In the contemporary world, the Ford Mustang is ranked among the models that have been performing relatively well in the market. The first production of this model was done in 1964 and the first generation was produced from then till 1973. This article explores the first generation Ford Mustang that underwent several upgrades before the Ford Mustang II took over.
Background and History
When the first Ford Mustang was produced in 1964 and availed for retail as a 1965 model, a new category of cars was created. This class was known as pony cars and the Mustang was one of them. It was characterized by a long hood and a short deck. The model was a project that was under the leadership of chief engineer Donald Frey. It was crafted using the Ford Mustang concept that had been developed earlier. The designers were thus faced with the challenge of developing a car design that would accommodate four passengers in bucket type seats and one that weighed 2,500 pounds or less. The design would also have a shifter that would be mounted on the floor, offer optimal luxury and comfort, have a total length of 180 inches or less, and retail at less than USD 2,500. The engineers and designers took a week to design this model that boasted of a Ferrari-like front end that enhanced the sporty appearance. they believed that the design would entice both men and women into buying the model. So as to reduce the production costs, the model would borrow much from the Ford Falcon that was already in the market. The Mustang, therefore, used the same suspension, chassis, and drivetrain components. The platform that was used was also similar in both the models so they had the same length. Nonetheless, the two had notable differences among them a shorter wheelbase, wider track, less height and lower seating positions in the Mustang compared to the Falcon. The Ford Mustang measured 68.2 inches in width and had a gross weight of about 2,570 pounds. a straight 6 cylinder engine was the power drive in the model. Over the years, the First generation underwent refreshments that were aimed at improving its looks and output as well as increasing the sales. Each of the refreshed models had unique elements that will be discussed in the subsequent parts. Before that, the very first production (before any upgrades), will be analyzed.
The Very First Ford Mustang
The first Ford Mustang, as earlier highlighted, was produced between 1964 and 1966. It was released into the market as a 1965 model. The model was assembled at different points that included Dearborn in Michigan, Mexico City, Valencia in Venezuela, San Jose in California and Metuchen in New Jersey. The model was introduced into the market about 5 months before Ford’s production year, so it was known to many people as the 19641/2 model. It was produced alongside other models like Ford Falcon and Mercury Comet. They styling of this model was a 2door hardtop or convertible that was introduced into the market on April 17, 1964, during the World’s Fair. It had a wheelbase of 108 inches and measured 181.6 inches length, 68.2 inches width, 51.2 inches height and a curb weight of 1,445 pounds. The hardtop model was low-end and it employed the U-Code 170 cu in straight 6 cylinder engine. This model operated using a 3-speed manual engine. In the model, the standard features included black seat belts at the front seats, a padded dashboard, and a glove box light.
The first changes on the first generation Ford Mustang were made in 1965 during the initial months of the production year leading to a model that was referred to as the “Late 1965s.” The first modification was in the powertrain where a T-Code 200 cu in engine was employed. It had the capacity to produce 120 horsepower. Furthermore, the F-Code 260 cu engine that had earlier on been used was stopped and replaced by the C-Code 289 cu in engine that has two barrel carburetor. This replacement produced up to 220 horsepower. During the same period, the A-Code and K-Code engines that produced 225 and 271 horsepower respectively were developed. The Mustang GT was introduced during this period as well and it had a V8 engine. The GT equipment package comprised oil pressure gauge, grille mounted fog lamps, disc brakes, speedometer, and fuel and temperature gauge. In both the models (convertible and hardtop), four barrel carbureted engines were availed. The same was also availed for the newly developed fastback that was known as the Ford Shelby Mustang that has a swept-back rear glass and unique ventilation louvers. Inside the 1965 model, there were an adjustable driver seat, Am radio, bucket seats for the passengers and different floor options. The interior has embossed running ponies, a circular gauge cluster, sun visors, bench seat and wood appliques. For the V8, the top speed was 60mph and the mileage was 20.93mpg. The fuel utilization of this model was commendable at that time. In 1966, other minor refreshments were made on the model including a new grille, gas cap, wheel covers and side decorations. Additionally, the C-4 “cruise-omatic” engine that was 3 speed automatic and could produce 225 horsepower was availed in the V8. The model also featured a variety of interior color options, 8 track sound system, and AM/Fm radio. The features that were optional in the previous edition were made the standard, for example, sun visors, and circular gauges.
In 1967 the refreshment that was done was major and the manufacturer considered it the first redesign of the initial model. The primary difference was that it was larger in size to accommodate the V8 engine. Its exterior, interior and luggage space were increased in size. On the exterior, concave taillights and side scoops were used in 1967 and chrome was applied in 1968 model that also featured square mirrors at the rear and new wheels and gas caps. The 1967 model featured new deluxe interior styling that included new door panels, brushed aluminum, and different color options. The pony styling was not used anymore. The 335 horsepower 390 cu in FE engine was used from the Thunderbird family. Additionally, a 390 GT engine with 4-speed manual transmission was used with the top speed being 105mph. The 1968 edition featured standard shoulder seatbelts, air conditioning, an updated stereo system and a unique center console. The Raly-Pac was also eliminated.
From July 1968 to June 1970, other updates were made. The 1969 model that was produced in 1968 was longer by 3.8 inches although the wheelbase remained unaltered. The width increased by half an inch and the curb weight increased too. In this model, there were quad headlamps that were mounted on the grille opening. The side panels were also convex instead of concave as in the earlier productions. At this point, the name fastback was replaced with the SportsRoof edition. Additionally, the 1969 model saw the Mach I invention that incorporated revamped performance and styling, for example, the gas cap and dual exhausts. A limited edition of the E class with a high mileage was also produced in this year. The V8 engines continued to be used but were revised to offer improved performance. Other introductions included the 250 cu in I6 engine that produced 155 horsepower. The 1970 edition was less aggressive than was the 1969 model. It had single headlamps and other exterior elements were simplified.
Between 1971 and 1973, other upgrades were made. The 1971 edition premiered in September 1970 and was 3 inches larger in width to accommodate the large 429 cu in V8 engine. It was produced in the SportsRoof, Hardtop, and Convertible styling types. The hardtop had flowing rear pillars, a tunnel back window at the rear, Grande badges and a vinyl roof top. On the other hand, the convertible had a rear glass window and a power top. In 1972, stricter emission rules were made so the 251cu in engines had to be used. In this edition, the outer parts of the car remained unaltered. Inside, however, there were seat belts that used the fastening technology and different upholstery colors. In 1973, mild restyling was done with the front bumper being reshaped and resized to meet the set standards. The model also had revised lamps. The 1973 edition was the last production of the pony cars that were succeeded by the Mustang II that was pinto-based.
Prices and Sales
The initial Ford Mustang with a hardtop body styling had a retail price of USD 2,368. During the year (1964), 121,538 units were produced. The 1965 model was pricier compared to the preceding one. Its price varied depending on the engine used and the optional equipment to be installed, for example, the Raly-Pac devices. 559,451 units were produced during that year. The 1966 edition was a better performer and attracted more buyers. It was ranked as the top-selling convertible model during that year when 72,119 units were sold. During that year, 607,568 Ford Mustang units were produced. The following years saw 472,121, 317,404, 299,824, 190,727,149,678, 125,903 and 134,867 units being produced from 1967 to 1973 respectively. in 1969, the production of the Mustang GT was stopped due to poor sales because the Mach I had caught the interest of many customers. The simplification of the 1970 model caused reduced sales because people felt that it was less attractive than the 1969 model. From 1971 to 1973, the sales increased gradually.