Ford Mustang celebrates 48 years

Ford Mustang Turns48

By: David Arnouts on 4/17/2012

On April 17, 1964, at the World’s Fair in New York, Henry Ford II brought the world its first pony car, the Ford Mustang.

In a move that would never be possible today, cars were taken to dealerships for sale prior to the reveal. Ford sold 22,000 units on day one.

In more than 48 years and five different generations of Mustang production, the car has seen ups—the SVT Cobra—and downs: the Mustang II, anyone?

The standard 1964½ Mustang was powered by a 101-hp, 170-cubic-inch inline six-cylinder or an available 260-cubic-inch V8 with 164 hp. For those with a taste for the sporty, a 289-cubic-inch V8 that made 210 hp was also available.

By comparison, the base-model 2013 Mustang has a 3.7-liter V6 that makes 305 hp, and the Shelby GT500—making 650 hp—goes on sale this summer.

While increased horsepower and technology is impressive, pricing also has increased proportionally.

The entry price for a 1964½ Mustang was $2,368, or just more than $16,000 in today’s money. Without adjusting for inflation, a 1964½ would cost just $28 more than the Electronics package in the 2013 Shelby GT500. The base-model 2013 Mustang rings it at $22,995.

Though gasoline prices obviously have risen—30 cents per gallon then versus $3.90 a gallon today—passion for Ford’s pony car remains strong.

The next-generation Mustang isn’t due out for another two years, but there is little doubt that styling changes are coming. Recent Mustangs have paid homage to their forebears with retro styling, but it has been reported that the upcoming sixth generation will look a lot like the Evos concept shown at the Frankfurt motor show in 2011.

Check out an original ad for the Mustang from Autoweek’s Competition Press dated just one week after the car’s premiere in 1964.

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