Mus­tang – a pic­to­rial his­tory of the Pony

Ford’s iconic coupe is in­ally hav­ing its mo­ment in the UK. What’s so spe­cial about it? By Colin Over­land

CAR (UK) - - Contents -

MAYBE IT’S A last hur­rah be­fore the self-driv­ing elec­tric pod takes over. Maybe it’s that the lat­est ver­sion is far bet­ter suited to the UK. Maybe Ford’s re­lent­less Mus­tang mar­ket­ing has hit home. For what­ever rea­son, one of the sales suc­cesses of re­cent months is the Ford Mus­tang. Not quite au fait with your Mus­tang his­tory, though? Then you need Mus­tang by Don­ald Farr, part of Mo­tor­books’ ex­cel­lent Speed Read se­ries that also cov­ers Fer­raris and the Porsche 911.

It was a sales sen­sa­tion from day one

And not by ac­ci­dent. A Ford mar­ket­ing blitzkrieg en­sured that if you were sen­tient in the USA on 17 April 1964, you knew all about the new Ford Mus­tang. It was un­veiled at the New York World’s Fair, part of a cam­paign that day in­volv­ing deal­ers, bill­boards, news­pa­per ads and TV slots.

The driv­ing force was Ford exec Lee Ia­cocca. He’d spot­ted the post-war baby boomer gen­er­a­tion would be get­ting their driv­ing li­cences in 1964, and wanted to cash in with some­thing sporty but af­ford­able. It worked: Ford sold a mil­lion in 18 months, and re­cently made its 10 mil­lionth Mus­tang.

It’s never gone away

The Mus­tang has evolved in some du­bi­ous direc­tions but never strayed too far from its ori­gins. Ford went full retro with 2005’s fifth gen­er­a­tion, a trend con­tin­ued with the 2015 sixth gen­er­a­tion, facelifted and tweaked for 2018. It’s only the Mk6 that has been made in right-hand drive and sold through reg­u­lar UK Ford deal­ers, but the UK Mus­tang own­ers’ club em­braces ponies of all ages and stripey­ness.

It’s a movie icon

Steve McQueen at the wheel of a Mus­tang in San Fran­cisco in 1968’s Bul­litt is an en­dur­ing im­age, but the Mus­tang’s first movie ap­pear­ance was in 1964 in Goldfin­ger. And it made ap­pear­ances in both Gone in 60 Sec­onds films, in 1974 and 2000.

The ’Stang in­vented per­son­al­i­sa­tion

Mini and Fiat 500 own­ers love cus­tomis­ing their rides but Ford was there five decades ago with the Mus­tang, of­fer­ing stripes, in­te­rior trims, wheel cov­ers and even an op­tional tis­sue box…

That whole drag race thing is real

The 2018 car comes with Drag Strip mode, which keeps torque out­put con­stant while you’re chang­ing gear. And while peo­ple have raced Mus­tangs on cir­cuits, its favoured com­bat arena has al­ways been the dragstrip. There have been all man­ner of hot­ted-up Mus­tangs, most no­tably the rapid Shelby cars and to­day’s Roush up­grades avail­able from Moun­tune. Steeda, who have been tun­ing Mus­tangs for 30 years, can get 777bhp from your V8.

The cur­rent one is a blast

It didn’t look very promis­ing when Ford said the Mus­tang was get­ting a facelift in­volv­ing a power de­crease for the EcoBoost four ver­sion. And yet the new Mus­tang is a peach; proper 2018-spec safety and equip­ment lev­els, Ford’s dealer net­work, some sane fi­nance pack­ages and a car that doesn’t re­quire a race­track to be fun to drive. Ford UK has sold 7200 Mus­tangs in the last two and a half years; it’s Bri­tain’s best-sell­ing V8 coupe. Around 80 per cent are coupes, 70 per cent are V8s, half are man­u­als and a full third are painted Or­ange Fury. Great work, peo­ple.

7200 right-hand­drive Mus­tangs have been sold in the UK, a third of them in this colour

Speed Read: Mus­tang by Don­ald Farr is pub­lished byMo­tor­books

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