The term Pony Car was literally invented for the Mustang. Its impact on American culture in the 60s can’t be overrated. Let’s check out a few of its secrets. Ford staged an introduction for the Mustang like no other car ever had. It was featured on a TV special, was a centerpiece at the 1964 Worlds Fair in NY and played a supporting role in the hot new James Bond movie.
Ford didn’t always have a better idea
In the late 1960s Ford used the slogan “Ford has a better idea” in its advertising. While it may have actually been true, it certainly couldn’t be applied to several concepts of the Mustang created prior to the public introduction. One was a mini station wagon or “shooting break” if you prefer, which was produced by Intermeccanica, then an Italian coachbuilder and now a Canadian purveyor of fiberglass Porsche 356 replicas. Another was the sedan you see below, which not only sucks the life out of the Mustang design, it might have been enough of a drag on the image of the line that it might have killed the entire line. Making taking a pass on the four door was their better idea.
The disappearance of Mustang 100001
Mustang serial # 100001 has been on display at The Henry Ford museum since 1966. The car was built for display only, but was inadvertently invoiced to a dealer in Newfoundland. The dealer sold the car to an airline pilot on April 17, 1964. Ford learned of the sale and tried to buy back the car, but the pilot refused.
Two years later, Ford approached the pilot, this time offering to trade him the 1 millionth Mustang off the line for his car. He accepted. Ford historians consider Mustang 100001 as the closest to the first Mustang that has been discovered. Even though it may not have been the first car off the line when production started on March 9, 1964, it likely was not far behind.
The very first Mustang sold to a human being
Gail Wise, then a 22 year old recent college graduate and own the first Ford Mustang ever purchased. She bought it in 1964 two days before 1964.5 Mustangs were supposed to on sale, and driving it room stopped traffic as drivers and pedestrians strained to get a better look. After being parked in the garage for 27 years her husband Tom finally got around to restoring it.
What a deal!
The list price for a 1965 Mustang was $2,320.96 – or about $16,800 when adjusted for inflation. Of course today’s cars are much safer with crumple zones, anti-lock brakes, and airbags in every nook and cranny, and today’s most powerful engines emit fewer hydrocarbons into the atmosphere than even the base straight six-cylinder engine.
Four motors, lots of horses
Right from the start, Ford offered buyers a choice of four different engines in the 1964.5 model year. Base was the 170 CID 101 hp straight-6 cylinder engine, a 260 V8 producing 164 horsepower with a two-barrel, a 210 horsepower 289 V-8, and beginning in June, the powerful K-Code 4 barrel carb, solid lifter, 289 CID 271 hp V-8 engine.
First Generation Mustangs in the movies, Part One
The Mustang made its cinematic debut in the 1964 James
First Generation Mustangs in the movies, Part Two
Director Peter Yates emphasis on realism drove the chase scene in the motion picture Bullitt to movie greatness – right down to the soundtrack. Rather than relying on music to support the action, during the 9+ minute car chase, Yates elected to showcase the throaty roar of the Ford 390 V8 engine, rapid-fire up and down shifts, and squealing bias-ply tires. The natural sound captured during the filming of this iconic action scene helped earn the film an Academy Award nomination for Best Sound, perhaps the first and last generated by the sounds of a muscle car.
Bond film Goldfinger. In exchange for the publicity, the Ford Motor Company donated a Lincoln Continental to be destroyed in the film’s famous car compactor scene. (Trivia tip: even though the Lincoln weighs over two tons the Ranchero remains level when the crushed car is loaded into the bed).