Fewer brands embody the American spirit the way the Ford Mustang has. Over the years, the Mustang has come to represent the American spirit of freedom and speed. A testament to this is how it has permeated America’s pop culture. The Mustang has appeared in well over 3000 movies to date and is a fixture of car racing movies, often postured as a high-performance vehicle for the commoner.
As the Mustang gets more embedded into pop culture, it’s important not to lose track of the things that make it genuinely special to us. The Mustang is part of a generation of automobiles that defined the muscle category. If you’re a Mustang enthusiast or owner, here are a couple of interesting facts you should know about your beloved car manufacturers
Table of Contents
- 1 The Mustang Name Doesn’t Refer to A Horse
- 2 Ford Mustangs Were an Instant Hit
- 3 The Mustang’s Consistency is Unrivalled
- 4 Mustang Engine Horsepower Landmarks
- 5 Least Performing Mustang
- 6 Best Selling Mustang Model Year
- 7 Worst Selling Mustang Model Year
- 8 Largest Engine Mustang
- 9 First Mustang with Four Cylinders
- 10 First Supercharged Mustang
- 11 First Turbocharged Mustang
- 12 Most Valuable Mustang Ever Sold
The Mustang Name Doesn’t Refer to A Horse
While the Mustang brand is now synonymous with the image of a horse, that wasn’t always the idea. In fact, when naming the model, several names were pitched to the board. Some of the pitched names were panther, cougar, stiletto, and colt. While we can argue in hindsight that none of them were as iconic as the Mustang name, it wasn’t so obvious then.
The designer credited with naming the Mustang, John Najjar, claims that when he first pitched the name to the board, he linked it to a P-51 fighter jet that went by the same name. The board rejected it. Najjar had to pitch the idea again, this time linking it to the horse breed before it was accepted.
Ford Mustangs Were an Instant Hit
Although Lee Iacocca and the Ford board knew they had something special in the Mustang, they were not aware of just how special it was. On the day of the launch at the world fair in 1964, the Mustang sold 22,000 units. This was unprecedented, although it was probably helped by the fact that Ford advertised the car on primetime TV on three major networks the day before the debut. However, what followed after that was more than an advertisement slot could have paid for.
What is more impressive is that after the year rounded up, the Mustang had quadrupled the forecasted sales by moving 400,000 units as opposed to 100,000.
The Mustang’s Consistency is Unrivalled
Ford Mustangs have shown incredible consistency and ability to stay at pace with changing design and functional trends. Every year since the launch of Mustangs in 1964 has witnessed a release of new vehicles. That’s 56 years of consistent production. To show just how hard that is to achieve, a lot of the brands that started with the Mustang have stopped production since 2002.
Mustang Engine Horsepower Landmarks
Mustangs have always been known for being trendsetters when it comes to engine power. We’ll be looking at the landmark models that broke mustang horsepower records.
First Mustang With 300+ Horsepower
When the Mustang entered the market, the most powerful engine from Ford had a performance of 271 horsepower. Carroll Shelby was contracted to help create the ever-popular Shelby GT350 Mustang which clocked 306 horsepower at 4200 revolutions per minute (rpm). The car was designed in Shelby’s facility in Los Angeles and was released in 1966. The engine was accompanied with a 715 cfm carburetor, the now-iconic “cobra hi-riser” intake manifold and exhausts that came out in front of the rare tires.
First Mustang With 400+ Horsepower
Interestingly, the first Mustang to be clocked at 400+ hp came four years after the 500+ hp model. There has been no explanation for this strange behaviour from Ford. It was not until 2011 that the Coyote-powered Mustang appeared with its 412 hp rating. If you want to upgrade your vehicle, there are higher horsepower coyote engines available. You can check here for an example of one: http://shop.revologycars.com/products/crate-engine-roush-5-0l-coyote-rsc-supercharged
First Mustang With 500+ Horsepower
Released in 20007 to much aplomb, the Supercharged 5.4-liter GT500 was released as the first 500+ hp mustang. It was rated at exactly 500 hp at 6000 rpm and had 480 lb-ft of torque at 45000 rpm. At the time of release, it was the fastest and most powerful Mustang.
First Mustang With 600+ Horsepower
In 2013, another supercharged version of the GT500 was released. The Mustang was in direct competition with the Chevy Camaro and Dodge Challenger, so Ford cranked up the performance to an all-time high.
The new Mustang had ratings of 662 hp at 6250 rpm and 631 lb-ft of torque at 4000 rpm. The rating was enough to land it the title of America’s most powerful muscle car that year. The new, supercharged GT500 could go from 0-10 mph in only 3.5 seconds and was officially the first Mustang that could reach speeds of 200 mph.
First Mustang With 700+ Horsepower
In January 2020, Ford unveiled what may be the most powerful Mustang yet—using a new DOHC 5.2-liter V8 supercharger in the 2020 Shelby GT500, Ford claim to have been able to breach the 700-horsepower benchmark. At 760 horsepower, the vehicle has twice the horsepower of most earlier Mustang versions. The 2020 GT500 will, in addition, be the first Shelby Mustang to have auto transmission
Least Performing Mustang
While we have gotten used to high-performing, record-breaking cars from Ford Mustang, they haven’t always covered themselves in glory. The Mustang II, released in 1975, is a prime example of this. That year, the standard four-cylinder engine lost one horsepower, bringing its performance down to just 87 hp.
The reduction in performance engine cylinders was likely as a result of trying to bring down the size of the vehicle as some customers had complained that Mustangs were getting too large. The vehicle’s performance suffered across board, but fortunately, the V8 engine came onboard in 1975.
Best Selling Mustang Model Year
Interestingly, the Mustang has not grown in terms of sales units since its first year. Although it was launched in the year 1964, all models from the first year are officially considered part of the 1965 class of Mustangs. That year, over 680,000 units of Ford Mustangs were sold.
An important part of those sales are the 1964½ Mustangs. They are popularly called so because of a gap in VINs between some of the earlier 1965 Mustangs and the latter ones. What is less popularly known is that this gap in VINs was so that Ford could improve the engine from using a generator to using an alternator. 1964 Mustangs all have a 1965 VIN.
Worst Selling Mustang Model Year
While Mustang sales have generally declined over the years, there have been terrible dips in sales here and there. 2009, so far holds the record for being the year with the least sales for Mustangs worldwide.
Demand for Mustangs dropped drastically, perhaps due to increased expectations of the new retro-styled 2010 Mustang, which had already been announced. Thankfully, the following year made up for it. Ford sold 81,508 units of the Mustang in 2010, which is one of the higher sales records in recent years.
Largest Engine Mustang
Ford made one of the biggest automobile displacement engines in the 429 cubic inches. There were two variations of the engine. The first was released as the Boss 429 in 1969 For the semi-finals of the year’s Nascar Racing. The engine was rated at only 375 hp, which was a really big deal then.
In 1971, Ford released the common use 429 V-8 as both the 370-hp 429 CJ and the 429 SCJ. It was rated at 375 hp and had more compression, an aluminum intake, a 780 cfm Holley, and other awesome properties.
First Mustang with Four Cylinders
Reducing cylinder sizes only became commonly accepted in the 2010s. However, the Ford Mustang had done it over 30 years earlier. The 1975 Mustang II was released as the first four-cylinder Mustang.
It is well known as the least powerful Mustang ever made with only 87 hp. It, however, made a killing in sales at the time. Newer four-cylinder Mustangs are, however, better equipped for high performance.
First Supercharged Mustang
The first supercharged Mustang came quite early. In 1966, Caroll Shelby fitted a Paxton supercharger to eleven GT350 fastbacks. According to him, the addition improved the horsepower of the vehicle by 46%. Shelby did not go on to make it a standalone model but instead made it an option that could be ordered separately from the car at the customer’s request.
First Turbocharged Mustang
The Fox-body Mustang became the first turbocharged Mustang in 1979. The turbocharged four-cylinder engine used in the Fox-body improved performance from 118 to 132 horsepower. It was recorded hitting 60 mph in 9.1 secs in that year’s Car and Driver’s test.
Most Valuable Mustang Ever Sold
As Mustangs become more of a part of American car folklore, they continue to increase in value, especially vintage versions.
In 2019, a vintage Mustang broke the record for “most expensive Mustang ever.” The 1967 Shelby GT500 Super Snake was sold at $2.2 million. This broke the previous record held by the same car of being sold for $1.3 million in 2013. The car was only built as a test model and is rare.
The 1967 Shelby EXP GT5000 Green Hornet is the only Mustang is thought to be more expensive, but it hasn’t been successfully auctioned since the reserve price hasn’t been met.