In continuous production since its debut in 1964, the Ford Mustang has stood the test of time to become one of Ford’s best loved models. Popular from its initial release it’s not luck that has made the Mustang so enduring in the hearts of its fans. But what lead to the success and longevity of this car model in a market where others have come and gone?
Along with other pony cars, the Mustang recognizes its audience and remains faithful to it. Pony cars are sports cars aimed at a younger audience with less cash available to spend than those who can buy high end sports cars. They use parts that are interchangeable between models and thus cheaper to produce and buy, as well as being easily customizable. Despite being beaten to the market by two weeks by the Plymouth Barracuda, the Mustang 1965 became the most popular car release. Had Ford departed from the familiar the Mustang wouldn’t have enjoyed the instant success it did.
Basing the Mustang on existing ford models like the Fairlane and Falcon meant it was immediately familiar to customers. And with easily interchangeable parts this good-looking car was affordable to maintain for its target audience. To this day classic mustang parts are relatively easy to come by, allowing vintage models to remain in working order far longer than many modern cars. Many other vintage vehicles require expensive custom-made parts to put them back on the road, meaning they’re often lost to history, unlike the Mustang.
Ford may have developed the Mustang from existing models, but they were careful to ensure their affordable sports car had the look. The Mustang 1964½ was good looking enough to go up against an Aston Martin in not one but two James Bond movies. Young people couldn’t help but want to own ride in this stunning car, with its long hood and sleek body. Over the years as tastes and technology have changed, the looks of the Mustang have kept up, ensuring they stayed coolly contemporary.
While early versions had the long bonnet, and short body structure, as decades progressed Ford adapted the Mustang. In the 1980s the lines became angular and aggressive looking, in keeping with the fashions of the time. Then as things moved on and progressed mustangs of the mid 2000s looked markedly different again. The grille was large and the headlamps round, while the lines were slick with a retro feel.
Fifteen plus years on, Ford continues to adapt with the Mustang grille smaller, and the headlamp shape different again. Through all these iterations the Mustang has been a good-looking car and shows no signs of deviating from this narrative. Will the Mustang of the 2030s be equally good looking? It’s hard to imagine it won’t.
- Advertisement -
Although the original runs of the 1965 Mustang featured a smaller engine, by the end of 1965 they were being built with the V8 engine. Developed by Ford as the first affordable 8-head cylinder engine, the V8 was already well respected before the Mustang entered the scene. Usually used in larger vehicles, adding it to the smaller Mustang created a sports car with a lot of grunts. This added power continued to catapult the Mustang’s popularity and staying power.
With nearly sixty years of commercial production under its belt the Ford Mustang has seen a lot of history. And they just keep keeping up with that history. Several editions continue to be iconic decades later due to being the muscle car of their era. Seeing a GT500 in the wild elicits excitement and awe from passers-by for good reason. Though anyone wishing to race one on a green light will be left in its wake due to its racing design.
Although pony cars are intended as affordable and compact sports cars for the mainstream buyer’s markets the Ford Mustang is flexible enough to appeal to a broad audience. The flexibility and adaptability of its design mean a family can have a mustang as their family car, while next door a zippy little fast-back powers up the road. Other vehicles in the Ford range take their base design from the Mustang, like the Ford Ranger truck, which is a smaller, agile option in the truck market.
The reasons that the Ford Mustang was popular from its commercial release in the mid-1960s are as valid and strong today as then. And the obvious love Ford has for their pony car is mirrored in the love its customers have for the car, ensuring it’ll continue to have a long illustrious history.
© 2022 – 2023, Divine Magazine. All rights reserved.