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History of the Ford Mustang

Ford Mustang

The Ford Mustang has been around since the 60s and has been an outstanding car for gear heads, enthusiasts, and the average Joe. The Ford Mustang was introduced to the public on April 17, 1964 at the famous New York World’s Fair. The original Mustang prototype was a two-seat, mid-mounted engine roadster, but this idea was scrapped in large part due to the low sales experienced with the two-seat 1955 Thunderbird. Ford decided to remodel it as a four-seat car with full space for the front bucket seats, and a rear bench seat with significantly less space than was common at the time.

The 70s brought about more stringent pollution laws, and as a result, large, fuel-inefficient cars fell into disfavor, and the Mustang was no exception. So the new model Mustang, which was dubbed Mustang II, was introduced in 1973, and its reduced size allowed it to compete more effectively against smaller imported sports coupes such as the Toyota Celica. Ford wanted a new car to its 1964 predecessor in size, shape, and overall styling to be finished to a high standard. However not only was it smaller than the original, but it was heavier because of the addition of the new emission equipment. Performance was hampered and the powerful car, with its new handling features, seemed to lose its giddy-up.

In 1979 the Mustang was based on the larger Fox platform, and the interior was restyled to accommodate four people in comfort despite it having a smaller rear seat. In response to the slumping sales and escalating fuel prices during the early 80s, a new Mustang was in development. It was to be a variant of the Mazda MX-6. There were plenty of Mustang enthusiasts that wrote to Ford objecting to the proposed change to a front-wheel drive, Japanese-designed Mustang without a V8 option. The result was a major facelift of the existing Mustang in 1987, while the MX-6 variant became the 1989 Ford Probe.

In 1994 the Mustang underwent its first major redesign in fifteen years. They code named it the “SN-95”, it was based on an updated version of the rear-wheel drive Fox platform called “Fox-4.” This new style incorporated several styling cues from the earlier model Mustangs, and for the first time since 1973, a hatchback coupe model was unavailable. The base model came with a 3.8 OHV V6 engine and was combined with a standard 5-speed manual transmission or optional 4-speed automatic. Ford retired the 302 V8 after nearly 40 years of use, and replaced it with the newer modular 4.6L SOHC V8 in the 1996 Mustang GT.

For 1999, the Mustang received Ford’s new edge styling theme with sharper contours, larger wheel arches, and creases in its bodywork, but its basic proportions, interior design, and chassis remained the same as the previous model. The Mustang’s powertrains were carried over for 1999, but benefitted from new improvements. The standard 3.8L V6 featured a new split-port induction system, while the GT’s 4.6L V8 saw an increase in output due to a new head design and other enhancements. Three alternate models were offered in this generation: the 2001 Bullitt, 2003 and 2004 Mach 1, as well as the always popular Cobra.

Ford introduced a completely redesigned Mustang at the 2004 North American International Auto Show, which was based on an all-new DC platform for the 2005 model year. The fifth-generation Mustang’s styling echoes the fastback Mustangs of the late 60s. The base model was powered by a 4.0L SOHC V6, which replaced the 3.8L pushrod V6 used previously. The GT features an aluminum block 4.6L SOHC V8 with variable camshaft timing. The base Mustang came with a standard Tremec T-5 5-speed manual transmission while Ford’s own 5R55S 5-speed automatic, a Mustang first, was optional. Though the Mustang GT featured the same automatic transmission as the V6 model, the Tremec T-5 manual is substituted with the heavier duty Tremec TR-3650 5-speed manual transmission to better handle the GT’s extra power.

Ford unveiled a redesigned Mustang in 2010 prior to the Los Angeles International Auto Show. The 2010 Mustang remains on the D2C platform and mostly retains the previous year’s drivetrain options. It received a revised exterior, with only the roof panel being retained, that is sculpted for a leaner, more muscular appearance and better aerodynamic performance. The V6 for base Mustangs remains unchanged, while the Mustang GT’s 4.6L V8 has been revised to specifications similar to that of the 2008-2009 Mustang Bullitt’s 4.6L V8.

Other mechanical features for the 2010 Mustang include new spring rates and dampers to improve ride quality and control, standard traction control system and stability control system on all models, and new wheel sizes. For the Mustang GT, two performance packages were made available. Other new features and options for the 2010 Mustang include the Ford SYNC, dual-zone automatic climate control, an updated navigation system with Sirius Travel Ling, capless fuel filler, and a reverse camera system. The SYNC, navigation, and the reverse camera are not available on the basic V6 coupe.

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