The History of the Ford Mustang
by Falcon McCluer
There are times, in rare instances, that a fad turns a corner and becomes something more. The Beatles are a good example of this phenomenon. They invaded U.S. soil with their long hair and rock music. Many parents hoped that they were a fad that would eventually fade away, but instead, the Beatles went on to influence music for decades. The Beatles became a cultural icon and set the pace for rock music, as we now know it.
Another cultural icon is the Ford Mustang. One of the very first muscle cars, the Mustang set the tone for performance and handling and gave car makers new goals to reach if they wanted to compete. When the Ford Mustang was unveiled April 1964, other car manufacturers were sent on a mad dash to create their own versions of high performance cars just to keep up with the Mustang. However, the Pony car was in a class by itself - and still is. What the Beatles did for rock music, the Ford Mustang did for cars. The Mustang set a standard by which all other muscle cars would be compared.
From the moment that the Ford Mustang rolled off of the production line, it was America's sweetheart. The unveiling of the Mustang is now considered one of the most successful product launches in automotive history. The campaign that led up to the unveiling and the unveiling itself generated a great deal of excitement with the American public.
So much buzz was generated within the fist 18 months that more than one million units were sold. As with other highly popular products that have enchanted the public throughout history, legends surround the Mustang. There are stories of men sleeping at the dealership in their Mustang while waiting for their checks to clear. Other equally interesting stories surround the All American car.
Not only one genius for its day, Ford's marketing campaign of the Mustang is also considered one of the most profitable in history. Ford ran Mustang commercials before the unveiling. These appeared at 9:30 p.m. on ABC, NBC, and CBS. This served to create a buzz about the car. The goal was to create excitement, which would result in a successful sales campaign, and it hit its mark. On April 17, 1964, the day following the airing of the commercials, Ford unveiled the Mustang at the World's Fair in Flushing Meadows in New York and the buying frenzy began.
It was unveiled at the Ford Pavilion and was introduced by Henry Ford II when he introduced Walt Disney's Magic Skyway ride. On the ride, the guests rode in Ford vehicles as they rode through history. Moreover, the frenzy began.
The early Mustangs came with four engine options, one of which was the 289 cubic inch High Performance V 8 with 271 horsepower. The American public got its first taste of a real muscle car and they were hooked. Dealerships were inundated with people who wanted to be among the first to own the Ford Mustang.
History was made as a Wimbledon White convertible rolled off the production line and became the very first Mustang. It had a 260 cubic inch V 8. The now historic VIN was 5F08F100001. The car toured the United States, acting as a promotional tool for Ford until an airline captain from Canada, Stanley Tucker, acquired it.
Mustang 5F08F100001 spent some time in Canada with captain Tucker, but then in 1966 the executive director of the Henry Ford Museum, Donald Shelly, requested acquisition of it. Shelly stated in a letter that it was believed that the Ford Mustang would become a milestone car in the automotive industry. It was believed, he stated, that other car makers would use the Ford Mustang as a standard of measure and it would set the tone for other high performance, high power cars. They were right.
Follow the history of the Ford Mustang throughout its thrilling, diverse history and explore the site for true Mustang enthusiasts. For all things Mustang, from conception to contemporary visit Ford Mustang History