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Warbird Digest

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The Ford Mustang
Mustang Chronology
Mustang Chronology
Mustang History Hilights
  • 1962 project code named T-5
  • Robert S. McNamara credited with concept
  • Lee Iacocca was Ford marketing director
  • Names considered:
    • Cheetah, Puna, Thunderbird II, Cougar, Colt
    • Special Falcon, Torino, and Mustang
  • 100,000 new Mustangs sold in the first 90 days!
  • 160,000 sold by the end of 1964


  • 1st Generation Mustangs
  • 1964 1/2 through 1966
    • First Mustang unveiled on 17 April of 1964
    • Base price: $2,360.00
    • First day orders: 22,000!
    • Cars made before September of 1964 are considered 1964 1/2
    • 1964 1/2 models included only the convertible and coupe
    • Fastback was introduced in the 1965 model year
    • Engine options were:
      • 260 2bbl V-8 (early)
      • 120 Horsepower 200 I-6 (4 lug wheels)
      • 200 Horsepower 289 2bbl V-8 (C-Code)
      • 225 Horsepower 289 4bbl V-8 (A-Code)
      • 271 Horsepower 289 V-8 (K-Code Hipo 289)
    • California starts producing thermactor exhaust system (smog)
    • Carroll Shelby introduced his GT-350's in fastback model
    • Nov. 1965, Hertz contracts for 1,000 Shelby GT-350H models
    • GT package debuts in mid April of 1965
    • By the end of the first year of sales, 417,000 were sold!
    • By March 1966, over 1 million units sold
    • Plants in Dearborn MI, San Jose CA, and Metuchen NJ are used.

  • 1967 through 1968
    • Slightly larger cars, wider and longer
    • Sprint 200 sold many (decked-out 200cid I-6)
    • Big block 390 V-8s are now available and big sellers
    • 1967 Engine Options:
      • Code U: 200 cid I-6, 120 hp
      • Code C: 289 cid V-8, 200 hp
      • Code A: 289 cid V-8, 225 hp
      • Code K: 289 cid V-8, 271 hp
      • Code S: 390 cid V-8, 320 hp
    • 1968: Good-bye to the trusty 289 and begin the 302
    • 250 cid I-6 added
    • 302 V-8 comes with 230 HP or 250 HP
    • 390 V-8 pumps out 270 HP or 325 HP
    • Shelby GT-350 was joined by the GT-500 (big block) in this era
    • Shelby offered 3 engines and 7 different colors, and convertible
    • Shelby's "King of the Road" GT-500KR debuts
    • Intro of the 428 Cobra Jet with 360 HP
    • Optional dealer-added 427 with 390 hp for $622 upgrade
    • "Specials" arrive: California, High Country, Blue Bonnet, Twister
    • Steve McQueen drives a 1968 fastback in the movie "Bullitt"

  • 1969 through 1970
    • Even larger cars
    • New design, 4 inches longer
    • Four new models: Mach I, Grande, Boss 302, Boss 429
    • Body styles: Sportsroof, Coupe, Grande, Convertible, Grabber
    • Engines:
      • I-6 cyl. still available in 200 and 250 cid
      • 302 V-8 starts with 210 HP
      • Boss 302 is introduced with 290 HP 302
      • 351 Windsor debut 250-290 HP (grown up 302)
      • 390 pumps out 320 HP with 4v carb
      • 428 CJ comes with 335 HP
      • Boss 429 is powered with 375 HP 429 cid
    • Shelby's last year is 1970
    • 1970 Boss 302 and 429 phased out
    • Last of the "smaller" Mustangs

  • 1971 through 1973
    • The largest (and heaviest) Mustangs
    • Boss 429 and Boss 302 are replaced by Boss 351
    • Engines:
      • 250 cid is only I-6 (145 HP)
      • 302 cid V-8, 210 HP
      • 351 Cleveland comes with 240-285 HP
      • Boss 351 produces 330 HP
      • 429 cid 370-375 HP
    • 1972 - no more Boss cars or engines
    • 1972 Mach I powered with 351C 275 HP
    • The age of the classic Mustang has drawn to an end
    • Some say it ended in 1970, but how about the 1971 Boss 351?

  • 2nd Generation Mustangs
  • 1974 through 1978
    • Fuel Economy Year - low power
    • Enter the dark ages of the Mustang, the muscle car is out
    • Mustang is now known as Mustang II
    • Little more than a pumped up Pinto
    • Mustang Enthusiasts start hiding
    • 4 banger starts with 87 HP! (YUK)
    • Upgrade to V-6 and get 97 HP! (YIPPI)
    • Believe it or not, there was a V-6 Mach I
    • 1975 return of the V-8 302 but with only 133 HP
    • "T" tops and Ghias
    • 1978 "King Cobra" with 302 V-8, labeled 5.0L

  • 3rd Generation Mustangs
  • 1979 through 1993
    • "Fox and the Hounds"
    • Ford tries to bring back the Mustang
    • 1979 model still ugly
    • 4-cyl still in line-up
    • Performance slowly on a comeback
    • 1984 shows some high performace with SVO Team
    • Ford goes after the "Beamer" crowd with high-tech
    • 302 still only gives out 175 HP but performs
    • Mustang SVO does 1/4 mile in 15.5 and 137 mph ... not bad
    • Saleen cars squeak out 170 mph
    • 1985: Enter the "5.0 Mustangs"
    • 5.0 HO EFI V-8 produced 175-205 HP
    • 1987: fuel injected engines
    • Mustangs are fun to drive again
    • SVO dropped in 1987 from poor sales
    • HP incresed 25 with new exhaust to 225 HP
    • 1993: Saleen celebrates last of the "Fox" Mustangs

  • 4th Generation Mustangs
  • 1994 through 1998
    • New look Mustangs began work in 1989
    • Smooth lines on the new SN-95 "Fox4" Platform
    • 72% parts on car were changed
    • 30-year anniversary
    • SVT Mustang Cobra R has 330 HP 351W
    • V-6 3.8L pumps out 145 HP
    • 5.0 V-8 still around until 1996
    • 1994 Indy Pace Car has 235 HP 5.0, faster look
    • 1996 Intro of the new 4.6L SOHC
    • Many mods available (factory and other)
    • Turbos and blown motors
    • Cars are fun to drive, but smaller inside than my '66

  • 1999 through 2004
    • New look Mustangs but still using SN-95 Platform
    • "New Edge" Mustang with sharp desing lines
    • 35 Years!
    • SVT Mustang Cobra R has 385 HP
    • V-6 3.8L pumps out 190 HP
    • 5.0 V-8 ends
    • 4.6 DOHC V-8 capable of 320 hp
    • 2001: Special Release "Bullitt GT"
    • 2003: Return of the Mach 1
      • Shaker Hood Scoop
      • 305 hp V-8
      • Mach 1 Styling
    • 2004: The 300 Millionth Mustang is built!!
    • Closing of the Deaborn Michigan Plant

  • 5th Generation Mustangs
  • 2005 through ???
    • New look Mustangs (D2C Platform)
    • The "New" "Old" look is very popular
    • 40-year anniversary!
    • Mustang built at new Flat Rock Michigan Plant
    • 3.6L V-6 replaced by 4.0L V-6
    • 4.6L is still the standard V-8
    • 2006: Return of the GT 350H (Hertz)
    • 2007: the GT California Special Package
    • Shelby Mustangs!
      • Shelby GT: 4.6L V-8 with 319 hp
      • GT500: 5.4L V-8 Supercharged with 500 hp! (Yeehaw)
      • 2008 GT500KR: 5.4L V-8 Supercharged, 540 hp!
    • 2008: The Bullitt Mustang is back
    • 2009: cool glass top roofs as option
    • These cars are a kick in the pants to drive

  • Classic Mustang vs New Mustang
    • Will it ever end?
    • My solution? Buy both!!