Ford Celebrates the Mustang's 45th Birthday
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The Detroit-based automaker will celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Ford Mustang with a four-day party in Birmingham, Alabama. Taking advantage of this occasion, Ford wants to take a look to the glorious past the five generations of Mustang had, starting with the years 1964 to 1974.
"When the Mustang was unveiled, the reaction was so positive that there was no doubt it was going to be a success," recalls Joe Oros, chief designer of Ford's original pony car.
The Ford Mustang was introduced to the public at the New York World's Fair in Flushing Meadows, Queens on April 17, 1964 and for many drivers, it was love at first sight. The 1964 1/2 Mustang (called like this because it was launched at an unusual point in the year) had a starting price of $2,368, which was extremely cheap even then. 22,000 Mustang orders were taken on the first day and sales reached 417,000 in the car's first 12 months on the market, which exceeded the Detroit-based automaker's expectations that was hoping to sell about 100,000 a year. In the next two years, Mustang sales reached one million.
"We built the first prototype in an experimental garage, and employees flooded the place to see it," said Don Frey, product planning manager for the original Ford Mustang. "Their reaction was spectacular, and it was very revealing to us. We knew the car was going to be roaring success from the start."
The success could be explained by the fact that the Mustang satisfied each customer's expectations. The original Mustangs were available in three body styles - convertible, hardtop or fastback - with an extensive list of options to live up to most exquisite tastes. The Ford Mustang could have been an economical "base" car, a macho high-performance car or a luxury car.
"We were told to design a car that the ladies would love that the men would love just as much, and that's exactly what we did," said Oros.
The early Mustangs have starred in hundreds of famous films to date, beginning in 1964 with the James Bond movie "Goldfinger", in which Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 chased a white Mustang convertible.
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