Mustang Makes it Happen
The mere mention of its name is an attention-getter: Mustang!
In 2014, the iconic and legendary car known as the Ford Mustang is celebrating 50 glorious (for the most part) years of continuous production.
Gen I: 1965-1973 Mustang
Introduced to the world on April 17th, 1964, at the New York World’s Fair, the sporty new Mustang was an instant smash success, the likes of which the automotive world had never seen before.
Ford’s massive marketing blitz for its newborn creation was impressive to say the least: Full-color commercials (a big deal back then!) on all three major television networks at the same time guaranteed that practically anyone watching TV that night got an eyeful of Ford’s amazing new car.
Images of wild ponies galloping across vast open vistas of American countryside segued into images of the new Ford Mustang “galloping” in a similar setting, bolstering its image as the new youthful, exciting and trend-setting car to be seen in.
It worked, and oh so well. The frenzied sales pace of new Mustangs across America the next day is legendary.
In Chicago, a delivery truck driver drove straight through a storefront plate-glass window, too transfixed on the appearance of a new Mustang to realize what he was doing.
A rancher in Texas bought a new Mustang off the showroom floor and slept in the car all night, refusing to get out until the next morning until verification that his check had cleared and the car was indeed his.
Makeshift lottery systems were put in place in many dealerships across America because of the fact that there were so many more buyers with money in hand than there were actual cars for sale.
To say that the new Mustang took America’s car enthusiasts by storm is a massive understatement. There had not been as successful of a launch of a new car since the astounding Model A back in 1928.
There has not been a more successful car launch anywhere in the world since the introduction of the original Mustang, either.
Any product that could reasonably be tied to the Mustang’s winning image was marketed: sunglasses, jackets, shirts, shoes, gloves, hats, lawn chairs, you name it.
Even if it was a stretch, many enterprising people found ways to get the Mustang’s image tied to their product. One breakfast restaurant had a sign in the window proclaiming “Our hotcakes are so good they’re selling like Mustangs!”
There were many imitators, and many new cars inspired by the Mustang, some successful and some not so much. But there is only one original anything, and Mustang is the original in its category.
A category that was eventually named after the Mustang was the pony car. Plymouth’s new Barracuda, a thinly-disguised Valiant, was actually introduced a few days earlier than the Mustang, and was intended to be a direct competitor to the upcoming new Ford product. Response to the new Barracuda was lukewarm at best, otherwise we might be calling them all fish cars!
The brilliance of the Mustang’s design was that the public, motoring press and everyone else saw the car as fresh, exciting and 100-percent new.
While it certainly was fresh and obviously very exciting, there was really nothing new at all about it.
In fact, it was basically a mechanical twin to the similarly sized Ford Falcon, a sensible, dependable little sedan or coupe that Ford had been selling for several years at the time.