The Evolution of the Ford Mustang
The Ford Mustang is one of the most iconic cars in American automotive history. It was beloved by many from the very beginning, selling 22,000 cars on the first day it was introduced.
The Mustang has undergone nine generations since it was first unveiled over 50 years ago. It has changed dramatically over the years, but its popularity prominent.
Ford Mustang Evolution Timeline
First generation (1964–1966) – The first production model, the Mustang 1964 1/2, was the sleekest vehicle on the market. It was initially offered as either a notchback coupe or a convertible. Modeled after the Falcon, it had longer and lower proportions, stretching out to 181.6 inches. It was an instant hit, capturing the American imagination and an innovator for the “pony car” style cars that would follow.
Second generation (1967–1968) – With the introduction of the Chevy Camaro, the Pontiac Firebird, the Plymouth Barracuda, and the Mercury Cougar, Ford now had some serious competition on its hands. Ford’s response was the 1967 Mustang, a slightly larger model with more exaggerated styling features. It was a better car in almost every way, and sold very well despite the new competition.
Third generation (1969–1970) – Even larger than the second-generation Mustangs, the 1969 Mustang also had very different styling features, with four headlights, a sharper nose, and a more simple grill. Two new luxury varieties of Mustang were introduced: the Grande and the Mach 1. Two varieties of Boss Mustangs, introduced during the middle of the model run, were built for racing. In 1970, Ford changed the style again, reverting back to two headlights and adding fake scoops to the front of the grill.
Fourth generation (1971–1973) – The 1971 Mustang was among some of the more unpopular models of Mustangs, only 149,674 were ever produced. The 1972 and 1973 models were not much better, and by 1974 it was time for Ford to rethink the Mustang.
Fifth generation (1974–1978) – The Mustang II, Ford’s answer to the fourth generation Mustangs, is nearly universally critiqued by car enthusiasts. Despite this, it sold remarkably well. Much smaller than the previous Mustangs, it returned to some of the traditional styling cues like the scalloped sides, but overall was less powerful than previous models.
Sixth generation (1979–1993) – The 1979 Mustang represented a huge stylistic departure from previous Mustangs, being much more angular and with no side scallops. This style of the Mustang remained in production for fifteen years and is considered to be the most successful generation of Mustangs.
Seventh generation (1994–1998) – By this time the Mustang was an international icon. In 1994 Ford reintroduced many styling features that had graced past generations of Mustangs—a galloping horse on the grill, side scallops, and taillights split into three segments. Seventh generation Mustangs were only available in two body styles: a two-door coupe and a convertible.
Eighth generation (1999–2004) – The eighth generation Mustang had a lot common with the seventh. In fact, very little changed stylistically. What was most different was the engine, which got a significant upgrade to its horsepower.
Ninth generation (2005–present) – Modern Mustangs are reminiscent stylistically in many ways with the first generations of Mustang. They continue to be popular cars, with many improvements planned over the coming years.
2017 and Beyond
The promising 2017 Mustang is looking to be one of the best Mustangs yet, with many of the same styling features that made the 2016 model so appealing to consumers. The potential reintroduction of the GT500 is cause for celebration.
Base model fastbacks and convertibles will have a 3.7-litre V-6 with 300 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. Ecoboost models will have 2.3-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engines (310 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque) and GTs will have a 5.0-litre V-8 (435 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque).
Each engine comes in with a 6-speed manual transmission or an automatic option. The GT350 (5.2-litre V-8, 529 horsepower, 429 pound-feet of torque) will be available with a manual transmission only. If the GT500 is to be reintroduced as rumoured, it will feature a twin-turbocharged 5.0-litre V-8 with over 700 horsepower.
Though it has undergone many changes over the years, the Ford Mustang is still going strong even today. No matter what the future holds , the Ford Mustang will always have a place in the hearts and imaginations of car enthusiasts and consumers alike.