First-generation Ford Mustang

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First generation
ManufacturerFord Motor Company
Production1964–1973
AssemblyDearborn, Michigan
San Jose, California
Metuchen, New Jersey
Body style(s)2-door convertible
2-door hardtop
2-door fastback
LayoutFR layout
Engine(s)170 CID (2.8 L) Thriftpower I6
200 CID (3.3 L) Thriftpower I6
250 CID (4.1 L) Thriftpower I6
260 CID (4.3 L) Windsor V8
289 CID (4.7 L) Windsor V8
302 CID (4.9 L) Windsor V8
302 CID (4.9 L) Boss 302 V8
351 CID (5.8 L) Windsor V8
351 CID (5.8 L) Cleveland V8
351 CID (5.8 L) Boss V8
390 CID (6.4 L) FE V8
428 CID (7.0 L) Cobra Jet & Super Cobra Jet V8
429 CID (7.0 L) Boss V8
Transmission(s)3-speed manual
4-speed manual
2-speed automatic
3-speed automatic
Wheelbase108 inches (2,700 mm)
Length181.6 inches (4,610 mm)
Width68.2 inches (1,730 mm)
Curb weight2,570 pounds (1,170 kg) I-6
3,000 pounds (1,400 kg) V-8
RelatedFord Falcon
Mercury Cougar
Shelby Mustang
Main article: Ford Mustang

The first-generation Ford Mustang was a successful automobile developed, sold and manufactured by Ford Motor Company from 1964 until 1973. It was first conceived by Ford product manager Donald N. Frey and championed by Ford Division general manager Lee Iacocca.[1][2] The prototype was a two-seat, mid-engine roadster, which was later remodeled as a four-seat car designed by David Ash and John Oros at Ford's LincolnMercury Division design studios.[3]

To decrease development costs, the Mustang used chassis, suspension, and drivetrain components derived from the Ford Falcon and Fairlane. It used a unitized platform-type frame from the 1964 Falcon, and welded box-section side rails, including welded crossmembers. Although hardtop Mustangs accounted for the highest sales, durability problems with the new frame led to the engineering of a convertible first, which ensured adequate stiffness. Overall length of the Mustang and Falcon was identical, although the Mustang's wheelbase was slightly shorter. With an overall width of 68.2 inches (1,732 mm), it was 2.4 inches (61 mm) narrower, yet the wheel track was nearly identical. Shipping weight, approximately 2,570 pounds (1,170 kg) with the straight six-cylinder engine, was also similar to the Falcon. A fully-equipped V8 model weighed approximately 3,000 pounds (1,400 kg). Although most of the mechanical parts were from the Falcon, the Mustang's body was completely different; sporting a shorter wheelbase, wider track, lower seating position, and overall height. An industry first, the "torque box" was an innovative structural system that greatly stiffened the Mustang's construction and helped contribute to better handling.

1964–1966

1966 Ford Mustang coupe

Since it was introduced five months before the normal start of the production year and manufactured among 1964 Ford Falcons and 1964 Mercury Comets, the earliest Mustangs are widely referred to as the 1964½ model. A more accurate description is the "early 1965" model because it underwent significant changes at the beginning of the regular model year. All the early cars, however, were marketed by Ford as 1965 models. The low-end model hardtop used a 170 cu in (2.8 L) straight-6 engine and three-speed manual transmission and retailed for US$2,368.

Several changes to the Mustang occurred at the start of the normal 1965 model year production, five months after its introduction. These cars are known as "late 65's," and were built after factory retooling in August 1964. The engine lineup was changed, with a 200 cu in (3.3 L) engine that produced 120 hp (89 kW). Production of the 260 cu in (4.3 L) engine ceased when the 1964 model year ended. It was replaced with a new 200 hp (150 kW) 289 cu in (4.7 L) engine with a two-barrel carburetor as the base V8. A 225 hp (168 kW) four-barrel carbureted version was next in line, followed by the unchanged "Hi-Po" 271 hp (202 kW) 289. The DC electrical generator was replaced by a new AC alternator on all Fords (the quickest way to distinguish a 1964½ from a 1965 is to see if the alternator light on the dash says "GEN" or "ALT"). The now-famous Mustang GT was introduced as the "GT Equipment Package" and included a V8 engine (most often the 225 hp (168 kW) 289), grille-mounted fog lamps, rocker panel stripes, and disc brakes. A four-barrel carbureted engine was now available with any body style. Additionally, reverse lights were an option added to the car in 1965. The Mustang was originally available as either a hardtop or convertible, but during the car's early design phases a fastback model was strongly considered. The Mustang 2+2 fastback made its inaugural debut with its swept-back rear glass and distinctive ventilation louvers.

The standard interior features of the 1965 Mustang included adjustable driver and passenger bucket seats, an AM radio, and a floor mounted shifter in a variety of color options. Ford added additional interior options during the 1965 model year. The Interior Decor Group was popularly known as "Pony Interior" due to the addition of embossed running ponies on the seat fronts, and also included integral armrests, woodgrain appliqué accents, and a round gauge cluster that would replace the standard Falcon instrumentation. Also available were sun visors, a (mechanical) remote-operated mirror, a floor console, and a bench seat. Ford later offered an under-dash air-conditioning unit, and discontinued the vinyl with cloth insert seat option, offered only in early 1965 models.

The 1966 Mustang debuted with moderate trim changes including a new grille, side ornamentation, wheel covers and gas cap. An automatic transmission for the "Hi-Po," a large number of new paint and interior color options, an AM/eight-track sound system, and one of the first AM/FM monaural automobile radios were also offered. The 1966 Mustang removed the Falcon instrument cluster; the previously optional features, including the round gauges and padded sun visors, became standard equipment.

1966 Ford T-5 emblem

The 1965 and 1966 Mustangs are differentiated by variations in the exterior, despite similar design. These variations include the emblem on the quarter-panels behind the doors. In 1965 the emblem was a single vertical piece of chrome, while in 1966 the emblem was smaller in height and had three horizontal bars extending from the design, resembling an "E". The front intake grilles and ornaments were also different. The 1965 front grille used a "honeycomb" pattern, while the 1966 version was a "slotted" style. While both model years used the "Horse and Corral" emblem on the grille, the 1965 had four bars extending from each side of the corral, while on the 1966, these bars were removed.

When Ford began selling the Mustang in Germany, they discovered a company had already registered the name. The German company offered to sell the rights for US$10,000. Ford refused and removed the Mustang badge, instead naming it T-5 for the German market.

1967–1968

The 1967 model year Mustang was the first model to feature a major redesign with the installation of a big-block V8 engine. The overall size, interior and cargo space were increased. Exterior trim changes included concave taillights, side scoop (1967) and chrome (1968) side ornamentation, square rear-view mirrors, and usual yearly wheel and gas cap changes. The high-performance 289 option was placed behind the newer 320 hp (239 kW) 390 cu in (6.4 L) FE engine from the Ford Thunderbird, which was equipped with a four-barrel carburetor. Stock 390 4-speed manual transmission Mustangs were recorded quarter mile times of approximately 13 seconds and trap speeds of over 105 mph (169 km/h). During the mid-1968 model year, a drag racer for the street could be ordered with the optional 428 cu in (7 L) Cobra Jet engine which was officially rated at 335 hp (250 kW) all of these mustang were issued R codes on their vin#'s with the R standing for Racer.

The 1967 and 1968 models discontinued the "Pony Interior" in favor of a new deluxe interior package, which included special color options, brushed stainless steel (1967) or woodgrain (1968) trim, seat buttons, a tilt steering wheel, and special interior paneling. The 1968 models that were produced during 1968 were also the first year to incorporate 3 point lap belts as opposed to the standard lapbelts The air-conditioning option was fully integrated into the dash, the speakers and stereo were upgraded, and unique center and overhead consoles were options. The fastback model offered the option of a rear fold-down seat, and the convertible was available with folding glass windows.

The California Special Mustang, or GT/CS, was visually based on the Shelby model and was only sold in Western states. Its sister, the High Country Special, was sold in Denver, Colorado. While the GT/CS was only available as a coupé, the High Country Special model was available in fastback and convertible configurations in 1966 and 1967 and only as a coupé in 1968. The Mustang fastback gained popular culture status when used in the crime thriller Bullitt. Lt. Frank Bullitt, played by actor Steve McQueen, drove a modified green 1968 Mustang GT fastback (390ci, Toploader, 3.73 gears), chasing two hitmen in a black 1968 Dodge Charger in the film's car chase through the streets of San Francisco.


67' Engines

200cid 1V 6-cyl 120 hp U Code
289cid 2V V-8 200 hp C Code
289cid 4V V-8 225 hp A Code
289cid 4V V-8 271 hp K Code
390cid 4V V-8 320 hp S Code
428cid 4V V-8 335 hp Q Code

67' Base Prices
Convertible, standard $2,898
Coupe, standard $2,461
Fastback, standard $2,692
G.T. 350 $3,995
G.T. 500 $4,195

67' Production
Convertible, standard 38,751
Convertible, bench seat 1,209
Convertible, luxury 4,848
Coupe, standard 325,853
Coupe, bench seat 8,190
Coupe, luxury 22,228
Fastback, standard 53,651
Fastback, luxury 17,391

68' Engines
200cid 1V 6-cyl 120 hp T Code
289cid 2V V-8 195 hp C Code
302cid 2V V-8 210 hp F Code
302cid 4V V-8 230 hp J Code
390cid 4V V-8 325 hp S Code
428cid 4V V-8 335 hp Cobra Jet R Code

68' Base Prices
Convertible, standard $2,814
Coupe, standard $2,578
Fastback, standard $2,689
GT350 Convertible $4,238
GT500 Convertible $4,438
GT500KR Convertible $4,594
GT350 Fastback $4,116
GT500 Fastback $4,317
GT500KR Fastback $4,472

68' Production
Convertible, standard 22,037
Convertible, deluxe 3,339
Coupe, standard 233,472
Coupe, bench seats 6,113
Coupe, deluxe 9,009
Coupe, deluxe, bench seats 853
Fastback, standard 33,585
Fastback, bench seats 1,079
Fastback, deluxe 7,661
Fastback, deluxe, bench seats 256

1969–1970

1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 Special Edition

The 1969 restyle increased body length by 3.8 inches (97 mm) (with the wheelbase remaining at 108 inches) and width by almost half an inch. This was the first model to use quad headlamps placed inside and outside the grille opening. The corralled grille pony was replaced with the pony and tribars logo, set off-center to the drivers side.

It featured a 302 cu in (4.9 L) V8 engine with 220 hp (164 kW). The 351cid V-8 was introduced in 1969, and was available with 250 or 290 hp. For those wanting more power, the 335-hp 428cid Cobra Jet V-8 big block was available with or without Ram-Air. More than 80 percent of Mustangs in 1969 had V-8 engines.

The coupé was longer than previous models and sported convex rather than concave side panels. The new Mach 1, with a variety of new powerplants, added many car styling and performance features. It used dual exhausts and steel wheels with bold-lettered Goodyear Polyglas tires. Reflective striping was placed along the body sides, with a pop-off gas cap, matte-black hood with simulated air scoop and NASCAR-style cable and pin tiedowns. A functional "shaker" hood scoop which visibly vibrated by being attached directly to the air cleaner through a hole in the hood was available, as were a tail-mounted wing and chin spoilers and rear window louvered blackout shade. The Boss 302 Mustang was created for Trans Am rules, The Boss 429 was also offered with a larger engine.

The 1970 model moved the headlamps inside the grille opening, added vent looking front corners on the outside of the headlamps, and removed the rear fender air scoops. This Boss featured distinctive hockey-stick stripes, and Ford fielded a Trans Am series Boss 302 team which won the series and helped drive sales.

The 789 remaining 1969 Shelbys in Ford inventory after the model year were titled as 1970 models. These were modified to include a front air dam and a blackout point treatment around the outboard hood scoops.

Ford made 96 Twister Specials for Kansas Ford dealers in 1970. The Twister Specials were Grabber Orange Mach 1s with special decals. Ford also made a few Sidewinders, which were built in Dearborn, shipped to Omaha, and sold in Iowa and Nebraska. They were available in Grabber Green, Grabber Blue, Calypso Corral, and Yellow. The stripes came in the trunk and the dealers had the option of installing them on the car.


69' Engines

200cid 1V 6-cyl 115 hp T Code
250cid 1V 6-cyl 155 hp L Code
302cid 2V V-8 220 hp F Code
302cid 4V V-8 290 hp Boss G Code
351cid 2V V-8 250 hp H Code
351cid* 4V V-8 290 hp M Code
390cid 4V V-8 320 hp S Code
428cid 4V V-8 335 hp Cobra Jet Q Code
428cid* 4V V-8 335 hp Cobra Jet-R R Code
429cid 4V V-8 376 hp Boss Z Code

69' Base Prices
Convertible, standard $2,832
Coupe, standard $2,618
Grandé Coupe $2,849
Fastback, standard $2,618
Fastback, Mach 1 $3,122
GT350 Convertible $4,753
GT500 Convertible $5,027
GT350 Fastback $4,434
GT500 Fastback $4,709

69' Production
Convertible, standard 11,307
Convertible, deluxe 3,439
Coupe, standard 118,613
Coupe, bench seats 4,131
Coupe, deluxe 5,210
Coupe, deluxe, bench seats 504
Coupe, Grandé 22,182
Fastback, standard 56,022
Fastback, deluxe 5,958
Fastback, Mach 1 72,458
Boss 429 867
Boss 302 1,628


70' Engines
200cid 1V 6-cyl 120 hp T Code
250cid 2V V-8 155 hp L Code
302cid 2V V-8 220 hp F Code
302cid 4V V-8 290 hp Boss G Code
351cid 2V V-8 250 hp 351W & 351C H Code
428cid 4V V-8 300 hp M Code
428cid 4V V-8 335 hp Cobra Jet Q Code
428cid 4V V-8 335 hp Cobra Jet-R R Code
429cid 4V V-8 375 hp Boss Z Code

70' Base Prices
Convertible, standard $3,025
Coupe, standard $2,721
Coupe, Grandé, standard $2,926
Fastback, standard $2,771
Fastback, Mach 1, standard $3,271
Special, Boss 302 $3,720
Special, Boss 429 $4,928
GT350 Convertible $4,753
GT500 Convertible $5,027
GT350 Fastback $4,434
GT500 Fastback $4,709

70' Production
Convertible 7,673
Coupe 82,569
Coupe, Grandé 13,581
Fastback 45,934
Fastback, Mach 1 40,970
Special, Boss 302 7,013
Special, Boss 429 499

1971–1973

The Mustang became larger and heavier with each revision, culminating with the 1971 to 1973 models designed under the supervision of Ford's new product design manager, Semon "Bunkie" Knudsen, originally of General Motors. Knudsen's leadership saw the last high-performance big-block Mustang, 1971s 375 hp (280 kW) 429 Super Cobra Jet. The body style designed for the purpose of big-block installation versions was limited to a maximum of 351 cu in (5.8 L) in 1972 and 1973 due to stricter U.S. emission control regulation, as well as the low demand for big block muscle cars because of high insurance premiums. Two more high-performance engines were introduced in 1972; the 351 "HO" and the 351 Cobra Jet. Both versions were high performers for their era, but nowhere near the level of the Boss cars and original Cobra Jet. Automakers in the U.S. switched from "gross" to "net" power and torque ratings in 1972, which coincided with the introduction of low-compression engines with different, far more restrictive induction systems. Thus, it is difficult to compare power and torque ratings.

Industry reaction

In the Mustang's first two years of production, three Ford Motor Company plants in Milpitas, California; Dearborn, Michigan; and Metuchen, New Jersey produced almost 1.5 million Mustangs. Its success left General Motors (GM) unprepared and Chrysler Corporation slightly less so. Chrysler introduced the Plymouth Barracuda a few weeks before the Mustang, and although it grew into one of the recognized muscle cars, it started as a Plymouth Valiant. GM believed the rear-engined Chevrolet Corvair Monza would compete against the Mustang, but sold poorly compared to the Mustang. The Monza performed well, but lacked a V8 engine and its reputation was tarnished by Ralph Nader. It took GM until the 1967 model year to counter with the Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird. Lincoln-Mercury joined the competition in 1967 with the Mercury Cougar, an "upmarket Mustang" and subsequent Motor Trend Car of the Year. The Cougar brand was originally given to the Mustang during development. In 1968, American Motors (AMC) introduced the Javelin and later the 2-seater high-performance AMX. This genre of small, sporty, and powerful automobiles is often referred to as the "pony car" by the press as a tribute to the Mustang which started it.[4]

References