Since Ford introduced the sports car to the American public in 1964, the car has sold more than 10 million times and firmly established itself as the epitome of American sports car design.
There are several facts about Ford Mustangs that you may find fascinating. You can learn more by checking out our list here.
1. Mustang Was Not the Only Name Considered
Ford designer John Najjar, a fan of the World War II P-51 Mustang fighter plane, is credited with suggesting the Mustang name.
However, Ford designers and executives considered at least two other front runners before selecting Mustang: Cougar and Torino. Panther is also said to have made the shortlist.
Ford design leaders initially did not prefer the name Mustang. The first Mustang prototype was named the Cougar.
Ford engaged advertising agency J. Walter Thompson to research the proposed names, and Mustang proved the market’s preference.
Account Executive Frank Thomas said the American public liked the name “because it had the excitement of wide-open spaces and was American as all hell.”
2. Mustangs Gallop Left
The Ford design team present several Mustang logos, including one based on the Knight chess piece.
After deciding on what became the famous galloping horse logo that we know today, the question became – should the logo be galloping left or right?
Ford designer Phil Clark first drew the logo facing left. But many Ford designers preferred the horse galloping right because racehorses gallop right on the track.
Legendary Ford boss Lee Iacocca settled the debate saying “the Mustang is a wild horse, not a domesticated racer.”
3. The Mustang Was Meant for the Everyday Person
The Ford Mustang was introduced to the public in 1964 with its price prominently displayed on all print advertising – $2,368.
This price was $1000 lower than the nearest competition.
True to its market, Gail Brown, a Chicago schoolteacher, bought the first retail Mustang. She still owns the car today.
Even today, visit stevemarshfordsales.com and learn that the Mustang is priced below its punch.
4. The Mustang Introduced the American Sports Car and Beat the Competition
Ford originally forecast about 100,000 Mustang sales in the first year. More than 400,000 Mustang’s ultimately sold in the year.
The market for American sports cars was a race between car manufacturers and Ford brought a winning package that allowed the Mustang to dominate throughout the 1960s.
Plymouth, a Chrysler brand, beat the Mustang to market by two weeks, introducing the Mustang’s then closest rival, the Barracuda.
The Mustang and the Barracuda were both based on established economy cars – the Mustang built on the Ford Falcon, and the Barracuda carried the Plymouth Valiant heritage.
Ford outperformed Plymouth in this race on two fronts – options and design.
Ford unveiled three Mustang body styles – coupe, convertible, and fastback. Ford also offered varied engines ranging from economy to high performance.
Plymouth offered a single Barracuda.
Mustang design also beat the Barracuda’s design.
Many historical car enthusiasts praise the design of the Barracuda but suggest that the car simply did not push design boundaries as Mustang did.
By the mid-1960s, Chevrolet introduced the Camero and Pontiac brought the Firebird. The competition for American sports car supremacy had begun.
5. The Mustang Unveiled With a Media Blitz
Before the design of the first Mustang was finalized, Buhlie Ford, a nephew of Henry Ford II, took a Mustang convertible on a drive and parked the car in front of the Detroit Free Press. The Free Press published photos in what was considered a marketing coup.
Ford then unveiled its new Mustang with a media blitz.
The day before its public unveiling, on April 16, 1964, Ford released an advertising campaign on the three major TV networks. 29 million Americans were introduced to the Mustang that day.
The next day, when the car was officially unveiled in New York, Mustang ads ran in more than 2,600 newspapers.
The same month, April of 1964, the Mustang appeared on the cover of both Time and Newsweek. Lee Iacocca credited the Mustang’s cover presence with selling 100,000 extra cars.
6. The Mustang Joined the Military
Ford sold the Mustang to U.S. military personnel based in Germany through the military PX system between 1964 and 1978.
The Mustang sold to American soldiers was called the Ford T5 and was trademarked in Germany by truckmaker Krupp.
7. The Mustang and Ford’s Italian Connection
In the 1960s and 1970s, Ford’s design and engineering teams battled with Italian car manufacturers such as Ferrari to be the world’s renowned car designers and producers.
For more information on this epic battle, do yourself a favor and watch Matt Damon and Christian Bale in Ford vs. Ferrari.
Beginning in 1975, teams at Ford’s Dearborn headquarters and at the Ford-owned Italian Ghia studio competed to design the car’s all-new, third-generation body.
The final design, known as the Fox body, ultimately included inputs from both the American and Italian teams.
8. Ford Almost Introduced a Mustang Station Wagon
Ford, on several occasions, considered four-door or front-wheel editions of the Mustang family.
In 1964, Ford designed at least one four-door Mustang sedan that could have been included in the car’s initial launch.
Since 1964, Ford has designed at least three versions of a Mustang station wagon. All three designs made it as far in the design process as full-sized clay models.
One station wagon concept even made it as far as a functional prototype.
9. The Mustang Is a Movie Star
Mustangs have appeared in films and on TV shows more than 3,300 times in the past 50 years, according to Iceland Mustang Club’s research.
Steve McQueen’s Mustang 1968 Ford Mustang GT 390 in Bullitt might be the most famous Hollywood appearance.
10. The Mustang Goes to the Races
The Mustang has served as the official pace car of the Indianapolis 500 on three occasions — in 1964, 1979, and 1994.
11. This Mustang – What You Miss Most in the White House
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton said the hardest thing to leave behind when he became U.S. President was his ice blue Mustang convertible.
In 1994, Clinton briefly drove his beloved Mustang around Charlotte Motor Speedway, where the then head of the Mustang Club of American called the President “a rabid Mustanger like the rest of us.”
Learn Facts About Ford and Become a Rabid Mustanger
Since that famous press conference in 1964, the Mustang has become a part of Americana.
The Mustang is different – it is a wild horse, not a domesticated racehorse. It still brings the excitement of wide-open spaces and was American as all hell.
Visit your local dealership for a test drive and you will see why. Learn more about the history of this legendary car and you might find yourself a rabid Mustanger.