The Ford Mustang was officially unveiled by Henry Ford II at the Flushing Meadows World’s Fair, New York on April 17, 1964. On the same day, the new car also debuted at Ford showrooms across the America and nearly 22,000 Mustangs were immediately purchased by buyers. Named after a WWII fighter jet, the Mustang was the first of a type of vehicle known as a “pony car”. Ford sold over 400,000 Mustangs in its first year of production, far exceeding sales expectations.
The Mustang was designed as a “Worker’s Thunderbird,” according to Ford. Early models featured a long hood and a short rear axle and carried a starting price of around $ 2,300. Ford chief executive Lee Iacocca, who became company president in October 1964 (and later ran Chrysler, which he was credited with relaunching in the 1980s) was involved in the development and marketing of the Mustang. There was great interest in the launch of the car. It was featured on the covers of Newsweek and Time magazines, and the day before it went on sale, the Mustang was featured in commercials that ran simultaneously on all three major television networks. A buyer in Texas reportedly slept in a Ford showroom until his check cleared and he could drive his new Mustang home. The same year it debuted, the Mustang appeared on the big screen in the James Bond film “Goldfinger”. A 1968 green Mustang 390 GT was featured in Steve McQueen’s 1968 film “Bullitt”, during a car chase through the streets of San Francisco. Since then, Mustangs have appeared in hundreds of movies.
Less than three years after its debut, some 500 Mustang fan clubs had sprung up. In March 1966, the millionth Mustang rolled off the assembly line. In honor of the Mustang’s 35th anniversary in 1999, the US Postal Service issued a stamp commemorating the original model. In 2004, Ford built its 300 millionth car, a 2004 Mustang GT convertible 40th anniversary model. Over the decades, the Mustang has undergone many evolutions, and it remains in production today.
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