THE FORD MUSTANG’S EVOLUTION: SIX GENERATIONS AND BEYOND
From 1964 to the present day, the Ford Mustang history is replete with an incredible lineup of high-performance vehicles. Let’s take a journey through Ford Mustang history, cruising through the numerous Mustang generations to explore how this beloved car was envisioned in the beginning and how it may appear in the future.
FORD MUSTANG’S FIRST GENERATION:
1964 – 1973
When the first Ford Mustang rolled off the assembly line in the mid-1960s, it immediately became a best-seller, selling more than 400,000 units in its first year. Over the next decade, more than one million of these automobiles were produced. The Ford Mustang was priced at $2,368 when it was unveiled by Henry Ford at the New York World’s Fair. James Bond’s Goldfinger featured the first Mustang. In 1967, the Fastback body design was modified, and a 1968 version was featured in Steve McQueen’s film Bullitt.
In 1969, Ford redesigned the Mustang’s body, making it larger than the preceding generation. They also introduced new trim and performance packages in 1969 and 1970, including the Mach 1 and the Boss. Mustangs from 1969 and 1970 are highly sought after by collectors. Known as a “pony car,” the Mustang ushered in a new age of automobiles that spawned a slew of knockoffs. By 1971, however, the Mustang’s redesigns had become bigger and significantly different from the originals, compelling Ford to reconsider their popular vehicle.
FORD MUSTANG SECOND GENERATION:
1974 – 1978
Ford redesigned the revolutionary Mustang for the masses a decade after it was debuted to the world. The “Pintostang” – a Mustang design based on the Pinto platform — represented the second generation of classic Mustang history when it was introduced in 1974. The Mustang II was marketed as a “upscale economy automobile” in contrast to the first generation’s “working man’s Thunderbird.” These automobiles were more compact yet significantly more fuel-efficient. This generation of Ford Mustangs was also the shortest.
With a four-cylinder engine, the Mustang II was an instant success, selling nearly as many units as the first generation’s debut year. It was named Motor Trend’s Car of the Year, an honor the Mustang would not repeat for almost two decades. The showy Cobra II and King Cobra Mustangs were later created by Ford. Although the Mustang II met shifting market demands, Ford enthusiasts lamented the absence of the original Mustang’s characteristics, which Ford rapidly addressed.
The front suspension was one of the best outcomes of this revision. This compact independent front suspension, with its tubular a-arms, coil springs, and rack-and-pinion steering, was soon accepted by the hot rod community and is often imitated today.
FORD MUSTANG THIRD GENERATION:
1979 – 1993
The third generation of Mustangs is the longest in Ford Mustang history. The Fox Body Mustang, introduced in 1979, combined a revolutionary look with a return to form. This Mustang used the same Fox platform as the Mercury Zephyr and Ford Fairmont and featured a variety of engine options ranging from an inline-four to a V8. It maintained the previous model’s long hood and short back deck but added rectangular headlamps and a European-inspired styling.
In 1983, the Mustang’s power, performance, and flair were further enhanced by the addition of a turbocharged engine and a new convertible design. By the late 1980s, Ford had begun producing the Ford Mustang SSP specifically for law enforcement use. Thankfully, they introduced a high-performance vehicle for civilians in 1993 called the Ford SVT Mustang Cobra.
FORD MUSTANG FOURTH GENERATION:
1994 – 2004
Ford wants to commemorate the original Mustang’s 30th anniversary with a new range of cars in 1994. Ford introduced the new SN-95 Mustang as a tribute to previous Mustang versions. Again, consumers want a more recognized Mustang, so Ford equipped the SN-95 with first generation-style amenities such as a twin-cowl dashboard. The exterior, on the other hand, sported a more contemporary shape that was broader and stiffer. The 1994 and 1996 models had modular V8 engines measuring 5.0 liters and 4.6 liters, respectively.
The 1994 Mustang GT carved another victory into Ford Mustang history by winning Motor Trend’s Car of the Year award for the second consecutive year. The GT could go from 0 to 60 mph in approximately six seconds and was responsible for a number of specific upgrades. The SVT Cobra and Bullitt were succeeded by Ford’s “New Edge” style in 1999, allowing the Mustang to sprint into the Millennium in a league of its own.
FORD MUSTANG FIFTH GENERATION:
2005 – 2014
After a decade of success with the fourth generation of the Ford Mustang, the world was ready for yet another variation of the legendary automobile in 2005. With a nod to legendary Mustang history, Ford built their latest models on a D2C platform that mirrored the first generation car’s styling. The fifth generation of the Mustang was a smashing success, inspiring other automakers to revive their legendary models. Once again, the Ford Mustang established the standard for the industry.
Along with the introduction of a brand-new Mustang, the fifth generation brought back an old favorite: the Shelby Mustang. The Shelby GT500 Mustang and GT500KR Mustang are equipped with a 5.0-liter engine that produces 662 horsepower. Additionally, Ford produced a fifth-generation Bullitt based on the 1968 classic.
FORD MUSTANG SIXTH GENERATION:
2015 – PRESENT
Modern Mustangs are more than automobiles. It is the result of the last half-effort, century’s inventiveness, and innovation. Ford launched the 2015 Mustang to commemorate the legendary car’s 50th anniversary. This sixth-generation vehicle is powered by a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine and has been awarded a 5-star safety certification by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Additionally, the new Shelby GT500 became the most popular Shelby ever built.
What’s next in the Ford Mustang’s illustrious history? The seventh generation is scheduled to arrive in 2022, and while there are no official specifics on the body style or engine, the speculations we’ve heard have already sent us into overdrive. The S650, which is scheduled to debut in 2022 for the 2023 model year, is expected to include a hybrid all-wheel-drive system with electric motors on each front wheel and a V8 engine capable of delivering excellent low-end torque.