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1625 Savannah Hwy, Charleston SC 29407
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History of the
Often imitated but never equaled, the Ford Mustang is the original “pony car,” and arguably the most iconic American car of all time. With fans and car enthusiasts alike celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Mustang this year, there’s no better time to take a look back at the history of this timeless vehicle.
Ford credits executive stylist John Najjar with coming up with the name, saying he was inspired by the World War II P-51 Mustang fighter plane. Along with stylist Philip T. Clark, Najjar designed the first prototype of the Ford Mustang in 1961, and it debuted the following year at the United States Grand Prix in Watkins Glen, New York. Formula One racer Dan Gurney took the concept for a lap around the track, impressing spectators with its speed, which was comparable to the F1 race cars’ lap times.
The very first production Mustang was a 1965 model, but it actually rolled off the assembly line in Dearborn, Michigan on March 9, 1964. The Mustang premiered to the public at the New York World’s Fair in April of that year, and in September, made the first of what would become many film appearances when it was used in the classic James Bond movie Goldfinger.
In its first 18 months on the market, the Mustang sold over one million units, making it Ford’s most successful launch since the Model A.
With each successive model year, Mustangs grew larger and heavier, until Ford went back to the car’s original size and styling for the 1974 edition. Since then, the vehicle has continued to evolve, and today is in its sixth generation and looking better than ever. The car’s longevity is a testament to its popularity—of all the original pony cars, the Ford Mustang is the only one to remain in uninterrupted production for over five decades. Here’s to another 50 years!
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