Ford Mustang Page
The Ford Mustang was introduced to the general public on Friday April 17, 1964. It was the start of what many consider the era of the muscle car. And even today the Ford Mustang is considered a very desirable car. Gene Bordinat was responsible for the Mustangs overall design. Joe Oros had a design team whose Mustang II Prototype was finally selected as the basis for the eventual production car that was on the road.
Ford was trying to compete with other car manufacturers in the soon to be era of the Muscle cars. Where speed was the key and the style of these cars will never be matched again. Muscle cars weren't around for long, but they are still some of the most collectible automobiles out there too, and the most sought after. Just watch the Barrett Jackson auction from Arizona and you'll get an idea of just how much the cars of the Muscle car era are worth today, one of the highest money bids was for the Ford Shelby Mustang. And all the Shelby Mustangs went for very big money. The Mustang Pony Logo Motif is one of the most recognizable logos today when you see the Pony you know its a Ford Mustang.
The first Mustang was the Mustang I Prototype, and it made its debut at Watkins Glen New York at the United States Grand Prix in October 7, 1962 and was driver by race car driver Dan Gurney. It stood only 40 inches high and had a rear mounted engine that was cooled by two small radiators. It had all round suspension, splayed coil springs and shock absorbers. The suspension system was highly advanced for the era. It had a 4 speed transmission with a cable operated gear change. Lotus Wheels, rack and pinion steering, recessed lighting. The Mustang I Prototype however was a short lived project that never made it into commercial production and it was back to the drawing board.
The first Mustang to come off the production line was purchased by Airline Pilot Captain Stan Tucker of Canada and is now at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. That vehicle was a Ford Mustang Convertible. The first Mustangs retailed for around $2500 and it took around 571 from design to roll off from the assembly line and was done on March 9, 1964. The cars had a 260 cubic inch, 164 bhp V8, but the engine was dropped 5 months later and replaced with a 2v 289 raged at 200 bhp. The cars that had the 260 V8 are rare and hard to find today. 8160 Ford Mustangs were built before the release date but over 4 Million people visited their Ford Dealers during that first weekend. The dealers couldn't keep up with the demand, all the cars were gone in days, even at $2368 retail price. 100,000 Ford Mustangs sold in the first four months. There were only two models at the beginning, a hardtop and a convertible.
The most popular engine from the Mustang was the 289, it was available in a 2 or 4v guise and a 271 bhp high performance version was offered later in 1964. The 1965 Ford Mustang had bucket seats standard for driver and front passenger although a front bench seat was available, the buckets seats were the seats of choice for most. The back seat was a bench style seat designed to look like buckets. There were five choices of vinyl upholstery and two types of cloth vinyl combos. The colors available were black, white, blue, read and palomino. The steering wheel hub had a pony on a red, white and blue vertical strip with the words Ford and Mustang stamped on it. The cars had wall to wall carpeting, floor shift lever, seat belts.The Mustangs front fenders that were equipped with the V8 Engine had a VEE shaped ornament with say 289 on it, which would tell you the car had a 289 engine in it. In June of 1964 Ford came out with the high performance 289 V8, with 271 bhp at 6000 rpm and 312 ft/lbs of torque at 3400 rpm. The compression ratio was 10.5:1 and had a single four barrel carburetor. Some extras offered were the Rally-Pac, with quicker steering and 6.90X15 Firestone Super Sport Tires.
In September 1964 Mustang added the 2+2 fastback body style. In 1964 The Mustang was chosen as the Pace Car for the Indianapolis 500. One of the most famous people associated with the Ford Mustang and sports car fans and racing fans is Carroll Hall Shelby. And with this chicken farmer, truck driver and race driver, came the Ford Shelby GT Mustang. The first Shelby cars were a few GT 350R models built strictly for racing only.
Carroll Shelby Ford GT-40 and Ford Shelby Cobra Mustang Cobra Jet GT 350 and GT 500
The Ford had the GT-40 which in 1966 captured the Le Mans crown with three Gt-40 Mk IIs crossing the finish line 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Carroll Shelby started with Shelby American to get 100 examples ready by January 1965 to compete in the SCCA Season. Engineers built two prototypes out of two Mustang Fastbacks, and made alterations and make it a brute force Muscle Car They changed to a fiberglass hood with functional air scoop, Koni Shocks, Large Front Anti Sway bar, Galaxie Rear end and trailing arm radius roads. Under the hood was a 289 cid, 271 bhp high performance engine. Cobra Aluminum high rise intake manifold, finned aluminum oil pan, Holley center�pivot float carburetor and steel tube Tri-Y Exhaust Headers. They added an aluminum encased Borg Warner close ratio four speed manual transmission. The first 100 cars were all white, had black interiors and all references to Ford and Mustang were removed from the body. A Racing stripe had the cars identity GT 350, Racing type hood Pins.
The GT 350 was definitely Mustang and retailed for $4547 and was a bargain. It could do 0 to 60 in 6.5 seconds and had a top speed of 135 mph, race car handling. The 1965 GT-350s were billed as Mustang GT-350s. In 1966 it was known as the Shelby GT-350. Some changes included: Rear Exit instead of side exhaust, the rear seat came back as an option, the 1965 tachometer oil pressure was replaced with a Cobra 9000 rpm tachometer atop the instrument panel, an Autolite 595 cfm Carburetor was fitted instead of the Holly Carburetor. The total production in 1966 was 2380 with six convertibles. Believe or not none of the convertibles were sold.
Then Shelby went one better, Ford was offering the 390 4V Big Block Thunderbird Special as an option in stock Ford Mustangs. Carroll Shelby took the big 428 engine, put it into the Shelby and called it the GT 500. The 427 Cobra was by far one of the fastest production cars in the world. The 427 problem was cost it was about double the cost of the 428, and the 428 could do the job, it did it so well that the 428 outsold the 289 GT-350 by a 2 to 1 margin. With dual quad aluminum intake, a pair of Holley 600 Carburetors, high revving hydraulic valve train and camshaft the 428 generated about 400 bhp. The interior had the unique Shelby black roll bar with a pair of inertia reel shoulder harnesses attached. The real wood steering wheel was a nice touch too.
The 428 Cobra Jet V8 was the king of the road in 1968. The Cobra Jets compression ratio was 10.5:1, its bore was 4.130 and its stroke was 3.984. Its volume was about the same as the 427 but the longer stroke and lower compressor made for a gentler beast on the street. The cylinder heads had bigger ports, with very large intake and exhaust valves making the 428 CJ tough.The 427 only came with an automatic transmission but the 428 CJ was available with a four speed manual transmission or automatic transmission.