The Ford Mustang Turns 48

This month marks 48 years since the Ford Mustang was first introduced to the world. The original pony car debuted at the New York World’s Fair in 1964, and since then has undergone several transformations, yet remains one of the most popular sports cars on the road today.

The first generation Mustang offered a 2.8-liter inline-6 engine and three-speed manual transmission. The Mustang’s sales exceeded Ford’s expectations by over 400%, selling about 417,000 models in the first 12 months.  In 1965, the iconic Shelby GT350 was released.

The second generation of the Mustang debuted in 1974, with Ford shortening the car by 19-inches in length and unloading 490 pounds. Due to the oil crisis at the time, consumers were looking for smaller, less powerful cars, so the second generation pony car was equipped with either a 90-horsepower, 2.3-liter inline-4 or 100-horsepower, 2.8-liter V-6.  While a convertible version of the car was not available, Ford did offer a version of the car with removable glass T-tops in 1977.

In 1979, the third generation of the Mustang hit the road. This version was based on the same Fox platform that was used for a variety of other Ford vehicles, such as the Thunderbird. The Mustang also gained a few inches in length and height, yet became even lighter than the previous version. In 1982, the Mustang GT returned, and a convertible version returned in 1983. The special SVT Mustang Cobra launched in 1993.

The Mustang entered its fourth generation in 1994 with just the coupe and convertible options available.  Not only did the pony car get stiffer body styling, it also saw an increase in horsepower. Special editions introduced during this generation included the Mustang Bullitt GT in 200 and the Mach 1 in 2003.

The Mustang is currently in its fifth generation, which began in 2005 with body choices remaining the coupe and convertible, and engine choices of a V-6 or V-8.  In 2007, Ford launched the Shelby GT500, returning 500 horsepower on a 5.4-liter V-8 engine. An all-new Mustang is expected to replace the current design in 2014 or 2015.

Which generation was your favorite?

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