An Introduction to the origin of the Ford Mustang.
Detroit muscle cars were in a class of their own. According to the automotive reviewers at the time, these cars were actually hot rods with factory warranties.
The Pony cars proved to be even better as these cars were acceptable daily drivers without sacrificing too much performance. As a matter of fact, the pony cars were the kind of muscle cars that you could drive to church, to take your kids to school, to go to the workplace, and to the drag strip by the weekend. Because of this very reason, the pony cars became a beacon light promoting muscle cars with day-to-day practicality.
The historians have credited the baby boomer generation and the American soldiers returning home with huge pay in their pockets, as the people who asked for brutal performance machines that were later known as the muscle cars.
But what happened is that during the times of World War II, all the brightest engineers in the Soviet Union, the US, the Allied forces, and the axis forces, were trying their best to improve the performance and the efficiency of their engines, traction systems. They were working on new alloys to offer better structural rigidity and more efficient armors to guard their soldiers against the enemy. To get a better competitive advantage over the enemy, every one of them was trying to figure out what makes the other product the better. To figure things out they were reverse engineering on the captured tanks, airplanes, cars, etc. The allies were sharing their knowledge with each other while the axis forces did the same.
After world war 2, they used all that combined knowledge to improve the everyday machinery that they used in their lives. These people created high-performance engines, better transmission systems with butter-smooth precision when compared to the systems that were made a few years ago, better-tuned suspension to improve handling, aerodynamics, and electronics.
When the product planners, advertising companies, market researchers, and the corporate management realized that there’s a market for street hotrods with European style body proportions, they gave the green light for the engineers and the designers to work on the cars that will become legendary in the times to come. But the rules forbade them from creating what they wanted to create. Yet, they thrived on modifying, experimenting, and reverse engineering to bypass the enforced laws governing automotive racing.
Success in the racing led customers into dealerships to get cars powered by specific engines that were used in the Daytona or Le Mans. Yet, for some, it was the looks that mattered, not just outright performance or specifications.
American Motor Association (AMA) issued a statement recommending that its members – the divisions of the GM, Ford, and others to refrain from participating in motorsports or from using any kind of speed events or even promoting performance-related specs. The GM did so not to give another reason for the Federal Government which was already threatening to break apart the GM because of the almost monopoly market share they had at the time. However, the management at the Plymouth, Dodge, Pontiac, and Chevrolet managers became successful at bypassing the laws by claiming that they had no control over their customer activities after the initial sales.
Ford Motor Company however obeyed the law to play the role of a good corporate citizen. Henry Ford the second or “The Deuce” as the people know him, was a very conservative man and believed that he must set an example with his actions, therefore, marched upon to the tune of his moral code. His most beloved mentor and colleague, Ford Division Vice President and the General Manager, Robert McNamara, never saw value in competing against other car manufacturers when it comes to outright performance. As long as they could offer a dependable, reliable vehicle at a competitive price within an acceptable profit margin, that’s all Mr. McNamara ever cared about.
Robert S. McNamara arrived at a position at Ford after World War II. He was one of the many officers who kept applying a system of statistical analysis to keep track of details related to wartime aviation. They were known as the Inquisition squad or sometimes as the whiz kids because they always asked countless questions of everyone in every department as they were trying to order onto Ford’s post-wartime production. Some left after accomplishing their mission, but some stayed and rose through the ranks of the organization for their discipline and mission-driven attitude.
McNamara’s calculating attitude made him more warm-hearted towards practical utilitarian purpose-driven automotive products. The Ford Falcon, one of McNamara’s contributions to the Ford Motor Company, sold well. Ford introduced the Falcon on October 3rd, 1959. Within a month, Ford Falcon sales soared and humiliated its rivals such as the Chrysler Valiant and the Chevrolet Corvair. 417,174 Ford Falcon cars were sold in the first year. Due to this success, Mr. McNamara was promoted to the position of President at Ford Motor Company.
Yet, some people wondered whether they could make “the king of the compacts” even better.
Lee Iacocca, a mechanical engineer with a decent knowledge of marketing and sales was one of them. Lucky for him, exactly eight months later, right after the presidential elections of the November of 1960, the newly elected president John Kennedy asked McNamara to join his cabinet as the new Defense secretary. He accepted and went to Washington D.C by the month of December.
Lee Iacocca was appointed by the Ford division general manager by the board of directors to fill the void created with McNamara’s departure. He already had formed a club of Ford employees who gather together to think about the future of the company. This after-hours think group of specialists was known as the Fairlane Committee.
They updated the Falcon and by the April of 1961, they introduced the Falcon Futura. McNamara’s next idea was the Cardinal, a front-wheel-drive compact car powered by a V4 engine. But Lee Iacocca thought that the specs of this car were too European. So, he ended up convincing the Deuce to make it only available for European sales only.
The Fairlane committee launched themes like the “Lively ones” and the “Total Performance”. The committee made another appeal to the Deuce, pointing out GM’s and Chrysler’s over-hyped racing participation and wins, to convince him enough to abandon his commitment to the AMA performance and competition ban. The Fairlane committee also returned the Ford Motor Company to stock car racing and drag racing. They also teamed up with Colin Chapman, the founder of Lotus Sports Cars, to provide engines for his Lotus cars to enter the Indianapolis 500.
Marketing Surveyor’s noted Lee Iacocca that the consumers were nostalgic about the two-seat Thunderbird. Yet, he was convinced that limited passenger capacity may cause sales reductions, after monitoring the sales of the Chevrolet Corvair Monza. The Ford Futura which was made as an answer to the Corvair Monza though looked sporty enough to convince some buyers were still powered by the same old 101 horsepower inline-six engine. It needed more power to enhance its image as a serious performer. So, they bored out a thin wall 221 cubic inch V8 engine which is capable of displacing 260 cubic inches, and they proceeded to install it on the Futura Sprint. This may not sound much, yet it was a turning point for the Ford Motor Company. It was a new identity for the company, a company that considered itself as a safety company rather than a performance automaker.
With the success of the Futura Sprint, Ford embraced the total performance theme. Ford ended up winning the Indianapolis and claimed stock car series titles and several drag race championships. This success convinced Lee Iacocca to create something even better. He was convinced that the next iteration of the Falcon would sell even better if it possessed certain looks.
While being interviewed by Richard Johnson for his book “Six men who built the modern Auto Industry.”, he confessed that he was very impressed with the long hood and short deck body proportions since 1946 after seeing a Continental Mark I driven around by a Ford recruiter while studying at the University. And he wanted to demand something special with the aforementioned body proportions.
He commanded the head of Ford Motor Company’s Styling section, Gene Bordinat, to adopt the long hood and short deck body proportions with the looks of a two-seater sports car with enough space for four people inside. His requirements further mentioned having a decent luggage space.
As the story goes on, Don Frey, a member of the Fairlane Committee tried so hard to get the approval of the Deuce as he kept rejecting the proposal for the new car. Since Deuce had full authority, without his permission, they couldn’t get anything past the proposal stage. Don Frey was at the design studio with his friends looking at some new proposals when the Deuce walked up behind him and whispered in his ear something not so much an endorsement.
“Frey, I’m tired of your fucking car. I’m going to approve it this afternoon, and it’s your arse if it doesn’t sell”. That’s the exact words the Deuce used according to Don Frey in his interview with Richard Johnson for his book, explaining what was going on behind the screen. He further explained that Deuce personally asked him to increase the legroom for the passengers at the back.
The first-generation Mustang was a reconfigured and re-bodied Falcon. The time interval between the designing stage and product stage was only 18 months, half the amount for any Ford product.
1964 Ford Mustang
The Mustang was released to the public on April 17 of 1964. The advertising agency in charge of promoting the Mustang booked exclusive television commercials on CBS, NBC, and ABC to get approximately 29 million views. Within a couple of days, thousands of newspaper stories ran on the new Mustang.
On the first sales day, Ford dealers sold 22,000 Mustangs and by New Year’s Eve 1964, the total reached 263,434 and by the end of business on April 17, 1965, Mustang had sold 418,812 units in its first-year run. Not only Iacocca had beaten McNamara by 1638 cars, but he also ended up creating a new genre of muscle cars. For the lack of a better term, this new genre of automobiles was known as the pony cars.
Though the rivals tried to keep up, things only got better for the Ford Motor Company. Since most of the internal mechanical parts were the same as the parts used on the Falcon, they didn’t have to spend money on huge development and fixed costs normally associated with the development of a new model. They only based the financial planning money on 75,000 units per year so the cars despite the appealing $2,331 base price. When the sales reached 500,000 within the first year, they couldn’t keep up with counting money.
The unexpected commercial success of the Mustang leads to vast profits. Due to this, the product planners and engineers were interested in special variations of the Mustang. The marketing department at the Ford Motor Company wanted a super deluxe interior and air conditioning to increase the ride comfort.
Bob Nesgard, a senior chassis engineer at Ford, had worked on the two-seat, two-door, mid-engine roadster concept that was unveiled back in 1962 as the Ford Mustang I. Though the public reaction to it was positive, the Ford Motor Company wasn’t interested in producing the car and canceled the project.
When the production of the Ford Mustang car began, Bob and his friends were eager to give some of the sporty characteristics of the original Mustang I concept car. So, they kept pushing for rear disk brakes and an independent rear suspension. Lee Iacocca approved a fastback concept designed by the designer team back in May 1964. This fastback made it to the production immediately. Production commenced at the Dearborn River Rouge plant and San Jose plant, as a 1965 model. However, the independent rear suspension didn’t arrive under the car, because the angled rear windows added enough weight over the rear axle to improve handling.
The new fastback model proved to be hugely successful among the Ford enthusiasts.
The Shelby Mustangs
Though the Mustangs are considered as proper Muscle cars, they were actually Pony cars. Meaning, they were not all about downright performance. Due to this reason, John Bishop, president of the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), wasn’t convinced enough that it is a true sports car. Dan Frey, fed up with this came up with another plan.
He had invited an entrepreneur and a former professional racecar driver, Carroll Shelby into Ford World HQ back in 1962 to negotiate regarding a request for Ford V8 engines. Carroll was looking for an American high-performance V8 to install in a British sports car made by AC Motors. Chevrolet was his first choice, but they turned him down as they didn’t want another rival to their already top-performing Chevrolet Corvette.
Carroll Shelby is not any ordinary man. He was a chicken farmer turned race car driver. He had won the brutal 24 hours Le Mans in 1959 behind the wheels of an Aston Martin DBR1. He had won many competitions on American soil as well.
Carroll Shelby had raced privately owned Ferraris in America, yet he loathed the famous Enzo Ferrari due to some stereotypical comments by the man himself regarding his American origin. Henry Ford II, the Deuce, loathed the Italian for his own reasons. The Ferrari was on the verge of bankruptcy when Ford tried to make a deal to purchase it upfront. Don Frey, who is fluent in Italian, managed to negotiate for months. Prices and sales conditions varied with every passing week. Eventually, the Deuce and his top executives with their lawyers went to meet Enzo Ferrari to seal the deal in person. However, at the last moment possible, negotiations fell apart after Enzo Ferrari chose to walk away from the negotiations table as it was clear that the Ford management wouldn’t agree to give him control over the Ferrari racing team. The final negotiated price is said to be $13 million. The Deuce considered this as a personal slight and recalled his team and told them to build a car that is way better than Ferrari could ever make. Both Carroll Shelby and Deuce being slighted by Enzo Ferrari, their partnership to take down the common enemy was like a match made in heaven.
So, Shelby was given his engines and he installed them on the AC cars that he got from Britten, and the Shelby AC Cobra was born. Shelby AC Cobra won the SCCA manufacturers championship in their first year. Meanwhile, in England, a small team worked on developing Deuce’s Ferrari beater. This Ferrari beater was eventually christened as the Ford GT40, a reference to its roof height. Ford Advanced Vehicles ran the initial competition efforts. But they couldn’t get the car to handle well especially in high-speed runs. The performance and speed were not up to their expectations. Considering Shelby AC Cobras’ success, Don Frey invited Carroll Shelby to improve their car. Eventually, he was asked to manage the Ford Racing program as well.
Shelby Mustang GT 350
1966 ford mustang
For the Mustang, Shelby learned from the SCCA president, John Bishop, that the Ford Mustang racer had to be a two-seater with either a modified suspension or a modified engine. So, Shelby removed the back seats, installed a roll bar to improve body roll, a modified suspension system instead of a modified engine as the current V8 engine is powerful enough to get the job done.
Shelby and his team of engineers used the experience that they got while making the Shelby Cobra to further improve the suspension and handling of the Mustang sports car. They were joking about what kind of name would be suitable for this car. Eventually, they decided to call it the 350 GT, a reference to an estimated distance from one of their buildings to the other. SCCA approved the cars as they met all the necessary parameters. The Mustangs were racing in the SSCA B production category. The GT350 cars were also successful just like the Shelby AC Cobras. The Mustangs won five out of six SCCA regional divisions and the national championship.
Shelby Mustang GT 350H
Hertz, a rental car company operated a sports car club. They rented Chevrolet Corvettes to qualified customers from a few dozen city locations including all major airports. A friend of Shelby, Peyton Cramer, found out that the Hertz had their cars painted in a distinctive black and gold color scheme. So, he scheduled a meeting with Hertz executives and marketing personal and he had a GT350 painted black with gold stripes. This convinced Hertz to order 1003 GT350 cars in 1966. However, they requested that Shelby should add an H to the designation, making it GT350H. Most of the rented cars were painted in black and gold, but nearly 200 arrived in various color combinations. The first 85 cars came with four-speed manual gearboxes, the others came with automatics as Hertz insisted on automatics for drivers older than 25. The GT350H was rented by Hertz for $17 per day and 17 cents per mile.
The Mustangs cars made in 1966 came in different trim levels. The base Mustang came with a 200 cubic inch inline-six 120 horsepower engine. Three variations of the 289 cubic inch V8 were offered each making 200, 225, or 271 horsepower. Shelby GT350 Mustangs and the GT350H cars delivered 306 horsepower. Paxton supercharger-installed cars were also available as a one-year-only option, delivering 390 horsepower.
Bad consumer feedback
Though the Shelby Mustangs were successful both commercially and outperforming the rivals, these cars were plagued with quality control and customer complaints regarding certain aspects of the cars such as the ride comfort and too much engine noise. Eventually, modifications were made to reduce the noise, vibrations, and harshness of the 1966 Mustangs. Sales increased due to this. Yet buyers still complained about not having a distinctive look for such a distinctively high-performance car.
Ford redesigned the body panels for 1967, widening and lengthening it slightly. A 390 cubic inch V8 was also available as an option. This engine made 320 horsepower. Shelby’s new 428 cubic inch engine-powered GT500 cars delivered 355 horsepower.
To address the complaints of people about Shelby Mustangs not having distinctive looks, for the 1967 model year the Shelby Mustangs were given bright headlights mounted together in the center of the grille and red lamps on the B pillar along with the fastback models. These red lamps resembled the markers that the racers used to identify their cars to pit crews and timing crew during nighttime racing. However, the Department of Transportation pointed out that the red lights projected forward and to the side is an option available only for the Emergency services vehicles. Also, the center-mounted high-energy headlights didn’t meet the requirements list either. So, Carroll Shelby removed the red lamps on the B pillars and spread the center headlights to the corners of the front grille.
Due to some quality control issues, Ford decided to reclaim the GT assembly from Shelby’s factory in California, moving it back to Michigan for 1968. The Ford division kept tight control on design, options, and quality. The 1968 model year marked a record level of popularity because of the quality and the variations that were offered to customers with different needs.
For 1968, the American Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) updated the methodology used for quoting engine horsepower from gross figures to net ratings. Because of this, the power outputs were registered lower than in the previous year. Ford introduced a 302 cubic inch V8 to replace the base 195 horsepower 289 cubic inch V8 engine. The 302 was coupled with four-barrel carburetion to deliver 230 horsepower. The 390 cubic inches V8 engine with an output of 280 horsepower was also available.
The bigger displacement 427 cubic inch V8 delivered 390 horsepower while the 428 Cobra jet engine delivered 335 horsepower. 428 Cobra Jet engine was derived from the Police Interceptor power plant. The Shelby GT350 came with a tuned 289 cubic-inch V8 delivering 306 horsepower and the GT500 came with the 335 horsepower 428 Cobra Jet package.
1968 1/2 428 Cobra Jet Ford Mustang
In 1968, in the mid-model year, Ford offered a new option for Mustangs. The 428 Cobra Jet engine is $420.96 extra. This 1968 428 Cobra Jet Mustang is considered the starting point of performance-oriented street racing Mustangs. The 428 Cobra jet Mustang looked like an attempt by the Ford to intercept the rival road warriors and the press and the public didn’t warm up to it much at first because it looked weaker when comparing with the 427 big-block Camaros, solid shifter 426 Street Hemi cars and the Pontiacs at the time.
The low-rise aluminum intake manifold that originally appeared in 390 Police Interceptor package, 735 cfm four-barrel Holley carburetor, mild hydraulic cam with 270/290 degrees intake exhaust duration mated with a 428 cubic inch V8 didn’t look much on spec sheets back then. The 438 Cobra Jet Mustangs delivered only 335 horsepower at 5400 rpm and 440 lb-ft of torque at 3400rpm.
The R code 428 Cobra Jet Mustangs came with a standard functional hood scoop and a ram air intake system that had a flapper on the air cleaner that opened when you push the accelerator pedal to the floor. There was also an option package with a heavy-duty 80-amp battery, a 55-amp alternator, dual exhausts, a heavy-duty cooling system, chrome engine exterior bits, and cast aluminum rocker covers.
However, Ford succeeded in creating a true competitive road warrior Mustang as it was capable of running the quarter-mile at 13.2 seconds at a top speed of 107 mph without any tuning. The car weighed 3400 pounds and there wasn’t a way that Ford was capable of achieving that kind of performance with only 335 horsepower. The official power rating that Ford gave for the 428 Cobra Jet package is questionable, but it worked well for the drag racing enthusiasts.
They fell into the favorable car category under the NHRA rules and accomplished to dominate all the competition in every race they ran. They were very capable on the streets as well thanks to the generous amount of torque produced by the engine. The car was capable of delivering a good deal of more power with a little bit of tuning.
Ford build the car in a special order. Only 1299 1/2 428 Cobra Jet Ford Mustangs were made for the entire 1968.
1969 Ford Mustang Mach1, Boss 302, Boss 429
For the 1969 model year, Ford widened and lengthened the Mustang again and offered a notchback coupe, a fastback, and a convertible as well. A new trim package called the Grande was available for the notchback coupe. The Grande package came with upgraded interior and exterior materials that they had proposed back in 1965. The Performance packages were the GT, Mach 1, Boss 302, and Boss 429. The package names were references for the trim features and engine displacements.
The engine options were a 200 cubic inch 115 horsepower inline-six for the base Mustang, 302 cubic inch V8 mated with a two-barrel carburetor delivering 220 horsepower, 290 horsepower 302 cubic inch V8 coupled with a four-barrel carburetor was available for the Boss 302 package, and a new 351 cubic inch V8 was also available. The 351 cubic inch V8 was mated with either a four-barrel carburetor or a two-barrel carburetor with the delivery of either 250 horsepower or 290 horsepower. The top-of-the-line Q code 428 Super Cobra Jet with Ram Air induction, a factory-delivered drag racing engine, delivered 360 horsepower while the Z code Boss 429 delivered 375 horsepower.
The 1969 Mustang Boss 302 was designed to compete with the Chevrolet Z/28 Camaro in the Tras Am racing series. The Boss 302 package was advertised as the closest thing to a road-legal Tras Am Mustang.
Ford suspended production for Shelby GT350 and GT500 as the demand waned. The 1969-year models that weren’t sold were eventually sold as the 1970-year models. These cars were given new vehicle identification number tags to comply with the requirements of the State Motor Vehicles Department.
1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302, Boss 429
In the 1970-year Mustangs came with different power plant options. The 302 V8 delivering 220 horsepower, 351 cubic inch V8 mated with a two-barrel carburetor delivering 250 horsepower while the 351 cubic inch V8 mated with a four-barrel carburetor delivering 300 horsepower. The Q code 428 Boss package and the Z code Boss 429 packages delivered the same performance as the previous year.
To meet NASCAR’s homologation requirements, Ford needed to put 500 cars on the street with the 429 cubic-inch V8 engine that they developed for the tournament. Ford ended up building 858 Boss 429 cars in 1969.
The Boss 429 package was actually a homologation featuring 429 NASCAR racing engines in the Mustang shell. The huge engine with gigantic ports and valves with a tiny 735 cfm four-barrel carburetor attached to it in an attempt to make it street legal without breaking the Federal emission controls, the Boss 429 turned out to be a not that good car in stock form.
The 429 Mustang would hardly run on the street and it was slow. Driving a Boss 429 on the street felt like driving a 289 engine-powered Mustang due to the lack of low-end torque. Unless you got it up and running over 4000 rpm it barely kept up with the rivals on the street.
It couldn’t beat the rivals in its class without the tuning treatments from the experts.
Due to these reasons, Boss 429 received a negative press review.
The 1969 to 1970 Shelby Mustangs were the last of the original generation. Ford had taken the production of the cars in their own factories and addressed the issues and requirements of the buyers. Because of this, Shelby’s involvement was minimal. So, these final cars were considered as a little more than just another optional performance package. Nonetheless, they were extremely successful as both daily driven cars as well as a drag strip speed machine.
The most popular Mustang for 1970 was the Mustang Boss 302 which proved to be a reliable, exceptional handling, well-balanced performance car.
1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1, Boss 302, Boss 351, and Boss 429.
For 1971, the Mustang has enlarged again. This Mustang was only available either as a fastback or a convertible. The 1971 Mustang was available with a 250 cubic inch inline-six with the delivery of 145 horsepower for the base model, 302 cubic inches V8 delivered 210 horsepower, the 351 cubic inch V8 mated with two-barrel carburetor delivered 240 horsepower while the Cobra Jet version was mated with four-barrel carburetor produced a 285 horsepower. The Boss 351 package delivered 330 horsepower while the Boss 429 made 370 horsepower.
The Boss 351 is considered a mix between Mach 1 and Boss 302. The Boss 351 proved to be one of the quickest cars on the market at the time.
Beginning of the end of an era
Meanwhile, something drastic was happening. The Auto Insurance companies had ended up convincing the legislators at Washington to charge premium Insurance fees from drivers belonging to a certain age group depending on the type of car they purchased. So, most of the youngsters who bought themselves a sports car were charged annual fees equal to half or more of the purchase price of the car if the manufacturers rated engine output above a certain level. This discouraged most of the potential muscle car purchasers from purchasing one. After all the demographics showed that the youth buyers were the ones who were crazy about cars.
To worsen things up, Ralph Nader, a consumer rights activist, accused Chevrolet Corvair of being unsafe at any speed, and he highlighted the fact both in his safety campaigns as well as in his book. This forced Congress to take note of the possible cause of ever-increasing traffic accidents.
Due to these reasons, Ford followed the trend in 1972
Ford had no option rather play it to the tune of the market that was shifting rapidly. So, they introduced an inline-six engine for the base model with an output of just 98 horsepower. The most powerful Q code High power 351 cubic inches Cleveland V8 mated with a four-barrel carburetor produced just 266 horsepower.
All the rival manufacturers ended up reducing the power output of their cars to comply with the current market demand. The convertibles were also disappearing because the carmakers were convinced that open-top cars were the next on the list of Washington legislative officers.
By the mid-1973, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) notified the world that they are going to punish the allies of Israel by reducing the production of oil by 5 percent with each passing month until Israel withdrew from the occupied territories belongs to Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Palestine.
The US at the time imported more than 25% of the crude oil needed for annual consumption. Due to this, the threat posed by OPEC was a significant blow to the consumerist US. Eventually, gasoline prices at the Gas stations began to climb, making the Cobra Jet or the Cleveland engine-powered Mustangs costly to run in the day-to-day life.
Things only got worse when OPEC decided not to sell any crude oil to any nation that had supported Israel in its conflicts with the surrounding Arabic countries. As the biggest supporter of Israel at the time, this was meant to be a direct blow to the US and it was. The inflated price of the crude barrel settled temporarily at $11.65 in December. Gasoline prices went up from 38 cents to 84 cents per gallon between October 1973 and March 1974.
Muscle cars had a consumption of six to seven miles per gallon. They were too expensive for the youth. The market asked for a solution to this problem.
Henry Ford II and Lee Iacocca recalled a significant shareholder of the Ford, Anna Muccioli, asking a question from them several years earlier. Anna Muccioli, a practical woman, asked the Deuce and Lee Iacocca during an annual meeting in March 1968, why they can’t make a compact sports car without making them bigger and bigger. Being reminded about this conversation, the Deuce realized that his company always tried to build the kind of a car that they will end up selling most of to the general public. This meant the end of the lifetime of the beloved original Mustang.
Mustang fun facts
1. The most powerful mustang offered in the early years was the GT version equipped with the L code version of the 289 cubic inches V8 engine. These are the most sought after.
2. The K code engine produced 271 horsepower thanks to the solid-lifter camshaft, 600 cfm carburetors, and a hotter ignition.
3. In 1967, a big block-powered Shelby GT500 was introduced to the ever-growing Mustang fan base. This is considered the first true Mustang Muscle car.
4. Even though the GT 350 was also available as a 1968 model year car, most of the buyers went on to purchase a GT500 car that came with an even more powerful engine.
5. Back in 1967, Shelby installed an extra pair of headlights in the center of the grille for his Shelby Mustang. However, this was against the laws of the Department of transportation, so the lights were moved out of the edges of the grille early in the production run.
6. The best version of the GT 500 is the high-performance GT500 Super Snake. Only one was ever made.
7. The top-performing ShelbyGT500KR was the top dog Mustang in 1968.
8. A Shelby convertible was offered for the first time in 1968. Not just the GT350, but also the GT500KR.
9. The Super Cobra Jet package was aimed at the buyers who wanted a car that would be a terror in the quarter-mile drag races.
10. The 4289 cubic inch engine powering the Boss 429 was an underperformer and had a big potential to achieve a lot more than it delivered.
11. To keep up with the Chevrolet Camaro, Ford introduced special editions of the Mustang such as the California special.
12. The California Special had a different rear-end treatment.
13. The High-Country Special, a special edition of the Mustang, featured a higher state of tune for regions with higher elevation.
14. The Hurst a car rental company commissioned Shelby to build a special variant for its fleet use. These cars were then rented for people to use within the New York City limits.