Happy birthday to the everyman’s sports car
The Ford Mustang is classic, American-made muscle. Made legendary by stars like Steve McQueen, the iconic motor celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. And while it may be getting older, the pony car shows no signs of slowing down
When it rst rolled off the Ford assembly line, the Mustang was an enigma. Like other sports cars of the period, it was expertly styled and had a thumping great engine under the hood. But unlike the Aston Martins and Ferraris of the world, you could pick one up for a little over US$2,300 in 1964.
To keep production costs down, Ford based many of the interior, chassis, suspension and drivetrain components on its existing motors, the Falcon and Fairlane. Thanks to its price point, the Mustang quickly become known as the everyman’s sports car, going on to sell over 22,000 on the rst day of production. Two years later, Ford had shifted a million more.
In the years that followed, the Mustang became more than a four-wheeled muscle car, it became the stuff of legend. In 1965 you could pick up a 4.7-litre 306hp V8 Mustang that would leave an Aston Martin DB5 in the dust, for a quarter of the cost.
It was the raw power beneath the hood that would ultimately attract Steve McQueen, who famously chased down a black Dodge Charger in a dark green 1968 GT fastback in Bullitt. Since then it has become a Hollywood staple. Even Sean Connery as James Bond abandoned his Aston Martin for a 1971 Mustang Mach I in Diamonds Are Forever.
As the legendary muscle car turns 50, Ford has done everything right. For 2015 everything has been updated with all new suspension, electronics and entertainment. But with a monstrous 5-litre V8 under the hood, and a design that incorporates the iconic sweeping bonnet and fastback rear window, it’s unmistakably Mustang. Clear proof that American muscle isn’t dead. It’s simply improving with age.