On April 17, 1964, the Ford Motor Company introduced a new model at the New York Auto Show. The small, sporty two door coupe and convertible models came to define an entirely new segment of automobiles called Pony Cars". The segment name came from the name Ford marketing chose for their new vehicle, The Mustang.
The Mustang was sold as a 1965 model despite being offered before the normal model year change in the late Autumn. The cars manufactured before September 1964 are now referred to a '64 ½ models and there are differences between them and later 1965 models. The first Mustangs made were powered by either a 120 CID inline six, a 260 CID V-8 or a 289 CID V-8 with a four-barrel carburetor. The transmissions offered were a four-speed manual or three-speed automatic. The electrical systems were driven by generators.
In September the engine choices changed to a 200 CID six and a 289 V-8 with either a two barrel or four barrel carburetor. Later, Ford's high performance division produced a high output version of the 289. With solid valve lifters and a high-lift cam, these little speedsters put out 271 horsepower versus 210 for the two barrel model or 225 for the four barrel. Another body choice was also offered in September 1964, a fastback coupe with a silhouette similar to the Chevrolet Corvette or Jaguar XK coupe.
FoMoCo hadn't planned on the success of their pony car, figuring that the car would sell about 100,000 models in the first year. That number was sold out in three months and Ford had to scramble to divert other manufacturing space to the Mustang. In eighteen months, Ford sold more than 1 million Mustangs, the best selling automobile of all time for that period of time.
Today, the Mustang is the only pony car to have remained in production without interruption since its inception. It has sold more units than any other car of its type in history and is still a "hot" seller.
The current iteration of the Mustang has grown heavier, more powerful and much more luxurious, but it has remained true to its roots; a small, sporty car with a long hood and short rear deck. The six cylinder engine offered now produces more than 300 horsepower and the V-8s range from 411 to more than 550 horses.
The Ford Mustang had "more bang for the buck" than any other pony car on the road in the 1960s and it still has today.
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