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An American Icon: Mustang Through The Years

Who knew something which was originally developed to compete with Chevy Corvair will actually be one of the most popular sports cars and one of the best selling too? The Mustang which landed in ‘65 changed the chapter for Ford altogether and single-handedly. The ‘65 Mustang was actually introduced earlier in April 1964 and hence some also term it as “1964½”. It created the “Pony Car” era: reasonably priced sporty cars with long hoods and short trunks. This gave birth to the fierce competition in the form of Camaros, Firebirds, Javelins, Barracudas, Challengers. Most of them have gone down in the oblivion. Decades after, the icon stays, right now as the 6th generation Mustang. Let’s go thru some of its popular generations.

What took several years to develop back in 1962, the Ford Mustang 1 concept looked nothing like the car that people saw when it finally got launched. The Mustang 1 was a mid-engined two-seater, almost giving it race-ready looks. Some still skip the concept that came after it, The Ford Mustang Avanti fastback concept. It had a strong influence of the design language Europeans were jotting out then. And this second instalment of the concept leads to the First-Generation Mustang in mid-1964.

The first-generation Ford Mustang (1964-1973) production was publicly unveiled in New York and was marked as ‘65. The engines ranged from Inline-6 2.7-liter to a V8 7.0-liter, transmissions ranged from 3/4 speed Manual and a 3-speed Automatic. The design and exterior dimensional ques changed thru the generation, iterations like the original pony roof, the fastback roof. And ‘69 saw a major change in dimensions which gave it a rather hefty look. First generations models included the Shelby GT 350, Boss, K-Code, and Bullitt. And they are the sort after models for the purists.

The Second-Generation Ford Mustang (1974-1978) was introduced months before the 1973 oil crisis. The need of the hour made the Mustang change its course; it became more fuel-efficient. The early models were based on Ford Maverick but on a whole, this particular model came to be famous with the name “Pintostang” as it was based on the Ford Pinto platform. It was mainly introduced to compete with import coupes such as Datsun 240Z, Toyota Celica which were reliable and doing well in the market. It came with a humble 2.3L Inline-4, 2.8L V6, they later introduced the 4.9L V8 which kind of made it fast like the first-generation Mustang was. It was garnished well to hide what it didn’t have coming with models like Mustang II Cobra II, the King Cobra Mustang, the Mustang II.

The Third Generation Ford Mustang (1979-1993) was the longest-running iteration of Mustang. It was based on the much bigger Fox Platform which was used in the Ford Fairmont and Mercury Zephyr. And that helped it make sense with far better interior space, the back seat had much better legroom, the trunk that can hold more and after a whole generation a bigger engine bay.  The European style of car making took over, light car with a powerful engine. The engines ranged from a 2.3L L-4 to a fiery 5L V8, in 1979 the 2.8L V6 was replaced 3.3L straight-6 and ultimately replaced by the 3.8L V6 in 1983. It came with a whole lot of models and iterations such as Cobra, Turbo GT, SVO, GL, GLX and so on. The year 1987 refreshed the style a bit but the platform remained the same.

The Fourth Generation Ford Mustang which came after, followed the then widely popular curvy design. The generation started in 1994 and stayed well till 2004 with an edgy design update in 2000. The year 2005 marked the comeback of the modern-retro style taking the important cues from the original fastback design. It did what it did back then, the reprise of the Chevy Camaro, Dodge Challenger. It gripped the world back again. And now in 2019 the legend is back with the “GT 500” moniker producing 760hp.



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