National Mustang Day: Celebrating an American Legend

Photo Credit: 1965 Ford Motor Company

On 17 April 2023, Mustang enthusiasts unite across the US to pay tribute to the legendary Mustang as it celebrates the 59th anniversary of its initial launch.

Mustang Vintage Convertible Antique Car

Photo Credit: Car and Driver

History of the Mustang

The concept for the Mustang originated with the infamous Lee Lacocca. While at Ford, Lacocca saw the need for an affordable sports car that would appeal to the baby boomer generation. He enlisted top talent at Ford to design an affordable, stylish, and sporty 2+2 with available V8 power that would be called the “Cougar”.

Soon afterwards, the car became known as the “Mustang”, after the World War II fighter plane.

Mustang History Vintage Ford Dealership

The Official Debut

The Ford Mustang was officially unveiled by Henry Ford II at the largest exhibit at the New York World’s Fair, the Ford Pavilion also known as the Wonder Rotunda, in Flushing Meadow, Queens.

Pilot with Vintage Mustang

Photo Credit: 

The Very First Sale

Following its debut, car dealerships were sent a pre-production vehicle to display. They weren’t intended to be sold to customers, but one – with the very first Mustang serial number – was sold by Harry Phillips, a salesman at George G.R. Parsons Ford in St. Johns, Newfoundland.

Ford Mustang Dealership History

Photo Credit: Motor Trend

One for the Record Books

Before the Mustang hit US showrooms, the media covered its arrival, as its launch generated great interest. Newsweek and Time magazines had Mustangs on their covers. The night before it went on sale, the Mustang was featured in commercials on all three major television networks.

When the car was made available for sale in Ford dealerships across the United States. 22,000 units were scooped up in less than 24 hours.

419,000 Mustangs were sold during the 1965 model year. In less than two years after its launch, the one-millionth Mustang rolled off the assembly line.

Vintage Mustang Build

Photo Credit: Ford Museum

Why the Mustang was so Wildly Popular

In its first two years of production, the Mustang beat out the all-time automotive record set previously by the Ford Model A.

Part of the Mustang’s allure was its price. The base price was $2,368, or $20,000 in today’s dollars. And even the lowest priced Mustang came equipped with bucket seats, sport steering wheel, and 5-dial instrument cluster. Other standard amenities include windshield washers and electric wipers, low-profile tires, and full wheel covers.

Ford Mustang Builds

An American Institution

Since its launch, Ford has made 10 million Mustangs. National Ford Mustang Day celebrates the car that has become an American institution.

Celebrations and events worldwide are scheduled to showcase how a car literally changed the face of the automotive industry.

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