Did you ever drive a Ford Mustang? How about back in the early days, were you one of the lucky ones that had the new mustang when it first debuted? Most people dreamed of owning a Mustang one day, but were more likely relegated to driving a Vega or a Gremlin! Well, maybe not that bad off, but a Mustang was a dream for many people. The unofficial “working man’s Thunderbird” was a masterpiece when it was first unveiled.
The Ford Mustang was officially unveiled by Henry Ford II at the World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York, on April 17, 1964. Exactly 57 years ago today, as we write this. The Mustang continues to be an iconic car, particularly the older models.
That same day, the new car also debuted in Ford showrooms across America and almost 22,000 Mustangs were immediately snapped up by buyers. Did you know it was named for a World War II fighter plane? The Mustang was the first of a type of vehicle that came to be known as a “pony car.” Ford sold more than 400,000 Mustangs within its first year of production, far exceeding sales expectations.
The Mustang was conceived as a “working man’s Thunderbird,” according to Ford. The first models featured a long hood and short rear deck and carried a starting price tag of around $2,300. A new 2021 Mustang today starts at about $21,000. While the form is still there, the 2021 Mustang Shelby gt500 is a far cry from that sweet 1964 model.
The car’s launch generated great interest. It was featured on the covers of Newsweek and Time magazines and the night before it went on sale, the Mustang was featured in commercials that ran simultaneously on all three major television networks. One buyer in Texas reportedly slept at a Ford showroom until his check cleared and he could drive his new Mustang home.
The same year it debuted, the Mustang appeared on the silver screen in the James Bond movie “Goldfinger.” A green 1968 Mustang 390 GT was famously featured in the 1968 Steve McQueen movie “Bullitt,” in a car chase through the streets of San Francisco. Since then, Mustangs have appeared in hundreds of movies.
Within three years of its debut, some 500 Mustang fan clubs had cropped up. In March 1966, the 1 millionth Mustang rolled off the assembly line. In honor of the Mustang’s 35th anniversary in 1999, the U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp commemorating the original model. In 2004, Ford built its 300 millionth car, a 2004 Mustang GT convertible 40th anniversary model.
The value of those 1964 Mustangs have certainly increased since its debut. How about $165,000 for a nice 1964 Mustang convertible today?
So, would you rather have the 1964 version, or the souped up 2021 model?? Or just the money to buy that sweet vintage car!
From The History Channel and local reporting