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Ford Motor Company - March 16, 1984
In the early 1960s, a changing mood drifted through the automotive marketplace...a spirit of youth as members of the World War II baby boom graduated into car-buying adults, their jalopy days behind them.
The Cars they bought were not the cars of their parents. Instead, the cars came equipped with bucket seats, floor-mounted stick shifts and optional engines. This generation wanted economy and sportiness, handling and performance, all wrapped up in one set on wheels.
It appeared that there was a market out there searching for a car. Ford Motor Company committed itself to design that car. It was to carry four people, weigh under 2500 pounds and cost less than $2,500.
On April 17, 1964, this dictum became reality as the Ford Mustang was unveiled and took its place in automotive history. It did indeed seat four people, weighed only 72 pounds more than 2,500, and cost a reasonable $2,368. It featured a very tidy 108-inch wheelbase and came equipped with a 170-cubic inch six cylinder engine and three-speed floor-mounted manual transmission. The mustang had a comfortable ride, a good feel for the road and embodied fun and excitement.
The Mustang's long hood/short deck styling promised performance and panache. And it offered enough options to fulfill that promise. Buyers could order Mustangs in three models-- Convertible, Hardtop or fastback --and could power them with engines ranging from the standard six to a competition-level high-performance 289-cubic-inch V-8 that churned out 271 horsepower.
The result was overwhelming. First year sales estimate of 100,000 units was surpassed in four months. Some 22,000 orders were taken the first day. In just 12 months, more than 417,000 Mustangs were sold, a record then for first year sales. A further indication of Mustang's instant celebrity status was the almost instantaneous cult following that saw 472 Mustang Clubs formed in two and a half years with a total membership of 32,000 aficionados.
First-year sales held even more suprises. As expected, Mustang had an enormous appeal among young people, with more than half of the first-year buyers under 34 years old. The suprise was that 16 percent were in the 45-55 age bracket. The Mustang seemed to bridge just about every gap in the market.
Young married couples purchased Mustangs for their family car just as young singles did for their sports car. As many women bought Mustangs as did men. About 50 percent of Mustang buyers owned another car, and over 60 percent were college educated. A majority of buyers ordered their Mustangs with one of the V-8 engines, power steering, power brakes, Automatic transmission and a radio.
Its reception immediately sparked a host of imitators. The long- hooded/short deck look became the most copied profile in the industry. By 1967, Ponycars accounted for 11 percent of the market, and Mustang was out in front of the herd.
Since those early days, there have been Mustang muscle cars, sports cars, and economy cars, but always the Mustang mystique remained intact.
Nowhere has that mystique been more evident than on the race track since those early Shelbys ran away with its class in SCCA B Production in 1965, '66, and '67. Mustang also held its own in drag racing and in Trans Am, where it took national honors four out of five years. Names like Mach I, Boss 302, or 351, GT 500 KR, CJ 428 and Cobra all became part of a proud racing heritage that continues today. The Latest addition is the Mustang GTP which last year placed first and third in its IMSA Camel GT debut.
Also helping to perpetuate the Mustang legend is the 1984 Mustang SVO - a turbocharged, sleek, road-hugging machine destined for it's own place in ponycar history. All the 1984 Mustangs reflect the spirit of youth, fun and excitement that was there in the beginning. They still combine plush sportiness, economy and performance.
Recognizing this auspicious anniversary, Ford Motor Company is offering a Special Anniversary Limited Edition that accurately recalls the excitement of those early days. They are offered in Convertible and three-door models. Each will feature original Mustang ornamentation, a special commemorative badge, and a serialized plaque engraved with the owners name. Production is being limited to 5,000.
The cars are white with red striping and red cloth interiors. The famous GT350 racing stripe, reminiscent of the mid-sixties model of the same name, is in the same area as the original. Even the famous galloping horse is back on the front fender.
Both 20th Anniversary Mustangs are offered with either the 5.0 litre eight-cylinder engine or the turbocharged 2.3-litre four. Standard equipment includes articulated seats, power steering, power front disc brakes, handling suspension, sport steering wheel, air dam and fog lamps.
The special anniversary models will be available in April, coinciding with the Mustang Anniversary Celebration being held at participating Ford dealers nationwide.
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