Featured image for "What Was the First Year of the Ford Mustang?" blog post. Mustang.

What Was the First Year of the Ford Mustang?

This blog post will provide a response to the question what was the first year of the Ford Mustang*? and then go into further depth about the legendary vehicle’s history and development.

The Ford Mustang*, which is already in its fifth decade and fifth iteration, was the first sport compact or pony car ever built. It was the first of a new generation of muscle cars in 1964, and it is the only one that has survived to the present day.

Lee Iacocca, Ford’s* CEO at the time, felt the market was ready for smaller, lighter, and more affordable sports cars. Thus, 1964 was the first year the Mustang* was made. Iacocca knew that if he wanted to sell a lot of the automobile, he had to make it more functional. As a result, the first Mustang* to appear at the 1964 New York World’s Fair was presented as a hardtop & convertible.

Over 20,000 orders were placed on the first day, and one million Mustangs* were sold during the first two years. In the automotive community, the Mustang* was somewhat of a sensation.

Although it didn’t have the power of a genuine muscle vehicle, it nonetheless was popular. At the time of its release, the Mustang* was powered by a 170 cubic-inch straight-six that produced 101 horsepower. The 289-cubic-inch K-code V8 with 271bhp and a 165-cubic-inch 260-cubic-inch engine became standard when Ford* realized that diehard Mustang* enthusiasts wanted more power.

“Containing a generous volume of ZDDP, AMSOIL Z-ROD® 10W-30 Synthetic Motor Oil safeguards flat-tappet cams, rockers, lifters, and other wear-prone components.”

Z-ROD® 10W-30 Synthetic Motor Oil
AMSOIL Z-ROD® 10W-30 Synthetic Motor Oil

It also brought with it a partnership with racing great Carroll Shelby, who helped design the fastback. When it comes to street performance, the Shelby GT-350* had 306 horsepower; meanwhile, the race-ready Shelby 350R* produced 360 horsepower. When the Shelby Mustang* was stripped of all unnecessary weight, including the rear seat, it would become a classic muscle car.

A new instrument panel was introduced in 1966 for the Mustang*, which had been built on the Falcon as a cost-saving measure. The 260 was axed and replaced by two 289 models. To accommodate weekend racers, Hertz had purchased a handful of Shelby GT-350s* with an automatic transmission.

The Mustang* had its first significant redesign in 1967. Competition from the Chevrolet Camaro SS* necessitated this bulkier, more aggressive design. Although the GT350 was still powered by the 289, a 390 large block V8 was installed. Armed with a race-bred 427 with 355bhp, Shelby’s GT500* was a step forward in performance for the Shelby* brand.

The famed 428 Cobra Jet* engine was added in 1968. It generated 335bhp utilizing ram air induction, but everyone suspected it was closer to 410bhp. The King of the Road, the GT500KR, had a Cobra Jet* engine and Shelby’s* wizardry gave it that special race-inspired touch.

AMSOIL Z-ROD® 10W-40 Synthetic Motor Oil is a high-zinc, high-phosphorus composition that protects vital splash-lubricated engine components.”

Z-ROD® 10W-40 Synthetic Motor Oil
AMSOIL Z-ROD® 10W-40 Synthetic Motor Oil

Mach 1 fastback body was introduced in 1969, and the first Boss* cars were introduced during this restyle. All of the Boss* cars had race-worthy V8 engines in either 302 or 429 cubic inch displacement, making them essentially TransAm racers for the road.

Protection for splash-lubricated components is provided by a composition rich in zinc and phosphorus. Although the Shelby Cobra* was phased out in 1970, Mustang’s* muscle car days were over in 1971, as was the Cobra*. In 1973, when the final first iteration Mustang* was constructed, the Mustang* had reached the end of its manufacturing run with barely 156bhp at its top output.

The second version, which debuted in 1974, was designed to bring the vehicle back to its origins as a small, light sports car. It proved unsuccessful. With its lack of power and high weight, the Mustang II’s* performance was dismal at best. This V6’s 2.8 liters required a disappointing 14 seconds to reach 60 mph. It could scarcely have been described as a muscle car.

It took a year for a V8 to return, this time with greater power, although it was still not much of an improvement to the previous model. Even the King Cobra* needed an excessive 11 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour. A king it was not.

In 1979, the all-new Mustang* began to reclaim a little of its lost performance image. Lighter and with a 143bhp turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the automobile was nevertheless able to get
up to speed relatively quickly.

Convertibles returned in 1983 after a lengthy hiatus, and the Mustang* celebrated its 20th anniversary in 1984 with a 2.3-liter turbocharged engine producing 174 bhp and a 5-liter V8 engine producing 305 bhp albeit with less power. The V8 was increased to more than 200bhp by the end of the 1980s.

V6 and V8 engines were both offered in the fourth generation pony car, which launched in 1994 and was available in two different versions. As its life progressed, the redesign got more subdued than its predecessor, while the performance improved incrementally. A limited-edition version called the SVT Cobra R* was the peak of this concept, debuted in 2000.

AMSOIL 5W-20 Signature Series Synthetic Motor Oil provides 75 percent more protection against loss of horsepower and wear than the industry standard demands. Thus ensuring that critical components like camshafts and pistons are well protected. Meets specs for Ford WSS-M2C945-B1, WSS-M2C945-A, WSS-M2C930-A & API SP (Resource Conserving), SN PLUS, SN.”

Signature Series 5W-20 Synthetic Motor Oil
AMSOIL Signature Series 5W-20 Synthetic Motor Oil

The 40th anniversary Mustang* was the most muscular and best-performing pony car in three decades when it debuted. Reminiscent of the initial models of 1964, the design was unmistakable. This Mustang* had the same amount of engine power as the original Mustang* from the 1960s. 210bhp was available from the base four-liter (245 cid) V6, and 300bhp was available from the 4.6 liter (281 cid) V8.

The base gearbox was a five-speed manual, with a five-speed automatic as an option. This was the best-handling Mustang* ever, thanks to an all-independent suspension system. All-wheel disc brakes with ABS and a large array of electronic driving aids were included as standard equipment.

In 2005, a convertible Mustang* was released that was not merely a hardtop that had been chopped but was built from the beginning to be an open-air vehicle. This car’s performance and handling weren’t hampered by its convertible design, unlike many other convertible vehicles.

As part of its fourth generation of the model year, Ford* announced the resurrection of the Shelby GT500* in 2005 to round out the company’s product portfolio. With its supercharged 5.4-liter, 329cid V8 engine, the Cobra GT500* was capable of producing more over 450bhp.

“In order to avoid metal surfaces from coming into contact with one another, AMSOIL 5W-50 Signature Series Synthetic Motor Oil creates a thick coating of fluid. To ensure a long engine life, its powerful anti-wear additives effectively minimize wear in metal-to-metal contact areas. This high-performance 5W-50 meets specifications for Ford WSS-M2C931-C (Mustang*) & API SP, SN PLUS, SN…”

Signature Series 5W-50 Synthetic Motor Oil
AMSOIL Signature Series 5W-50 Synthetic Motor Oil

The six-speed manual transmission and suspension were modified by Ford’s* Special Vehicle Team. With Shelby’s* signature white racing stripes adorning the sides of this ultra-modern muscle car, it felt only natural.

The first four Mustang* generations were examined in this blog post. We’ll cover the next two generations in more depth in a future blog article. Thanks for reading What Was the First Year of the Ford Mustang*? We hope you found it interesting. The first 40 years of the Mustang’s* existence have seen it rise to the status of a real muscle car giant.

*All trademarked names and images are the property of their respective owners and may be registered marks in some countries. No affiliation or endorsement claim, express or implied, is made by their use. All products advertised here are developed by AMSOIL for use in the applications shown.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter
Holler Box