evolution of the

Ford Mustang

The Ford Mustang is one of America’s most iconic cars. First produced in 1964, the Ford Mustang has a rich history with many design evolutions. Below is more information on some of the Mustang’s most significant transitions in history.

Evolution of the Ford Mustang

In 1964, the world was introduced to the Ford Mustang. The Mustangs made in the first six months of production are known as 1964 ½ or 1964.5 Mustangs. This is because they quickly made some changes and released the 1965 Mustang soon after. From a distance, the 1964 ½ and 1965 Mustangs look identical, but when you take a closer look there are many small differences. One of those differences is in the front edge of the hood lip. For most 1964 ½ Mustangs the edge is beveled, whereas for the 1965 Mustangs the hood lip is folded under. The first Mustang GT was introduced in 1965.

  • Total Produced: 121,538
  • Original Costs:

    Coupe (standard) : $2,320
    Convertible (standard) : $2,557
  • Models Produced: 2

When the 1970 Mustang was released, it did not sell well at the time, but today they are the most valuable and in-demand of the first generation Mustangs. It is believed that sales were down because of the wide variety of muscle cars flooding the market at the time. Some of the changes from previous models include a scooped fender cap, new side markers, recessed taillights, removal of the fake exhaust trim, and the relocation of the Mustang pony emblem from the driver’s side of the grille to the middle.

  • Total Produced: 198,239
  • Original Costs:

    Coupe (standard) : $2,721
    Convertible (standard) : $3,025
  • Models Produced: 13

The 1974 Mustang was the first of the second generation Mustangs, otherwise known as the Mustang II. Some of the changes from previous models include the addition of a 4-cylinder engine, a shorter wheelbase, as well as being shorter, narrower, and lighter overall. Around this time, gasoline became scarce and fuel-efficiency became more a desirable quality over performance. Because of this, there was no V-8 engine option in any ‘74 models. This did not negatively affect sales, as the ‘74 model is still the best selling Mustang post-1967.

  • Total Produced: 385,993
  • Original Costs:

    Coupe (standard) : $3,134
    Convertible (standard) : $3,328
  • Models Produced: 4

In 1979, Ford released the first of the third generation Mustangs, which was longer, taller, lighter, and faster than the previous version. It was the first Mustang model to be built on the Fox Body platform, which would continue to be used for the next 25 years. When it came out, the new style was considered sleek and more European than before. Sales of the ‘79 Mustang surpassed those of the previous year’s by more than 150,000 units.

  • Total Produced: 369,936
  • Original Costs:

    Coupe (standard) : $4,494
    Hatchback (standard) : $4,828
  • Models Produced: 4

Ford introduced its fourth generation Mustang on its 30th anniversary. It came out with a bang touting a significant redesign. Some of the changes include a more rounded look (a departure from its sharper, more square edges previously), stiffer structure, a redesign of the Fox-4 platform to reduce vibration and noise, as well as the return of the pony emblem back on the grille. The ‘94 Mustangs saw a bump in sales from prior models, offering coupe and convertible models while dropping the hatchback style from the lineup.

Ford later released a redesigned SVT Mustang Cobra, which became the official Indianapolis 500 pace car for the third time. This iteration had a 5.0L V-8 engine with 240 horsepower.

  • Total Produced: 123,198
  • Original Costs:

    Coupe (standard) : $13,365
    Hatchback (standard) : $20,160
  • Models Produced: 6

Contemporary design with a nod to classic Mustang attributes define the start of the fifth generation Mustangs in 2005. Some of the classic features that appear on the Mustang V include C-scoop sides, three-part tail lights, and the pony emblem positioned in the center of the grille.

As for new design elements, Ford added rounded headlights in trapezoidal casings, a slightly forward slanted grille, wheels positioned further out on the corners of the car body, and a longer wheelbase to make more room for passengers inside of the vehicle. This is also the year that Ford introduced the D2C Mustang platform, which was intended to improve the Mustang’s speed, safety, and looks.

  • Total Produced: 160,412
  • Original Costs:

    V-6 Coupe Deluxe: $19,770
    V-6 Convertible Deluxe : $24,495
  • Models Produced: 8

Marking the Ford Mustang’s 50th anniversary, the sixth generation Mustang boasts an improved interior, a “Mustang – Since 1964” badge on the instrument panel, as well as independent rear suspension. The base level engine offering is a 3.7-liter V-6 engine with 305 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque, followed by the EcoBoost with a 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine with 310 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque, and finally at the top of the scale the GT with a 5.0-liter V-8 engine rated at 435 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. It is certainly a car that packs a punch!

  • Original Costs:

    V-6:: $23,800
    EcoBoost: $25,300
    GT: $32,300
  • Models Produced: 5

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