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National Mustang Day: Ford Muscle Car Turns 55

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By Dave Ashton

The iconic muscles car…sorry, pony car, the Ford Mustang turns 55 years old this year on 17 April. The landmark date is being celebrated with events and a new release of the car compounding its status as one of the most enduring vehicles in automotive history.

A bit of history….
No matter what some may say about the iconic pony, it sure has staying power. 17 April 1964, Henry Ford II introduced the Ford Mustang at the New York World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, Queens. Originally codenamed the ‘Special Falcon,’ the Mustang name was inspired by the World War II fighter plane. Conceived to compete with the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray the original powertrains went from a 170Ci V8 with 101hp to a 289Ci. V8 with 210HP.

22,000 Mustangs were ordered on the first day, with 419,000 sold in the first year. $2,368 being the starting price of the first Mustang model. Iconic variants of the Mustang include the 1964½, Fastback, California Special Mustang, GT, Shelby GT350, Shelby GT500, Shelby GT-H, Boss 302, Boss 429, Ford Mustang Grande, Mustang II, Mach 1, Super Snake, SVO, Cobra Jet and the 2015 50th anniversary edition.


The Mustang has been the star of many movie and TV show over the years, most famously in Gone in 60 Seconds, the Fast and Furious franchise and 50+ years of TV show up to the likes of Beverley Hills 90210.

August 8, 2018 saw the 10 millionth Mustang built, being a Wimbledon White GT V8 convertible with 460 HP, black leather interior and a six-speed manual transmission, the same as the first Mustang in 1964. The car made an appearance on ‘Good Day New York’ ahead of the 2019 New York Auto Show.

Latest figures show 113,066 Mustangs were sold globally in 2018, 75,842 in the US, cementing Mustang’s global share of 15.4 percent of the sports car sector, being sold in 146 countries. The Mustang was also the bestselling sports coupe from 2015-2018 since the launch of the sixth generation Mustang, selling more than 500,000 units. The Mustang is also the only right-hand drive pony/muscle car available from the factory.

2019 New York Auto Show
Fast forward 55 years to the latest New York Auto Show, the Mustang is still in the spotlight.
The new 2.3L High-Performance Package(HPP) for the entry-level Mustang EcoBoost was unveiled at the show. The most powerful four-cylinder sports car offered by an American automaker. That equates to 330hp and 350lb.ft. of torque and 0 to 60 in 4.5 seconds. 200 pounds lighter than the previous model, its sure to give the Ford GT a run for its money.

The original 1968 Bullitt Mustang driven by Steve McQueen was also shown at the event, echo’ed now by the 2019 Mustang Bullitt model in the same classic Dark Highland Green.

A new GT500 is also on the cards later this year, with power levels yet to be released.

Mustang Owners Museum
The Mustang Owners Museum coincides its grand opening with the Mustang’s birthday on April 17. There’s clearly plenty of enthusiasm for the events in store as shown on the Tweet below which will include exhibits, an open track, seminars and parade laps.

The museum will also be hosting a 55 years of Mustang event at the Charlotte Motor Speedway until 20th April. On the 18th they will attempt to break the Guinness world record for a Mustang parade, currently held in Mexico.

Other events
It’s not just on American shores where the Mustangs will marks its celebrations. Brands Hatch, UK, will celebrate the Mustang’s birthday during the ‘American SpeedFest’ on 1-2 June. The event will feature example Mustangs from the past five and a half decades. Check out this link for details.


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