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Ford Mustang

Ford Mustang
Ford Mustang coupe
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Production 1964-present
Assembly Dearborn, Michigan (1964-2004)
Flat Rock, Michigan (2005-present)
Class Pony car (1964-present)
Body style(s) 2-door convertible
2-door coupé
2-door fastback
Layout FR layout
Platform Ford Falcon (North American) (1965-1973)
Ford Pinto (1974-1978)
Ford Fox platform (1979-2004)
Ford D2C platform (2005-present)
Related Ford Mustang I
Shelby Mustang
Similar AMC Javelin
Chevrolet Camaro
Dodge Challenger


[edit] First Generation (1965–1973)

First-generation Mustang
Production 1964–1973
Body style(s) 2-door convertible
2-door coupé
2-door fastback
Engine(s) 1964–1966
  • 170 cid Straight-6
  • 200 cid Straight-6
  • 260 cid Windsor V8
  • 289 cid Windsor V8
  • 200 cid Straight-6
  • 289 cid Windsor V8 ('68 Was Last Year)
  • 302 cid Windsor V8 (Starting '68)
  • 390 cid FE V8
  • 427 cid FE V8
  • 428 cid FE V8
  • 250 cid Straight-6
  • 302 cid Boss 302 V8
  • 351 cid Windsor V8
  • 351 cid Cleveland V8
  • 390 cid FE V8
  • 428 cid FE V8
  • 429 cid Ford 385 engine V8
  • 250 cid Straight-6
  • 302 cid Boss 302 V8
  • 351 cid Windsor V8
  • 351 cid Cleveland V8
  • 429 cid Ford 385 engine V8

[edit] Design and Engineering

First conceived by Ford product manager Donald N. Frey [2][3] and championed by Ford Division general manager Lee Iacocca, the Mustang prototype was a two-seat, mid-engine roadster. This would later be remodeled as a four-seat car penned by David Ash and Joseph Oros[4] in Ford's Lincoln–Mercury Division design studios, which produced the winning design in an intramural design contest called by Iacocca. To cut down the development cost, the Mustang was based heavily on familiar, yet simple components. Much of the chassis, suspension, and drive train components were derived from the Ford Falcon and Ford Fairlane. The car had a unitized platform-type frame, which was taken from the 1964 Falcon, and welcoming box-section side rails, including five welded crossmembers. Although hardtop Mustangs were the majority of the sales, durability problems with the new frame led to the unusual step of engineering the (necessarily less rigid) convertible first, which ensured adequate stiffness. Overall length of the Mustang and Falcon was identical at 181.6 in (4613 mm), although the Mustang's wheelbase at 108 in (2743 mm) was slightly shorter. With an overall width of 68.2 in (1732 mm), it was 2.4 in (61 mm) narrower, yet the wheel track was nearly identical. Shipping weight, about 2570 lb (1170 kg) with the six-cylinder engine, was also similar. A fully equipped V8 model weighed about 3000 lbs (1360 kg). Though most of the mechanical parts were taken directly from the Falcon, the Mustang's body shell was completely different; sporting a shorter wheelbase, wider track, lower seating position, and overall height. An industry first, the "torque box" was an innovative structural system that greatly stiffened the Mustang's construction and helped contribute to better handling.

[edit] 1964–1966

1966 Ford Mustang Coupe
1966 Ford Mustang Coupe

Since it was introduced five months before the normal start of the production year, this first model has become widely known, although incorrectly, as the 1964 1/2 model. A more accurate description is the "early 1965" model, as the car underwent several significant changes at the start of the regular model year. All the early cars, however, were touted as 1965 models. The base, yet well-equipped Mustang hardtop with its 170 cid straight-6 engine and three-speed manual transmission listed for US$2,368. With its "long hood/short deck" styling, it gave the impression of a costly car.

Some minor changes to the Mustang occurred at the start of the normal 1965 model year production, a mere five months after its introduction. These cars are known as "late 65's," as opposed to the "early 65's" built from April through September. First, there was an almost complete change to the engine lineup. The I6 engine made way for a new 200 cid version which produced 120hp. Production of the 260 cid engine ceased with the end of the 1964 model year, when a new, two-barrel 200 hp 289 cid engine took its place as the base V8. A 225hp four-barrel was next in line, followed by the unchanged Hi-Po 271hp 289. The DC electrical generator was replaced by a new AC alternator on all Fords (the quickest way to distinguish a 64 1/2 from a 65 is to see if the alternator light on the dash says "GEN" or "ALT") and the now-famous Mustang GT was introduced. A four-barrel engine was now available with any body style. Additionally, reverse lights were an option added to the car in 1965. The Mustang was originally available as either a hardtop or convertible, but during the car's early design phases a fastback model was strongly considered. The Mustang 2+2 fastback made its inaugural debut with its swept-back rear glass and distinctive ventilation louvers.

The 1966 Mustang debuted with only moderate trim changes and a few new options such as an automatic transmission for the "Hi-Po," a new interior and exterior colors, an AM / eight-track sound system, and one of the first AM/FM monaural radios available in any car.

[edit] 1967–1968

The 1967 model year would see the first of the Mustang's many major redesigns with the installation of big-block V8 engines in mind. The high-performance 289 option now took a supporting role on the option sheet behind a massive 335 hp (250 kW) 390 cid (6.4 L) engine direct from the Thunderbird, which was equipped with a four-barrel carburetor. Stock 390/4speed equipped Mustangs of the day were recording ¼ mile times of mid 13's, with trap speeds of over 105 mph. A drag racer for the street took a stand during the middle of the 1968 model year, as the 428 cid (7.0 L) Cobra Jet engine officially rated at 335 hp (250 kW), but in reality producing well in excess of 400 hp. The 1968 Mustang fastback gained pop culture status when it was used to great effect in the crime thriller Bullitt. Lt. Frank Bullitt drove a modified Mustang GT-390 fastback, played by legendary actor Steve McQueen, chasing two hitmen in a Dodge Charger in the film's famous car chase through the streets of San Francisco. An attractive version of the coupe was offered for 1968 only. The California Special Mustang, or GT/CS, was visually based on the Shelby and was sold only in the Western states. Its sister, the High Country Special was sold in Denver. While the GT/CS was only available in coupe form, the High Country Special was available in a fastback version.

[edit] 1969–1970

1969 saw the introduction of the car's third body style and the Boss 429, a hand-built muscle car intended solely to satisfy the homologating rules of NASCAR. The 1969 model featured a 302 cid V8 rated at 220 hp (164 kW). The coupe was longer than previous models and sported convex rather than concave side "lines". Ford also introduced a luxury Grande model equipped with interior wood paneling, a quartz clock, and a 351 cid Windsor engine.

Only available from 1969 and 1970, the Boss 429 came standard with a Mustang SportsRoof (the new corporate name for the fastback) and the new Mach 1 muscle car version's deluxe interior. It sported none of the garish decals and paint schemes of the day; only a hood scoop and 15 in (380 mm) "Magnum 500" wheels fitted with Goodyear "Polyglas" tires, with a small "BOSS 429" decal on each front fender. Holding a big block with a huge bore and hemispherical combustion chambers, the motor had staggering potential for power. However, the brainchild of this car, the late Larry Shinoda, was disappointed with the finished product. He was quoted as saying that he wanted a 10-second capable car in factory form. For several reasons, the actual production Boss 429 certainly wasn't capable of such times. The rev limiter, a small carburetor (the Boss 302 Mustang had a larger one), restrictive intake manifold, a mild solid lifter cam, and restrictive exhaust corked up the motor and kept it from revving. Furthermore, all of the smog equipment choked it down. The finished product was still strong, rated at 375 horsepower at 5200 RPM, but the powerband was narrow for an engine of this size, a result of the restrictions. Stoplight drag racing was prevalent in the day, and owners of these Mustangs, as well as other cars such as Chrysler's street Hemi, could be surprised by "lesser" cars of the day that produced broader powerbands and more low-rpm torque. 100+ horsepower can easily be added with the right cam/intake/carb/exhaust selection, along with a broader powerband. While power steering was a "mandatory option" on the Boss 429, neither an automatic transmission nor air conditioning was available. In the case of the latter, there simply wasn't enough room under the hood.

Also available during that two-year period was another homologating special for the up-and-coming sport of Trans-American sedan racing. The Boss 302 Mustang was Ford's attempt to mix the power of a muscle car with the handling prowess of a sports car. The automotive press gushed over the result, deeming it the car "the GT-350 should have been." Boasting a graphic scheme penned by Ford designer Larry Shinoda, the "Baby Boss" was powered by an engine that was essentially a combination of the new-for-1968 302 cid (5.0 L) V8 and cylinder heads from the yet to be released new-for-1970 351 cid (5.8 L) "Cleveland". This combination meant that the Boss 302 Mustang was good for a conservatively rated 290 hp (216 kW) through its four-speed manual transmission. Ford originally intended to call the car the Trans Am, but Pontiac had beaten them to it; applying the name to a special version of the Firebird. In the ¼ mile, the Boss 302 posted very similar times to the Boss 429, despite the smaller displacement and an incredibly free-breathing induction system. It should be noted that the blocks from these cars are incredibly strong. Ford Racing plans on selling new Boss 302 Mustang blocks in the near future.

[edit] 1971–1973

1972 Ford Mustang Mach 1
1972 Ford Mustang Mach 1

The Mustang grew larger and heavier with each passing year, culminating with the 1971–73 models designed under the supervision of Ford's new product design manager, Semon "Bunkie" Knudsen, originally of General Motors. Knudsen's turn at the helm would see the last high-performance big-block Mustang, 1971's 375 hp (280 kW) 429 Super Cobra Jet. Ford originally planned to install a 460 in the Mustang as well. Unfortunately, that very same body style that was designed for the sole purpose of big-block installation versions was limited to a maximum of 351 cid (5.8 L) in 1972 and 1973 due to extremely strict U.S. emission control regulations and low demand for big block muscle cars because of high insurance premiums. Two more high-performance engines were introduced in 1972; the 351 "HO" and the 351 Cobra Jet. Both cars were excellent performers, but nowhere near the level of the Boss cars and original Cobra Jet. Car companies switched from "gross" to "net" power and torque ratings in 1972, which coincided with manufacturers making low-compression motors with different, far more restrictive induction systems. Thus, making it difficult to compare power and torque ratings. Very much a different car than the 1964 models, Ford was deluged with mail from fans of the original car who demanded that the Mustang be returned to the way it had been.

[edit] Second Generation (1974–1978)

Second-generation Mustang
Production 1974–1978
Body style(s) 2-door coupé
3-door hatchback
Engine(s) 2.3 L SOHC I4
2.8 L V6
5.0 L V8

Dubbed "Little Jewel" by Lee Iacocca himself, the Mustang II was a project spearheaded by the Mustang's original creator. Iacocca believed that the Mustang had strayed too far from its original concept. A completely re-designed Mustang was in order for 1974. Like the car that preceded it, the Mustang II had its roots in another compact, the Ford Pinto (though less so than the original car was based on the Falcon). The car sold well, with sales of more than 400,000 units the first year. It is worth noting that four of the five years of the Mustang II are on the top-ten list of most-sold Mustangs. The Mustang II featured innovations such as rack-and-pinion steering and a separate engine sub-frame that greatly decreased noise, vibration, and harshness.

The Arab oil embargo, skyrocketing insurance rates, and United States emissions and safety standards destroyed the straight-line performance of virtually every car of the period. In 1974, Chrysler ended production of the Barracuda and its stable mate, the Dodge Challenger. American Motors also discontinued the Javelin at the end of the 1974 model year. GM nearly discontinued the Camaro and Firebird after 1972.

[edit] 1974

The 1974 introduction of the Mustang II earned Ford Motor Trend magazine's Car of the Year honors again and actually returned the car to more than a semblance of its 1964 predecessor in size, shape, and overall styling. Iacocca insisted that the Mustang II be finished to quality standards unheard of in the American auto industry. Unfortunately, the Mustang II suffered from not only being smaller than the original car, but being heavier as well due to new federal emission and safety regulations. Although the car boasted many superior handling and engineering features, its performance could be described as only "mediocre" — no better than other Ford or Detroit products of the day. The Mustang II was positioned to compete head-on with many foreign sports car imports that were hitting the market at that time. The Toyota Celica and the Datsun 280Z were its main competitors. Thus, the car was downsized to adapt to more fuel efficient standards. Available as a hardtop or three-door hatchback, the new car's base engine was a 2.3 L 140 cid SOHC I4, the first fully metric engine built in the U.S. for installation in an American car. A 2.8 L 171 cid V6 was the sole optional engine. Mustang II packages ranged from the base hardtop, 2+2 hatchback, a "Ghia" luxury group with vinyl roof, and a top of the line V6 Mach 1. The popular V8 option would disappear for the first and only time in 1974 (except in Mexico). Ford was swamped by buyer mail and criticized in the automotive press for it.

[edit] 1975–1978

Since the car was never meant to have a V8, it became a mad scramble to re-engineer the car in order to reinstate the 302 cid (5.0 L) V8 option in time for the 1975 model year, but

only with a two-barrel carburetor and 140 "net" horsepower. To make the V8 option fit, changes were made to the front fenders, engine bay, and header panel. Since Ford of Mexico never lost the V8; they assisted in the modifications. Although tepid by today's standards; the car's stock 302 performed quite well by seventies' standards.

1976 Cobra II
1976 Cobra II

The Mustang II's 302cid engine became Ford's first officially designated metric V8 Mustang; the 5.0L. Other than the V8, the car underwent minor changes in 1975. The Ghia received "opera" windows within its vinyl top and a "MPG Stallion" option was offered. To help boost sales and excitement, other performance options were added. Ford introduced the Shelby inspired Cobra II in 1976, and King Cobra in 1978. The King Cobra was a limited edition Mustang with around 5,000 units produced. It featured a deep air-dam and a Pontiac Trans-Am style cobra hood decal. The King Cobra was only available with the V8 to help bolster the car's performance image. Through 1977 and 1978, several styling changes and color options were added to the Cobra II. On the momentum of the Mustang II's successful sales, a totally new Mustang hit the streets in 1979.

[edit] Third Generation (1979–1993)

Third-generation Mustang
Production 1979–1993
Body style(s) 2-door convertible
2-door coupé
3-door hatchback
3-door T-top
Platform FR Fox
Engine(s) 1979-1993
  • 2.3 L 105 hp I4
  • 200 cid I6
  • 3.8 L V6
  • 255 cid 120 hp V8
  • 5.0 L (302 cid) 225 hp V8
Transmission(s) 3-speed automatic
4-speed automatic
4-speed manual
5-speed manual
Wheelbase 100.5 in
Length 179.6 in
Width 68.3 in
Height 52.1 in
Fuel capacity 15.4 US gal

[edit] 1979–1982

For 1979, an all new Mustang hit the dealerships. Larger and based on the "Fox" platform, the new Mustang deviated from the smaller compact Mustangs of the past. The interior was completely redone and could now comfortably seat four, even with the smaller back seat of a muscle car. The new Mustang also enjoyed a great deal of trunk space and a bigger engine bay for better serviceability. The 2.3 liter four cylinder from the earlier car was continued, but refined, in addition to a new turbocharged version rated at 132 horsepower. However, the latter was dropped after one year, due to terrible reliability issues. The Mustang II's 2.8 Cologne (171 cid) V6, made by Ford of Europe, was continued only for a year. The low-revving 302 also returned, rated at 140 horsepower at 3200 rpm. Mustang was again chosen as pace car for duties in the Indianapolis 500. Ford commemorated the honor with an "Indy 500" pace car edition.

Ford's 200 cid inline six replaced the Cologne 2.8 L V6 for 1980. The new 255 cid V8 was the only V8 offered in 1980-1981. Basically a de-bored 302, the 255 had restrictive heads, a pathetic camshaft, and only managed to wheeze out 118 hp (88 kW), the lowest power ever for a Mustang V8. In 1982, the Mustang was revived with the reintroduction of the Mustang GT; bringing more V8 power from the 302 cid (5.0 L) via new valves, a more aggressive cam, a larger 2-barrel carburetor, and a better breathing intake and exhaust system, rated at 157 horsepower. With the 302, it was one of the quickest domestic cars in America.

[edit] 1983–1986

The 3.8 liter (232 cid) Essex V6 replaced the 200 cid I6. The dismal 255 had little demand and was dropped after 1982. Ford added a convertible to the Mustang line in 1983 in response to the 1982 Chrysler convertibles. In 1983, the Mustang GT received a 4-bbl carburetor and a new intake manifold, bringing power to 175 hp. The rare SVO Mustang appeared for 1984, with a far more powerful and refined 2.3 L turbocharged inline-4. It also sported handling and braking abilities that would humble a Mustang GT. However, the steep price tag put off most potential buyers, considering they could purchase the stronger 5.0 L Mustang GT for less. In 1985, the Mustang GT got the exclusive 5.0 L H.O. with new E5 cylinder heads, a Holley 4-barrel carburetor, a new, more aggressive roller camshaft, a new intake manifold, less restrictive exhaust manifolds, and a pseudo dual exhaust which brought more power to a conservatively rated 210 horsepower engine. This combination was short lived however, because in 1986, Ford released the first fuel-injected 5.0 L. With high swirl E6 heads, the early 5.0 H.O. EFI intake possessed higher compression and dual exhausts. It made for a motor with an abundance of throttle response and low rpm torque, in addition to a very broad powerband that would sign off suddenly at just 5000 rpm.

[edit] 1987–1993

In 1987, the Mustang received its first redesign in eight years; incorporating both interior and exterior changes. The exterior design was reminiscent of the earlier SVO and gave the car more of an "Aero" look, in keeping with Ford's overall styling direction. This particular Mustang represents the longest run on any platform and the popularity of the Mustang remained high due to its low cost and high performance. The "5.0" Mustangs, cars that gave birth to an entire aftermarket performance industry, remain extremely popular today. The V6 option was discontinued while the 2.3 four cylinder gained fuel injection, leaving only the 2.3 four cylinder and the 5.0 V8. Under the newly established Ford SVT division, the [[Ford Mustang SVT Cobra] was offered with a 5.0 L Windsor V8 that produced 235 hp (175 kW) and 280 ft·lbf (380 N•m).

[edit] "The Boss Is Back"

1991 Mustang GT with all factory options
1991 Mustang GT with all factory options

In 1982, Ford reintroduced a high-performance Mustang GT which opened the door for an entirely new era of the muscle car. Wringing a then-respectable 157 hp (134 kW) from its "5.0" (actually 4.94 L, 302 cid) Windsor V8 and backed by a four-speed transmission, aggressive tires, and stiff suspension, magazine ads of the period shouted, "The Boss Is Back." A four-barrel carburetor and aluminum intake manifold in the '83 and '84 models bumped power to 175 horsepower and 247 ft·lbf of torque. The 1984 Mustang was to get a 205 horsepower 5.0, but this motor was delayed to '85 and the rating was revised to 210 horsepower and 270 ft·lbf of torque. It got its power from a new, more aggressive roller cam, a less restrictive exhaust system with tubular headers and dual mufflers and tailpipes, as well as new cylinder heads. For those interested in modification, the '85 Mustang also received forged pistons in place of the one in the '84 model and earlier sandcast pistons. This combination was stout, but short-lived. In 1986, the first fuel-injected 5.0 made its debut with E6 Turbo-swirl heads, an intake manifold with very long runners, higher compression (9.25:1), and the first true dual exhaust system (with 4 catalytic converters) on a Mustang in over a decade. It was rated at 200 horsepower, down from the '85 model, but the torque rating rose to 285 ft·lbf. Much like the first 4.6 GTs a decade later, this setup didn't rev very high and only reached peak power at about 5200 rpm.

In 1987, the Mustang received E7 heads and a more capable intake manifold. Power ratings jumped to 225 horsepower and 300 ft·lbf torque. In 1989, the Mustang's speed density air system was replaced with a mass air system. This change slightly reduced factory horsepower, but it made Mustangs much easier to modify. With the mass air system, changes made to the intake, engine, and exhaust system would be recognized and compensated for by the ECU, resulting in a correct air/fuel ratio and optimum power. In 1990, the Mustang celebrated its 25th anniversary with a limited edition of 2,000 special edition cars. Although the anniversary year was technically 1989 1/2, the limited edition was a 1990 model. They all came in Emerald Green, and were called 7-Up cars because Ford made a green and white convertible for a 7-Up ad, even though the contract fell through. In 1993, Ford switched to cast hypereutectic pistons for all the 5.0s and also re-rated the GT at 205 horsepower and 275 ft·lbf torque. This estimate was more accurate because the previous power ratings were made before the addition of the mass air flow system, a minor revision in the cam, and other various changes. Some skeptics say this was done to make the soon-to-be released 4.6 Mustangs look better on paper. A new Cobra model was introduced with more subdued styling than the GT. The Cobra used Ford's new GT-40 high performance engine equipment, which was rated at a very conservative 235 horsepower and 280 ft·lbf torque, that could send a Mustang through the 1/4 mile in under 14 seconds. An R model Cobra was also produced in 1993 that used the same 302 cid motor as the regular Cobra. It featured larger brakes, Koni shocks and struts, an engine oil cooler, a power steering cooler, and a factory rear seat delete. Since the Cobra R was more race oriented, creature comforts such as air conditioning and a stereo system were not included.


2006 Mustang Shelby GT-H
2006 Mustang Shelby GT-H
2007 Shelby GT500
2007 Shelby GT500
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2007 V6 with Pony Package

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