Evolution of The Ford Mustang

History of the Ford Mustang

The Ford Mustang was one of the first and most exciting cars to be made geared toward a youth-specific market. Initially showcased at the World’s Fair in 1964, the Mustang has remained powerful, affordable, and extraordinarily popular through generations of facelifts and multiple variations. It is no surprise that for many, the term “mustang” goes beyond the vehicle’s namesake and is associated directly with the Ford brand.

First Generation: 1964-1973

The First-Generation Mustang exploded in popularity because of its price point and revolutionary sharp styling. A separate model often referred to as “1964½’s” included a few new features including an alternator instead of a generator, rear backup lights, and a convertible top. Incredibly rare editions of the vehicle include specialized models such as the 1967 Shelby GT500, the 1964 Skyway, and the 1967 Shelby Super Snake.

Second Generation: 1974-1978

1973 posed an issue for American Motor Companies as there were ongoing oil prices and growing competition from smaller, imported vehicles. Ford was ready, however, and released the Mustang II, a smaller, more fuel-efficient Mustang with exciting new options. The vehicle came at a heavier weight but with a new engine, new transmission, and coupe and hatchback versions. Popular Models released for this generation include the now-rare performance Cobra and the King Cobra.

Third Generation: 1979-1993

The third generation was developed on the Fox Platform, the largest yet. The convertible saw a reintroduction in 1983 after nine years, and along with the hatchback and coupe, versions were available in two different front-end styles.  In 1982, the Mustang GT was released as a performance model which replaced the Cobra, and a 20th anniversary GT350 was released in 1984. 1987 saw a major restyling to close out the generation, along with special performance additions of the SVT Cobra and Cobra R.

Fourth Generation: 1994-2004

Fourth Gen Mustangs were the beginning of the modern mustang as we currently know it. The brand dropped the classic look and feel entirely with a complete restyling. A new 3.8 OHV V6 engine was paired with a 5 or 4-speed transmission on its base models and increased up to a 4.6L V8 engine. In 1999, the mustang was slightly modified to hold sharper contours, larger wheel arches, a new front-end styling, and several improvements to its powertrain.

Fifth Generation: 2005-2014

Ford turns the mustang into a powerhouse with a 300 HP engine on an all-new D2C platform, and a total redesign of the vehicle’s exterior and interior. In 2011, Ford improves the engine for the mustang with available Getrag-Ford MT82 transmission and ditches hydraulic steering in favor of electric powered steering. The Mustang broke its own performance records in 2012 with the release of the Mustang Boss 302 version, which had a maximum 444 horsepower engine.

Sixth Generation: 2015-Present

This generation’s Mustang features a widened and lowered body with an increase in interior space with a power increase with a 5.0L V8 engine at a maximum of 460 horsepower. The 2015 model release earned a 5-star crash protection rating from the NHTSA, and since 2018 has come available with EcoBoost engines. This generation saw the reintroduction of the GT500 and the powerful Mach 1 model.