Mustang Turns 50!

mustang2Susan Frissell

Hard to believe that the Ford Mustang has been cruising the roads for 50 years. Eager to promote its historical milestone, Ford is planning to introduce the 2015 Mustang in the spring of 2014. This crafted  contemporary interpretation of the iconic car will be wearing a badge on the instrument panel that includes the galloping pony logo and the words “Mustang-Since 1964.”

To be built-as always-at Ford’s Flat Rock Assembly Plant, the 50th Anniversary Mustang has been built from the ground up, including all of its raw appeal associated with the pony car.

Revealed to the public around the world on December 5, the 50th Anniversary Mustang is loaded with innovative technology and ‘world class’ levels of performance. According to Jim Farley, VP of Ford global marketing, sales and service for Ford and Lincoln,  Ford has created a car that “symbolizes optimism and freedom for millions of people.”

mustang websiteWith an all-new shape and clean-sheet design, Mustang will offer a fastback and convertible, and will retain its familiar long-sculpted hood and short rear deck. Several key design features define the all-new Mustang and include a lower, wider stance with shorter roof height, wider rear fenders and track; a sleeker profile on the returning fastback, three-dimensional tri-bar taillamps with sequential turn signals, as well as a contemporary execution of the signature shark-bite front fascia and trapezoidal grille.

Mustang convertibles will offer a standard multilayer insulated cloth top, providing a more upscale appearance and quieter cabin. Lowering twice as fast as the current Mustang convertible top, the new cloth top has a sleeker profile when folded.

Information and controls on the Anniversary Mustang are more accessible and tactile, the cabin roomier and the car wider. The new rear suspension contributes to improved shoulder and hip room for passengers (appealing to the Baby Boomers perhaps?). For golfers, you will welcome a more usable trunk:  a new shape that will accommodate two golf bags.

Offering more options than in any other Mustang year, the 50thAnniversary model sports upgraded V-6 and V-8 engines, as well as an all-new 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine. Continuing is the Mustang GT, with updated 5.0-liter V-8 (420 hp.), valve train and cylinder heads, and new intake manifold to improve low-speed breathing for better fuel economy, idle stability and emissions.

As expected, the new 2015 Mustang will feature all-new technology, new front and rear suspension systems, new perimeter subframe, more predictable wheel control, powerful brakes and more. Innovative technology will provide drivers with enhanced information, control and connectivity. Such features include a push-button start to Ford’s SYNC and MyKey from Intelligent Access, plus available Track Apps, MyColor gauges and new Shaker Pro audio system. Customization is the key.

More advanced technology from Ford includes a stability control system tuned to maximize Mustang’s dynamic capabilities, launch control on the GT, and driver-assist features including Blind Spot Information System with cross-traffic alert and adaptive cruise control.

Those who are interested in tracking Mustang’s history throughout the years can go to Ford’s website http://ford.to/allnewmustang, or http://ford.to/FordMustang50. The 50-year milestone list can be found here, along with such trivia as interesting specs, and a timeline. For instance, over the years, Mustang has been as short as 175 inches, and as long as 189.5 inches. The wheelbase has gone from 96.2 inches to 109 inches and engines ranged from 2.3-liter 4-cylinder, all the way up to 420 cu. Inch big block V-8’s, as well as a variety of V-6 and V-8 engines.

Ford Archives provided the technical specs for the Mustangs over the years, 1965-2005, and old brochures are available. This writer was particularly interested in the Mustang iterations of the early seventies: The Mustang II models. One never sees these cars on the road, or for sale anywhere. They seem to have disappeared (maybe to some other country?). It’s possible they have little value to collectors.

In 1974, this completely redesigned second-generation Mustang hit the road; a radical departure from the 1973 model, the Mustang II arrived in dealerships just as the Middle East oil embargo caused gas prices to escalate. It was then that new safety and emission standards came on the scene, affecting all automobile manufacturers. Smaller and lighter than Mustangs of the past, the Mustang II came with a standard four-cylinder engine;mustang No V-8.

Although a lean time for big muscle car and performance car fans, the Mustang II was innovative for its time as the sales of small cars exploded from 23 percent in 1964 to more than 40 percent by the early 1970s. Engineered from the bottom up, the Mustang II debuted in the fall of 1973, and offered both a 2.3-liter, 4-cylinder and 2.8-liter, V-6 engine. Due to the car’s reduced weight, performance remained comparable to the previous generation Mustang.

Ford added a 302-cu. In. V-8 engine in 1975, and in 1977, a 302 V-8 with 247 lb. ft. torque. Featured on the popular Charlie’s Angels TV show, the Mustang II received good play and remained technologically advanced for its time, with standard rack-and-pinion steering, front disc brakes, well-appointed interiors and full instrumentation.

Named “Car of the Year” in 1974 by Motor Trend magazine, the Mustang II sold nearly 400,000 units in its first year and enjoyed a five-year run. Stickering at only $3,000, this version of the Mustang also offered a loaded Cobra II for about $4,800 in 1978.  This ‘forgotten” Mustang stood up to the competition and was a success by many standards.

Mark your calendar for the 2015 Mustang launch date: April 14, 2014.

 

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