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April 17, 1964 – The Ford Mustang goes on sale

Picture yourself the New York Auto Show on this day in 1964. You’re in a huge crowd, gathered to hear Henry Ford II, grandson of Henry Ford, make a monumental announcement. He begins his speech, puffing up a balloon of anticipation. Then POP!  The curtain drops and you feast your eyes on an all new car! The pony car revolution is about to blossom. A bomb has been dropped on the auto industry, catapulting American sports cars into a spotlight that previously shined only on the Europeans. The Ford Mustang is here.

1964 1/2 Ford Mustang

On the same day the car debuted at the show, dealers began sales to the general public. Approximately 22,000 of them sold the first day on the market. Within 18 months, more than 1,000,000 Mustangs were sitting in driveways all across the world. Ford had hoped to only sell 100,000 in the car’s first year, so it’s massive success was a welcomed surprise. A huge part of the monumental sales figures had to do with a low introductory price of just $2,368, about $18,000 today.

The first Ford Mustang off the assembly line.

Lee Iacocca was one of the main players behind the Mustang, on which work began in 1960. As a marketing phenom, Iacocca realized there was a lot of young money out there. He and his team, including Hal Sperlich, came up with the idea for a car with the sex appeal of the European sports cars but the convenience and power of an American coupe. The Mustang became the greatest selling model for Ford since the Model T. The rest, as they say, is history, until you find the pair again revolutionizing automotive history with a much less sexy vehicle: the Chrysler minivans.

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