April 17, 1964 – The Ford Mustang goes on sale

Picture yourself the New York Auto Show on this day in 1964. The bustling crowds herd in front of a stage and await a monumental announcement from the grandson of Henry Ford, Henry Ford II. When he finally begins to speak you can feel the electricity in the air as the anticipation to lay eyes on Ford’s next great automobile balloons. Then POP!  The Mustang is released for all eyes to see. It is the car that launched the Pony car revolution and dropped a huge bomb on the auto industry, catapulting American sports into a spotlight that previously shined only on the Europeans. The Ford Mustang was here.

Above: 1964 1/2 Ford Mustang Interior by F.D. Richards
Top: Henry Ford II at the Ford Mustang debut

On the same day the car debuted at the show it was released to the general public through authorized Ford dealers. Approximately 22,000 of them sold the first day. 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 on the market, it’s massive success was a welcomed surprise. A huge part of the monumental sales figured 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 Iococca was one of the main players behind the Mustang. Work on the Mustang began in 1960 when the marketing genius that is Iococca 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.

Get it here!

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