Ford’s top brass couldn’t have been more abruptly swept off their feet if an actual hurricane had hit the Dearborn headquarters when order began pouring for the Mustang. By the end of 1965 (the official first year for the Ford pony), around 680,000 units were assembled – nearly seven times over the initial predictions (hence the ‘category seven’ reference above).
The story of the nameplate is one debate among the brand’s fans: one version is that the car paid homage to the magnificent fighter plane of World War II, the North American Aviation P-51. Another tale is that one Ford high-ranking official (Robert J. Eggert, Ford Division market research manager) proposed the ‘Mustang,’ drawing inspiration from his own business of breeding quarter horses.
Whichever the origin of the name, the emblem made it clear that Ford’s heart stood with the untamable spirit of the Wild West. The new car was just the right offer for the young buyers. FoMoCo was so passionately courting. The strategy paid off with dividends – no other model in the world is more closely associated with rebellious youth than the Ford Mustang.
Almost six decades after its launch, the emblematic Ford is unquestionably one of the most sought-after classics, and gearheads won’t turn their head away from any Mustang, regardless of its state. Covered in rust and with one cylinder bank in the crusher or immaculate survivor with undeniable originality – any Mustang will at least get a long look from a passer-by.
Don’t take my words for granted – play the video and see the reaction of this owner of a Candy Apple Red Mustang notchback from 1967 after his filthy 20-year-barn-stored car gets a spa treatment. A detailing job worthy of the legendary nameplate – the result deserves a standing ovation. After 16 hours of scrubbing, washing, rinsing, wiping, erasing, vacuuming, and whatnot, the splendid Mustang shines again like new.
Well, almost like new – the paint is not original (and not a tremendous accomplishment, too; see how the pressure washer takes away the flaking layers of color), but the car will go through a complete restoration soon. Before the deep-cleaning operation, the owner didn’t even touch the 351-cubic-inch V8 engine (the 5.8-liter Cleveland).
When it came out, this Mustang was optioned with one of the three versions of the small-block offered that year, the 289-cube V8 (Ford’s famous 4.7-liter). The motor was tuned to three output levels, from the two-barrel 200-hp ‘Challenger’ and the four-barrel 225-hp ‘Challenger Special’ to the High-Output Cobra and its 4-V 271-hp muscle. For the sake of all that's eight-cylinder, let's note that the big-block, the Thunderbird Special 390-CID (6.4 liters) turned out 320 horses, thanks to its four-barrel carb and dual exhaust.
1967 saw the first significant alteration in the Mustang design, with the car becoming longer, wider, and heavier to accommodate the big-block. This Mustang has had three owners (the current one included), but we don't learn when the 351 Cleveland V8 made its way under the hood.
But before he can put the car on the road, he will do something about the seats since the mice ate through all the foam inside them during the two-decade barn retirement. Two of those varmints were still in the car when filming (probably looking for something else to chew on).