The iconic and powerful Ford Mustang is now available in the UK and to celebrate, we have taken a journey through time to see how this amazing vehicle has achieved its legacy.
First Generation (1964 - 1973)
Epitomising the American Automotive Dream, the first Ford Mustang rolled off the production line on 9th March, 1964 and created a new motoring breed - The Pony Club. Based on the second generation Ford Falcon, the Mustang was the Falcon's sportier relative and was fully customisable, from colours to wheels, and even interior trim. The Mustang was originally offered as a notchback coupe or convertible. Its unibody structure laid over a 108" wheelbase and stretched out 182" bumper to bumper. The cockpit was pushed far back on the chassis, giving the Mustang a longer hood and shorter rear deck design than other cars in the Ford range. However it was the detailed touches that gave the Mustang its edge, including the running horse on the grill, side scallops along the flanks and its three tier taillight sections, all adding to its iconic asthetics. The Mustang was first available with a three-speed manual transmission, three gears to us across the pond!
In 1965, the Mustang line grew with 2+2 fastback body and GT equipment options.The appetite for this vehicle was massive in America at this and the Ford company revelled in sales figures breaking half a million units in 1965 alone.
To appeal to racing enthusiasts, Mustangs were made available in two-seater, which is when the Carroll Shelby came in. Shelby, the Texan racer, saw potential and took 100 of the first 2+2s built at Ford's San Jose plant before modifying them into 'GT 350' Models. Shelby removed the rear seats and added performance items, such as oversizer front brakes, fiberglass hood, a lowered suspension and oversized tyres on 15" wheels.
Second Generation (1974-1978)
The Mustang mark II was debuted in the 70s and rode on a smaller, 96.2-inch wheelbase and stretched out 175" long. It kept many of the traditional Mustang styling cues like the scalloped sides, the three-piece taillights and the running horse on the grille. This was available as either a notchback coupe or a fastback hatchback and thanks to its size, it weighed less making it faster on the road. However, this was also the first Mustang to be offered with a four-cylinder that didn't have a V8.
The base engine was a single-overhead cam four displacing 2.3-litres and 88 horse power. There was also an optional engine, which is the German-built "Cologne" 2.8-liter OHV V6, increasing the power to 105 horsepower. This was available in two transmissions, a standard four-speed manual or a three-speed automatic. The V8 did return to line-up in 1975, with a 5.0-litre engine and was now only available in automatic transmission.
In 1976, the Cobra II was added, giving the Mustang a large rear spoiler, hood scoop and blue stripes across white paint, on a V8-powered fastback. This model was soon made iconic after hitting the small screen in the American hit TV series Charlies Angels, where Jill Monroe drove the same model.
Third Generation (1979-1993)
The new Mustang was slightly larger than the last with a 100.4" wheelbase and was 179.1" long. With an upright cockpit, the space was improved, giving the Mustang a roomier feel and giving more shoulder and hip-room for extra passengers. This was available in both coupe and fastback hatchback and had a very angular and handsome look, which didn't really relate to its predecessors. The main change was that there was no running horse in the shovel nosed grille. The sides were without the signature side scallop and taillights were divided into six segments rather than three. Even though the engines were all the same, the Mustang did start to feel like a different animal due to its changing design.
A five-speed manual transmission finally came to the Mustang in 1981 as an option behind the regular and turbocharged fours. This also led way to the appearance of the T-top roof. A new grille came in 1983, which was Ford's Blue Oval logo at the centre, and a GLX and GT trim featured a real glass rear window and rear-quarter windows that rolled down, making the Mustang III Convertible a very popular choice, indeed.
The Mustang III still sold 114,228 in 1993, after 15 years of production, showing how much America loved the Mustang and the range hadn't been exhausted yet.
Fourth Generation (1994-1998)
Brought back to its roots, the 1994 Mustang took cues and influences from the original, with the galloping horse in the grille and side scallop making a comeback. It was offered in two body styles - the two-door coupe and a convertible. Four-wheel disc brakes were also used throughout the range and ABS was added as an option.
The engine choices were pared down to either a 3.8-litre Essex V6 with 145 horsepower or a revised 5.0-litre V8, which had 215 horsepower. Both engines could be mated to either five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmissions. Handling was improved on the Mustang GT and the drive was much more secure. You could have the '94 Mustang with either 16" or the meatier 17" wheels.
Fifth Generation (1999-2004)
Why change something that isn't broken? This was definitely the thought with the fifth generation of Ford Mustang. Whilst the fenders were made sharper and the front and rear fascias revised to keep the Mustang modern, the windshield and roofs were carried forward unchanged. The updated styling brought the Mustang into the millennium and the 1999 Mustang had a special 35th anniversary badge on its front fenders.
The engine however did have significant changes, making the power a lot higher. The V6 was now pumping out a very impressive 190 horsepower, whilst the V8 was increased to a massive 260 horsepower. Transmissions remained either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic.
With a few new fender badge, the Mustang carried over for 2000. A limited run of 300 "Cobra R" models were produced this year powered by a 5.4-liter, iron-block version of the DOHC, 32-valve engine rated at a massive 385 horsepower.
The Cobra returned for 2001, but was a special "Bullitt" edition Mustang GT coupe designed to evoke memories of the '68 Mustang driven by Steve McQueen in the 1968 film of that name. The Bullitt, based on the regular GT, featured a lowered suspension, new five-spoke wheels evocative of the classic Torq-Thrust design. With a redecorated interior, it had with special graphics and special upholstery, both reminiscent of the 1968 GT, as well as aluminium-finished pedals and an aluminium ball shift knob. As expected this model sold its 5,000 run of cars very quickly.
Sixth Generation (2005-Present)
The sixth generation truly marked the birth of the all-new Mustang. The designers have managed to pay homage to a classic style without having the end result looking like a caricature of the original. It is reminiscent of the '67 and '69 Mustangs, with the canted nose, big grille and round headlights, whilst the side sculpting, fastback roofline and taillights are alike to the ponies from 1965.
Available in Fastback or convertible, the long bonnet flows downwards, reducing drag, helping the car cut through the air with ease. The front splitters enhance the down force, making the performance phenomenal. With a combination of modern styling, improved dynamics and signature looks the all-new Mustang has fantastic looks and an even better drive. The best part of all is that the sixth generation Mustang is now available in the UK, with a 2.3-litre EcoBoost or a 5.0-litre V8 and exclusive to Ford Stores.