose hologram suddenly stepped into the presentation (spooking Mr. Ford, who's not accustomed to today's irritating holographic spams), promised aftermarket oscillators with twice the shaking mass. No less tantalizing are the 2000psi vertical jacks located in the Mustang's hindquarters that release an unpredictable jolt as you pass over road irregularities--what's a Mustang without a live rear axle? For those who prefer the refinement of independent suspension, the jack software can be uninstalled for a small additional charge.

Naturally, the Mustang will deliver the goods in the acceleration department. Just stir the meaty shifter into any slot (nobody remembers how these things work anyway), tramp your right foot on the acceleration potentiometer, and pop the "clutch" (note to research librarian: please determine what this pedal once did.--Ed). Instantly, the cabin is filled with the artificial odor of burning rubber, together with recorded tire squeals and engine roar, courtesy of the 2032 National Car Noise Preservation Act and the Library of Congress Presented by Bose. Simultaneously, the plasma windshield display digitally zooms your view into middle distance as suction cups in the seat back vacuum your torso rearward. What a ride! Additionally, a little birdie from the Blue Oval has confirmed that the bugs have been worked out of the long-rumored Ford/Mayo Clinic technology that can compress your brain against the back of your skull during acceleration. And here we thought this was only journalistic exaggeration. The price? After you factor in all the rebates, you'll pocket upward of $3000 on the purchase of a 2044 Mustang (Ford nevertheless expects a handsome return from its in-dash Starbucks and Krispy Kreme dispenser franchises).

7,859 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Ford Mustang 40th Anniversary: Fast Facts
We pony up with some memorable stats

By John Kiewicz
Photography by the author & Scott Mead
Motor Trend

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.

Best-Selling Mustang
1966 Mustang--549,436

Worst-Selling Mustang
1991 Mustang--80,247

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.

Highest-Horsepower Mustang
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.

Lowest-Horsepower Mustang
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.

7,859 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Ford Mustang 40th Anniversary: Movie Screen Savers
Mustangs are a driving force in film and TV

By Editors of Motor Trend
Photography by Motor Trend archives
Motor Trend

Proof positive that the Mustang has become ingrained in popular American culture is its not-too-infrequent appearances in films and television. Its paint may still have been drying when the ponycar made its first appearance in the James Bond thriller "Goldfinger" in 1964. After some gunplay and fancy driving, the 1965 Mustang convertible's tires got shredded in an encounter with Bond's Aston Martin DB-5. Mustangs showed up in more Bond films, "Thunderball" in 1965 and "Diamonds Are Forever" in 1971.

The ne plus ultra Mustang performance has to be the 10-minute car chase in the 1968 police thriller "Bullitt." Although the script may be forgettable, the slam-bang chase through the streets of San Francisco is a nail-biter as Steve McQueen, behind the wheel of an often-airborne 1968 Mustang GT, chases the bad guys in a 1968 Dodge Charger at speeds up to 110 mph.

More recently, a 1967 Shelby GT500 fastback look-alike has featured prominently as Nicolas Cage's ride in the 2000 remake of the sheetmetal-shredding, car-theft action enduro, "Gone in 60 Seconds."

"Hollywood Homicide," "Bull Durham," "Charlie's Angels," "Cape Fear," "2Fast 2Furious"...the list goes on. By our count, more than 200 films and television shows have featured Mustangs, not all of which were destroyed during filming. What's your favorite?

Above Image: Serial stalker Robert De Niro and a cleaned-up Nick Nolte parley astride a 1965 Mustang convertible in "Cape Fear" (1991).

Reformed car thief Nicolas Cage poses with his 1967 Shelby GT500-style getaway car in "Gone in 60 Seconds" (2000).

Susan Sarandon drops the top of her 1968 Shelby GT350 convertible to charm minor-league catcher Kevin Costner in "Bull Durham" (1988).

L.A. detectives Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett leap with guns drawn from a 2002 Saleen S281 in "Hollywood Homicide." (2002).

Steve McQueen and his 1968 Mustang GT get a jump on the bad guys in "Bullitt" (1968).
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