There have been very few automotive successes quite like the Ford Mustang. Introduced in April of 1964, the Mustang came to the world as one of the first cars that combined the style of a European GT with American V8 power. In fact, it has been so successful over the years that it has transcended the ceiling of the car world and become a full-fledged cultural symbol.
It’s starred in the movies, had songs written about it and most importantly it’s been a realistic dream car for millions. 55 years since its debut and over 10 million cars later, it’s showing no signs of slowing and still has a similar appeal. If that’s not enough to tempt you already, here’s why you need one in your garage!
The Car, The Myth, The Legend
No matter where you go or who you ask, almost everyone will recognize the Mustang, non car people included. The global popularity of the Mustang means that no matter what continent you live on, you’re likely to remember the car from some movie or TV show. With the exception of the equally iconic Chevrolet Corvette and Porsche 911, the Mustang is one of the longest-running sports cars out there. Undoubtedly a great heritage!
With over 10 million Mustangs sold, there are literally hundreds of models and versions to choose from. The Mustang was sold in six distinctive generations with the first, produced from 1964 until 1973, being the most popular and sought-after. Most of them are pretty decent, however, you might want to stay away from the second generation, produced between 1974 and 1979. Called the Mustang II, this was more of an economy model, a reaction to the industry recession and oil crisis of the mid-`70s.
Some people don’t even consider this a proper Mustang since the Mustang II was much smaller, terribly underpowered and kind of ugly compared to the rest of the breed. Shockingly, the first two model years of the Mustang II didn’t even have a V8 option, which is one of the Mustang`s main characteristics.
Here in Europe, the Mustang is still a bit exotic. Owning a Mustang in Europe shows that you’re a dedicated enthusiast, and you appreciate authenticity. The current model is comparable with the fruitier versions of the BMW 4-Series or Audi A5 Coupe, but they’re so common nobody notices them.
Driving a Mustang will get you noticed, so I hope you’re not shy, but I hope you’re not poor either. With gas prices almost triple that of most of you guys in the USA, the Mustang 5-litre V8 especially is a purchase of love rather than sensible thinking. In America, that’s never really been the case and the Mustang has always been the everyman’s sports car. Despite the British pound being worth more than the dollar, the $26,670 entry price is seriously attractive. In the UK, the Mustang is largely for rich businessmen, with the 2.3 EcoBoost starting at a whopping £37,000, over $44k comparably!
Many hardcore fans claim that a Mustang is not a Mustang if it’s lacking a V8. That’s clearly rubbish though. The 1964 first year model Mustang only had a 105 horsepower inline 6 engine. Of course, over the years, the Mustang has had numerous engines put under its hood, from various straight-six and V6 units to four-cylinder turbos and even a couple of four-cylinder non turbos. As you might expect, the V8’s usually the most desirable option. Its combination of low-end torque, the rumble of a twin exhaust and its all-American “lazy power” has had massive appeal across the world.
Right from the start, affordability has been one of the critical reasons why this model has been such a success. As I said earlier, an entry-level price of $27,000 in the States for the EcoBoost coupe with 310 horsepower is astonishing. If you opt for the 5.0 GT model, you will pay just $35,000. To put that into perspective, the 2019 Mustang GT has 460 horsepower in base trim and can reach 60 mph in 4.2 seconds. That makes it as fast as the BMW M4 at almost exactly half the price!
Sure, the Mustang is nowhere near as talented or well built as the M4, but its low entry price allows you to forgive its flaws a little bit. It’s not the best car in the world, but at a price similar to that of a fully loaded RAV-4, it’s a pretty sweet deal. Just ask yourself, what would you rather drive – a tire-shredding sports car or another dull family SUV?
It is no secret that Hollywood is partially responsible for the success of the Mustang. Right from the start, moviemakers embraced the vehicle; from Steve McQueen`s epic performance in the 1968 movie “Bullitt” to the James Bond classic, “Diamonds Are Forever”. It’s been extensively featured in more modern stuff too, most notably “The Fast and Furious” or the 2014’s “John Wick”, where it gets completely wrecked, I might add…
Ford is proud of this too, so if you want a piece of the movies you can. With the “Bullitt” package, available on new Mustang 5-litre GTs, you get special dark green paintwork and distinctive wheels, exactly like the car in the movie!
No matter what model year, engine option or version of Mustang you have, in just a few clicks, you’ll find a wealth of spare parts, and aftermarket components available. Due to its huge sales volume of 10 million vehicles, there has always been a business case for companies to develop aftermarket parts. Whether that’s a supercharger kit to increase power to 650 horsepower in your 5.0 convertible, or even suspension kits for drifting, there’s usually something for everyone. Although you can no longer fix it with a wrench and a hammer, it’s still one of the most modifiable cars out there!