How can you not love Mustang...
In 1961, Lee Iacocca was vice president and general manager of the Ford Division of Ford Motor Company. Often described as visionary, he saw a niche for a car that would seat a driver and three passengers, complemented with bucket seats, sporty performance, a floor mounted shifter and a wheelbase of no more than 180 inches. Lee wanted it to weigh less than 2500 pounds, and sell for less than $2500.00.
Senior management at Ford approved funding for production in September of 1962, and in March of 1964, the Mustang was born. The name "Mustang" was borrowed from North American's P-51 Mustang World War II fighter, an aircraft that played a deciding role in the European theater and the defeat of Nazi Germany.
Only 18 months had elapsed since the Mustang had been approved for production until the first unit rolled off the production line. Production costs were always a concern at Ford. In order to control them, many of the components for the Mustang were "repurposed" production parts originally used on the the Falcon. This included the engine, transmission, rear end and suspension.
Many different interior and exterior options were available along with a choice of power plants and transmissions. The Mustang could be ordered to suite the taste of just about anyone interested on owning one. The Mustang's marketing "positioning statement" was that it was the car that you could design.
The "launch" of the Mustang came on April 16, 1964, the day before it's release, when Ford "road blocked" the three major (and, at the time, the only) television networks, ABC, NBC, and CBS by running a commercial at 9:30 PM on all three. On the following day, Ford showrooms were flooded with people clamoring to be one of the first to own the Mustang. The results of the advertising were outstanding. Ford sold over 22,000 Mustangs the first day. By the end of 1964, Ford had sold 263,434. By the end of the Mustang's first anniversary, April 17, 1965, that number had swelled to 418,812 Mustangs. The Mustang quickly became one of the fastest selling cars in history!
The 1964½, as it was dubbed, was available in two models, coupe and convertible. Both featured a lengthened hood and short rear deck, chrome wrap-around bumpers, chrome grille with a running horse in the grill "corral", and full wheel covers. Both models were available with a 170 cid, 101 horsepower, 6 cylinder engine, a 260-2V, 164 horsepower V-8, a 289-4V, 210 horsepower V-8 and, starting in June, a powerful , 4 barrel, solid lifter, 271 horsepower, 289 cid "Hi-Po" V-8 engine. The buyer had a choice of a 3 speed, 4 speed or automatic transmission, and a variety of rear end gear ratios. The interior featured "wall-to-wall" carpeting (with the exception of a vinyl strip between the rocker panel and sill plate on early '64 1/2 models), front bucket seats or an optional front bench seat, rear bench seat, a sports car style steering wheel, floor mounted shifter, and full headliner.
1965 brought a number of changes for the Mustang. The most noticeable was the addition of the new fastback model, the base model for Carroll Shelby's GT-350. A 120 horsepower, 200 CID 6 cylinder engine replaced the 170 CID 6 cylinder, the 289-2V, 200 horsepower V-8 replaced the 260-2V, the 289-4V was upgraded to 225 horsepower, and the 289-4V Hi-Po remained unchanged, with the exception of the switch from a cast iron water pump to aluminum. A new interior option was added, the interior decor group (known as the pony interior), which featured special seat covers with running horses across the back, special interior door panes with integral arm rests and pistol grip door handles, five gauge instrument panel, wood grain steering wheel, and wood grain appliqués on the instrument cluster, glove box, and optionally on the center console. Another option introduced in April of 1965 was the GT equipment group. Available only with one of the two four barrel engines, the GT group included five-dial instrumentation, disc brakes, larger sway bars, quicker steering ratio, dual exhaust which exited through the rear valance panel, grill mounted fog lights, and special lower body side stripes. A total of 559,451 Mustangs were produced for the 1965 model year.
1966 brought even fewer changes than did its predecessor. Most of the changes for 1966 were in the form of cosmetic refinements. A new grille which featured chrome edged, horizontal inserts, replaced the honeycomb grille of '65. The chrome bars that extended horizontally and vertically from the running horse were deleted on the '66 grille. A new three fingered rear quarter panel ornament was used. The lower rocker panel molding became standard equipment, as did backup lights, and a chrome hood lip molding. The fuel filler cap no longer included the plastic Mustang emblem insert found on the earlier models. On the inside the Mustang was treated to standard five gauge instrumentation, and "woven" vinyl seat inserts. The choices of available interior colors and styles increased to thirty four varieties, giving the buyer even more ways to personalize "their" Mustang. Production increased to 607,568 units for 1966.
1967 brought the first major restyling to the Mustang. The Mustang was starting to grow up. The length and height were increased, 2.7" and .5" respectively. The wider body allowed for the installation of a tire smoking, 320 horsepower, 390 cid engine, the first big block engine in the mustang. Among new options for 67 were the tilt-away steering wheel, an overhead console, power disc brakes, and an all new transmission, the FMX, which allowed fully automatic or manual shifting. The fastback's roof line was extended to the rear of the trunk. Interior trim options were decreased from 34 in 1966 to just 20 in 1967. Production for 1967 slipped to just over 472,000 units.
The 1968 Mustang was little changed from it 67 counterpart. Most of the changes were in subtle refinements to the interior and exterior. New options for 68 included an AM/FM stereo radio, rear window defogger (coupe and fastback only), re-designed front power disc brakes, and the all new 302 cid engine. The 302-4V, 230 horsepower engine replaced the 289 Challenger Special of previous years. By December of 67, the 289 engine was replaced entirely by the 302 version. Other changes included the deletion of the horizontal grille bars, the deletion of the F-O-R-D letters at the front of the hood, simplification of the quarter panel ornament, and many safety features. Due to increasing governmental regulations, the 1968 Mustang now included front and rear side marker lights, folding, flush mounted interior door pulls, and an energy absorbing steering column. There were several "region specific" models offered from various dealers. Two of the most notable were the California Special, and the High Country Special. Total production for 1968 was 317,404 units.
1969 brought another major restyling to the Mustang. The Fastback 2+2 was gone - replaced by the new SportsRoof model. The new Mustangs were almost 4 inches longer than their 67/68 predecessors, yet they retained the 108" wheelbase of the original 64½'s. The base engine continued to be the 200 cubic inch six cylinder. New for the economy minded Mustang owner was an optional 250 cubic inch six. The base V-8 continued to be the 302-2V. The 351-2V and 4V entered the lineup for 1969. The 302-4V and the 390-2V were dropped, but the 390-4V remained. There were two special engines offered for 69, the Boss 302 and the Boss 429. Both engines were only available in two limited production units, so called, the Boss 302 and the Boss 429. New features for 69 included quad headlights, front parking lights were now located behind the front valance panel, new quarter panel ornaments, side scoops and integral rear spoiler on the SportsRoof models, front seat back locks, and for the first time, the VIN number, in addition to being located on the driver's door, was also attached to the instrument panel, and visible through the windshield. There were several new models offered during 1969. A little know model was the Mustang 'E'. It was basically a standard economy minded SportsRoof model with a six cylinder engine, a higher (lower numerically) ratio rear end with a large torque converter, and an automatic transmission. Air conditioning was not available on the 'E' model. A "Mustang E" insignia replaced the standard quarter panel ornament. Another new model was the Grande, which included the Interior Decor Group, an electric clock, special houndstooth check upholstery, and extra sound deadener. Another new model was the Mach 1 which was only available with one of the five larger V-8 engines. It featured special interior trim, special carpet, and high back bucket seats. On the exterior, the Mach 1 featured a low-gloss black hood, non-functional hood scoop (except models equipped with the 428 Cobra Jet engine which had a "new for 69" shaker scoop), hood pins, dual racing mirrors, special side stripe, pop-open gas cap, and dual exhaust ending in chrome, quad outlets. The Mach 1 also included the "Handling Suspension" and an additional 55 pounds insulation materials. Another new model for '69 was the Boss 302. Built mainly to qualify the Mustang for the SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) Trans-Am series. The Boss 302 included a special 290 horsepower, 302 engine, 4 speed transmission, 16:1 ratio steering box, and a 3.50:1, staggered shock rear end. The exterior featured a low-gloss, black hood and deck lid, Boss 302 "C" stripes, front spoiler, flared fenders and Magnum 500 wheels with F60x15 tires. All of the optional Mustang interiors were available on the Boss 302, however, most of them were equipped with the black, standard Mustang interior. The biggest and "baddest" of the Boss's, the Boss 429, was also introduced in 1969. Primarily built to satisfy NASCAR requirements, the Boss 429 Mustang featured a Semi-Hemi 429 CID engine. To compensate for the massive engine, the front shock towers were moved out one inch, and the front A-Arms were lowered one inch. The Boss 429 featured a huge hood scoop (the largest ever offered on the Mustang), front spoiler, flared fenders, dual racing mirrors, and F60 x 15 tires, mounted on chrome, Magnum 500 wheels. The interior featured the Mustang interior decor group, comfort weave bucket seats, and console. The Boss 429 also featured a competition suspension, rear stabilizer bar, power front disc brakes, power steering, engine oil cooler, trunk mounted battery, and a 3.91:1, traction lock rear end. There were a total of 299,824 Mustang's built in 1969.
Best of Show Trophy winner, CMMFC Show, 2008
1970 saw no major changes to the Mustang lineup. Most of the changes were in the way of subtle refinements. The headlights became dual units again instead of the quad units used in '69, front side marker lamps were moved up onto the fenders, the quarter panel "scoops" were deleted, and the rear taillights were now recessed into their housings. On the inside, high back buckets became standard equipment with the seat back release moved to the lower part of the seat, a new "oval" steering wheel (supposedly to ease entry and exit), and the ignition switch was moved to the steering column which locked the steering wheel when turned to the off position. The engine lineup changed slightly for 1970. The 390 was dropped and the 351-2V Cleveland and 351-4V Cleveland replaced the 351 Windsor models of previous years. The Mach 1, Boss 302, and Boss 429 were all available in 1970. Total Production for 1970 was 190,727 units.
1971 saw another major restyling change for the Mustang. It was also to be the last restyling for the first generation Mustang. Introduced late in August of 1970, the new Mustang was more than two inches longer and almost two and a half inches wider than it's 1970 predecessor. For the first time since the Mustang's inception, the wheelbase was extended one inch to 109". The 200 cid 6 cylinder was dropped along with the 428, the Boss 302, and the Boss 429. New engines for '71 were the Boss 351, the 429, and the Ram Air 429. The Boss 351 produced 330 horsepower, while both 429 engines produced 370 horsepower. On the exterior, the famous Mustang corral returned. A new wide chrome strip on the edge of the front fenders and hood was borrowed from the 1969 Shelby's. The long hood now turned up at the windshield to cover the hidden wipers. Large, bold, triple lens tail lights appeared on the rear of the new Mustang. Flush mounted door handles replaced the earlier surface mounted units. The interior featured standard high-back buckets, a mini console, and an all new instrumentation layout. Power windows were offered for the first time. The Mach 1 continued to be offered for '71. It was available with any of the V8 engines. A special honeycomb grille and color keyed front bumper were unique to the Mach 1 model. The chrome hood and fender moldings were replaced with color keyed trim. "Mach 1" decals were placed on the fenders and deck lid and a special black or argent lower body side paint was used. New for 1971 was the Boss 351 which replaced the Boss 302 and Boss 429. The Boss 351 featured a special 330 horsepower 351-4V Cleveland engine. The Boss 351 featured a blacked out NASA scooped hood with twist type locks and special body side stripes. The Boss 351 included a competition suspension with staggered rear shocks, a four speed transmission with a Hurst shifter, power front disc brakes, dual exhaust, and 3.91:1 traction lock rear end. There were a total of 149,678 Mustangs built in 1971.
Since the Mustang had undergone a major restyling in 1971, the 1972 models saw no big styling changes, only minor cosmetic ones. Probably due to increasing governmental fuel economy regulations, all of the Boss cars were dropped from the 1972 lineup. The Boss 351 and both versions of the 429 engine were dropped. During the early part of '72, a special 351HO model was offered. It featured a low compression version of the Boss 351 engine, with a special high-lift cam, mechanical lifters, forged aluminum pistons and a special 4-barrel manifold. The only "performance" model that remained for the entire '72 model year was the Mach 1. The Mach 1, like all other '72 models, were virtually unchanged. Production for 1972 topped out at 125,093.
1973 brought the last year of the "big" Mustang. It was to be replaced by a smaller, lighter breed, therefore, most of the changes for '73 were merely cosmetic. A large, square, chrome headlamp bezel appeared, as did chrome trim around the tail lights. A color keyed Urethane front bumper replaced the chrome units of the previous years. The front parking lights were now placed vertically in the front grille. A new, grained, black appliqué with bright trim was placed on the rear body panel between the tail lights. This was replaced with a honeycomb style on the Mach 1 and Grande models. The 1973 Mustang convertible was to become the last Mustang convertible for many years. There were a total of 134,867 Mustangs produced in 1973.
There are so many Fabulous Fords out there. From Henry's T to the Fat Fenders of the 40's, the fantastic Thunderbirds, the Muscle Cars of the 60's and early 70's to the Lightnings, and to the awesome Ford GT. The list goes on and on. In the Past Shows link to the left you will find images of Falcons, Thunderbirds, Galaxys, Fairlanes, as well as other Ford power vehicles that we all love. On the Links page (under construction) you will be able to find clubs and parts vendors for these fine cars and trucks. Please return in the future and peruse this information.
We want to meet you and have you become part of the "Central Missouri Mustang and Ford Club" All you have to have is a passion for Fords!
We invite you to browse our site and check out the information that is available to you here. We are working to make the friendship of our club the heart of the CMMFC with a huge following of members that grows every season. If you like to share and exchange information and ideas about Ford related topics, this is the place for you! If you prefer to just lurk and learn, that's ok! We love to have visitors too!
As time goes by, we plan to add additional features, such as a forum or other method to make direct contact with other members. It all depends on what the members wish.