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Ford Mustang: The American Dream

Updated on May 15, 2014

When you think of an American car and the American dream, what car is the first that comes to mind? If you thought of the Ford Mustang, you definitely are not alone. Mustangs are synonymous with the American culture and symbolize the strength and innovation of society in the past and present. The Mustang is such a great American symbol that it's something that Americans can relate to when talking about the American Dream.

The Ford Mustang was initially based on the second generation Ford Falcon, which is a compact car. The first ever model was introduced on April 17, 1964 and nicknamed the 1964 1/2 by avid Mustang fans. With the Mustang came the start of the "pony car" class of American vehicles, which are sports car coupes with long hoods and short decks. This includes cars like the Chevrolet Camaro, Pontiac Firebird, AMC Javelin, Chrysler Plymouth Barracuda, and the Dodge Challengers. The Mustang also gets credit for being an inspiration, as it inspired the designs of the Toyota Celica and Ford Capri.

The Mustang was brought out to the market about five months from the 1965 production year with production starting in Dearborn, Michigan. It was officially introduced and debuted at the 1964 New York's World Fair. John Najjar, a fan of the World War II P-51 Mustang fighter plane is the one given credit by Ford for the name suggestion. Alternative lore gives credit to Robert J. Eggert who was a breeder of quarter horses and was inspired to name the new concept after the horses. You can believe in whatever story you prefer, but one thing is for certain: the name Mustang is synonymous to the fast, masculine, powerful car that defines the sheer will-power and resilience of Americans. Because of this, Mustangs are seen as the must-have American car and one of the top choices when someone thinks to buy a United States made vehicle. Since 1964, the Mustang has only impressed the public and became better and better with each subsequent generation.

First Generation (1964-1973)

The Ford Mustang was actually featured in “Goldfinger,” a James Bond film in 1964. Original sales forecast was less than 100,000 in the first year, but in 3 months, that number was already surpassed. Because of this, Ford’s designers began creating more versions because of its success and got new and larger facelifts because of the popularity. The styling became more masculine and the hardtop, large gauged, body styles made the Mustang a sort of more hardcore car.

Second Generation (1974-1978)

The second generation had a smaller size in order to compete with Japanese vehicles for better fuel efficiency. Even though it was smaller than the previous generation, it had more equipment needed to meet US safety requirements, making it heavier so that performance was reduced.

Third Generation (1979-1993)

This generation boasts a redesigned backseat for comfort of the passengers. The third generation had two different body styles called the “4 eyes” and “aero” style. In 1986, the Mustang included rear end four shock absorbers.

Fourth Generation (1994-2004)

This generation Mustang went for a major redesign and had an updated rear-wheel drive. It was also the first version to be officially sold in Australia. In 1999, the Mustang had edgier contours, larger wheel arches, upgrade in bodywork, but the overall interior design was the same as the previous model.

Fifth Generation (2005-2014)

The fifth generation Mustang was inspired by the older fast back generation in the 1960s. The 2009 Mustang boasts an exterior upgrade that was redesigned, while the engine was still unchanged.

Sixth Generation (2015-Present)

The newest generation sports a widened body and a slew of new colors. The passenger side seat also has an increased volume, making it more comfortable for others in the car. The new design leaves the previous retro theme and is inspired by Ford’s Evo concept with a vertical bar taillight LED for turn signals.

Mustangs are also very popular on the racetrack and the car has had many successes during competitions, by winning first and second in the Tour de France. Today, Mustangs are known as the "Car of Tomorrow" at the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Mustangs compete in FIA GT3 European Championship and the GT4 European Cup.

Mustangs also had a sort of a celebrity status, as in the 1968 film Bullitt, Steve McQueen drove a Mustang in the iconic chase scene. As a result of this, the Mustang immensely rose in popularity and became an immediate celebrity. Lots of people wanted a Mustang, and sales went sky high to meet consumer demand.


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    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 3 years ago

      The original iconic muscle car - as a teenager owning a white Mustang was a dream! Thanks for the memories. Up, interesting, beautiful and useful.