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Ford Mustang Through the Years – The Original Pony Car

Ford Mustang through the years

Ford Mustang Overview

It all started in April of 1964. From the platform of the Ford Falcon, the Mustang was born. Ford knew upcoming baby boomers didn’t want the same old cars their parents drove, so they conceived a sporty looking car that the masses could afford; the Ford Mustang. From 1964 to 2016, here’s a glance at the Ford Mustang through the years.

Creating the “pony car” class of American vehicles, the Mustang has always been a sporty car with a long hood and short rear. This car became the most successful Ford vehicle launch since the Model A. Following the success of the Mustang, multiple other carmakers jumped on the affordable sports car bandwagon. Today, the Mustang is still a top competitor in the class, staying in production since its 1964 birth.

Ford Mustang Through the Years

Ford Mustang Generations

1st Generation (1964 – 1973)

First Generation Mustang

  • Between 1965 and 1967, Ford sold well over 1.5 million Mustangs.
  • The first generation can be found as a hard top, fastback, or convertible.
  • While the design theme of a long hood, blunt nose, and short rear stayed consistent, the first gen Mustang still transitioned over the years.
  • A variety of nameplates were born that possessed different styling and engines, such as the Boss 302, Boss 351, Shelby GT350, Shelby GT500, Mach 1, Cobra Jet, and KR.
  • Throughout the first generation, a huge selection of straight 6 and V8 engines were used in the classic Mustang.
  • Most of these cars had a 3-speed manual transmission.

2nd Generation (1974 – 1978)

Ford Mustang II

  • Often called “Mustang II”, this Mustang was both smaller and heavier, and was based on the Ford Pinto.
  • The goal was to return to the roots of the original car, however efficiency became the primary goal due to the 1973 oil crisis.
  • A 4-cylinder engine was now standard, but a 2.8L V6 was still available.
  • Despite the oil crisis, Ford still offered performance badges, such as the Cobra II and King Cobra.

3rd Generation (1979 – 1993)

3rd generation Mustang

  • Based on the Ford Fox platform, this Mustang lost some of its sporty flair, eliminating the sharp lines and edges of previous generations.
  • From 1979 – 1986, this pony car had 4 headlights, and from 1986 on it returned to 2 rounded trapezoidal headlights and added the “no-grille” fascia styling.
  • Electronic fuel injection replaced carburetors in 1986.
  • The base engine was still a 4-cylinder, but Ford eventually added a turbo 4-cylinder option.

4th Generation (1994 – 2004)


  • After 15 years of the 3rd generation, Patrick Shiavone redesigned the Mustang with a more aero-dynamic looking front and sporty sculpting, resurrecting some styling from early Mustangs.
  • Many believe this redesign saved the pony car from extinction.
  • The base engine was now a 3.8L V6, while the GT had a 4.6L V8 engine.
  • Popular performance nameplates included the Bullitt, Mach 1, and Cobra.

5th Generation (2005 – 2014)

2005 Ford Mustang

  • Resembling the fastback Mustangs of old, the 5th gen Mustang featured a wide grille with circular headlamps.
  • Many say the popularity of this generation inspired the return of the Camaro and Challenger.
  • The base model featured a 4.0L V6 engine, while the GT featured a 5.0L V8 engine.
  • There were a variety of performance options, like the Shelby GT500 with a 5.8L supercharged V8 that produces 662 hp!

6th Generation (2015 – now)

16MustangGT-BlackPackage_06_HR (1)

  • Unveiled in 2013, the current Mustang features a trapezoidal grille, aggressive hood sculpting, sharp headlamps, and more.
  • There are 3 engine options available: a 2.3L EcoBoost 4-cylinder engine, a 3.7L V6 engine, and a 5.0L V8.

Ford Mustang Fast Facts

  • Don’t call it a comeback. The Mustang has been in continuous production since the beginning.
  • Ford considered many names instead of Mustang: Comet, Allegro, Torino, Cheetah, Cougar Bronco, Colt, and Stiletto, to name a few.
  • Henry Ford II allegedly shot down the idea of the Mustang multiple times before deciding to produce this new breed of vehicle.
  • In 2003, Ford built the 300,000,000th – yes, that’s 300 MILLION – 13 years ago!
  • Ford apparently considered creating a station wagon Mustang.

Similar Competitive Models

Other Ford Performance Vehicles

It would take a large book to tell the complete story of the Ford Mustang through the years. It’s hard to say where the US automotive world would be without it. Want a Mustang of your own? Be sure to check out Carsforsale.com to find the best deals on vehicles near you.

Caroline Rex

She's a graphic designer by trade, but loves writing blog posts on the side. As a closet car fanatic, Caroline enjoy sprinkling knowledge about the unique ins and outs of the underdogs of the auto world. #neonsruletheworld

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