The 1960s Mustang: A Rocket Ride
1962: The Mustang I concept car is the test bed for a new "personal car" project steered by Lee Iacocca. The concept morphs from a radical two-seat, mid-engined roadster into the four-seat Mustang--named either for the P51 Mustang fighter plane from the World War II era, or from the actual horse. Other names in the running? Henry Ford was said to favor "T-Bird II."
1964: The Mustang begins production in March, and greets visitors to the New York World's fair on April 17. It's an instant hit--despite the confusion of being a "1/2" model, which vexes car bloggers to this day. Ford sells more than 100,000 Mustangs in four months, and gives birth to the Iacocca legend.
1965: Carroll Shelby gets his hands on the Mustang, and the 289-cubic-inch, 306-horsepower Shelby GT350 makes its debut.
1966: By the end of the year, the Mustang has sold 1 million copies. Already a new design is in the works: it's teased by a Mach 1 concept that sharpens the Mustang's more classic profile.
1967: Shelby begets the 428-cubic-inch, 355-hp GT500; the fastback Mustang gets a swoopy new Mach 1-inspired roofline; and the new Camaro is tardy to the party. Ford outsells the Chevy pony car 2:1.
1968: Ford swaps the 289-cid V-8 with the 302-cid eight. A Cobra Jet 428-cubic-inch V-8 engine adds to the fun with its Holley four-barrel carburetor assisting in the birth of 335 horsepower.
1969: The Mach 1, Boss and Grande versions appear with revised bodywork, pushing the Mustang even more into the plus-size category.