Folks, please welcome the all-American Ford Mustang. Built in America’s own backyard, this is the car that your parents and grandparents grew up with. It’s the car that your parents probably had a poster of in their dorm rooms. They might've even passed down the poster. Your parents probably had this car because they fell in love with it. They took trips in it, they went to McDonald's in it, they went to movie theaters in it, and on and on… it’s famous.
If you have any penchant for any sports cars, you’re bound to bump into the Mustang. This sports car is well known, and it's been that way since the day it was conceived. Just look at the numbers. The very first model year led to 121K units being sold, which is, by the way, an astronomical number for a car that had just been released. And if that wasn’t enough, the next year saw the number reach the revenue of some successful businesses of that time: 560K units were sold—that’s five times more than the previous year. Five. Times. More. The number only increased for the next year before dropping and then following a minimally amplified sinusoidal curve. In between, the numbers peaked due to the new release of new generations.
I was kind of astonished by a question asked on a forum about cars. It asked, “People with non-V8 Mustang/Challenger/Camaro, why?” Even if you remove the V8 part of the question, the question does bring up a thought-provoking issue for some.
20 It’s Powerful
Not a lot of cars have what the Mustang has going for it power-wise. Now, if you're a big fan of horses, this car literally has a horse as its badge. But that doesn’t mean you should buy a car just because of that. Imagine buying a car that has "AVT" written on it. What does that even mean? Nothing. You can’t tell whether that’s good or bad. But the Mustang has mechanical horses to sport the horse logo—that’s why you need to buy it. The engine options are diverse for the new ones, and the same thing can be said for the older ones—but not necessarily for other sports cars. But with the 2018 Mustang, you have anywhere from 310 HP to 460 HP.
19 Its Designers Are Committed
I don’t know if the name "John Najjar" fires a few of your neurons differently, but after you read this entry, I guarantee you, a few will fire differently each time you read the words "John Najjar." That’s basic—no, moderately advanced—science. He was the individual credited with designing and styling Ford cars for over 40 years. Born to a Lebanese family in Nebraska, he started working as an apprentice at Ford’s apprentice school in Michigan, where he worked as a machinist. Believe it or not, he was approached by Henry Ford himself, who asked him if he liked working as a machinist. Najjar retorted he’d, and I quote, “rather be drawing cars.” Well, there you go—a legend spotted talent who, since then, has been designing America’s best-selling sports car.
18 It's Built By A Legend: Henry Ford
The previous entry brings me to my next point, Henry Ford. Simply put, the car is an ultimate result of a legend. Just to be clear, Henry Ford didn't exactly invent either the assembly line or the company Ford. Instead, he commercialized both of them; he made them known and applicable at a volume unseen before. There was the concept of the car before, but Henry Ford made it available at such a cheap price that it became irresistible for Americans—not irresistible in the sense of "I need the iPhone 8 because mine is, well, an iPhone 7" but irresistible because through his work, people didn't have to ride horses and feed it in the middle of their excursions. It was the first time the convenience of a car became a reality for the likes of us.
17 It's Reasonably Priced
I briefly touched on this in the last entry. One of the reasons for Henry Ford's net worth (his family's/company owner's net worth, as he’s long deceased) of $188 B is that he made these things available at a very cheap price—and that's because he revolutionized the concept of assembly line and used his skills and experiences to make something that the world could use. Now, technology has made production so ubiquitous and mechanized that it seems like a no-brainer in factories, but it wasn't the case back then. Anyways, each year, the price of the car kept going down and sales, up. That, my friend, was the magic of a newfound appreciation of the assembly line. Try doing that in today's economy without filing Chapter 7 (read: bankruptcy). Ford Mustang, even today, holds that value of a Ford, costing only $25.5K.
16 It's Influential
The legendary Mustang has done a lot in its lifetime. It was the first-of-its-kind vehicle—people were just crazy about it. So, naturally, it inspired other manufacturers to be like it. Toyota was first in line. Now, Celica is a great car. It’s got a sporty look of its own, having been produced from 1970-2006. It was right in the beginning few years (1973 and the few years after that) that Toyota produced its own liftback called "Toyota Celica (liftback) GT."
The entire structure was modeled after the Mustang.
This wasn't in violation of copyrights or anything like that. Both parties were aware of Toyota’s attempt, and if anything, Toyota was simply paying homage to the muscle cars of that era. The Celica GT was termed the "Japanese Mustang."
15 It's Influential: Part II
So, Ford produced the Mustang starting in 1964, and it hit the market like a bomb. At that point, Chevrolet, being an American car manufacturer, saw its personnel sitting with hands on their laps, wondering what the next step would be. But they decided to get the ball rolling just a few months after the Mustang had started making noises in the market. It was June 21, 1966 when 200 automotive journalists were sent an invitation letter containing the following words: "Please save noon of June 28 for [an] important SEPAW meeting. Hope you can be on hand to help scratch a cat. Details will follow...(signed) John L. Cutter – Chevrolet public relations – SEPAW secretary." The "cat" there was referring to Panther, the name the Camaro was supposed to be given. While the name turned out to be "Camaro" rather than "Panther," the fact remains that the Camaro was built to compete with the Mustang.
14 It’s Influential: Part III
Mustang had done pleasantly well in the US. Naturally, Ford didn’t want to miss the opportunity to capitalize on other markets, such as the European market. It didn’t exactly have a “European company” until 1967, but before that, Ford did have the German Ford Taunus Transit and the British Ford Thames 400E. The two lineups combined, and all came under the company called "Ford of Europe" in 1967.
And guess what the European Ford introduced in 1968? The European Mustang, Ford Capri.
It imitated the looks of the US counterpart but was just sold in the continent of Europe. While the Capri only lasted until 1986, which is still a lot of years, the Capri did well for as long as it stayed in the market. 1.9 M units were sold in those years.
13 It’s In Popular Culture
Remember the R&B song “Mustang Sally"? Anyone? While the song was written and first recorded by Mack Rice in 1965, it gained true momentum when it was done by Wilson Pickett in 1966. The song was rather popular. Rice’s version was listed at #15 on the US R&B chart in 1965; Pickett’s was #6 on R&B, #23 on the Pop charts, #4 in Canada on the RPM charts and #38 in the UK Singles Charts. Even decades later, it ranked at #434 in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Why does it all matter? Because it’s a song about a guy who buys a Mustang for his girlfriend! But really, what it did was serve as a free advertisement for Ford Motor Company. Not that Mustang needed that—it was already famous.
12 It’s In Popular Culture: Part II
While Pickett may have been yearning for and advertising the Mustang in those days, things have come to the point where games are being built around Mustang cars. It’s just like a superstar who’s having other companies take interest in her name because she's so successful.
It’s not that difficult to imagine a video game being named after any one car manufacturer.
That’s quite feasible, as so many lineups are the end result of any given auto manufacturer. There's a racing video game based on Ford Motor Company, but to produce a game based entirely on a single lineup? That’s more difficult to pull off. But who else would be a better candidate than the Mustang? Ford Mustang: The Legend Lives features only Mustangs in the game that's supported on PS2 and Xbox.
11 It’s In Popular Culture: Part III
This Mustang had a couple of documentaries on it, the most recent one being David Gelb’s A Faster Horse. Much like as I mentioned for the video game, a documentary for a company isn't as big a deal as it is for a make. No doubt, the Ford Mustang was going to be the topic of it. In fact, the director had released it in the year coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the first Mustang. While I haven’t watched the film, I’d imagine it’s a well-thought-out documentary. This is the same director who released the documentary series called Chef’s Table. It’s available on Netflix. Anyways, the film goes into the roots of the Mustang and then focuses on the process that goes into making a newer version of the Mustang, all while keeping the car saturated in legacy.
10 It’s Got Many Clubs
This is probably the only car that has more than 250 clubs around the US and the world at large. You can probably find a Mustang club in your area. To give you a sociology definition of a club, it’s essentially “an association of two or more people united by a common interest or goal.” These clubs are something similar to what you experienced in high school or college. I remember my own time volunteering at a hospital through a club called “Madison House.” Actually, that’s more of an organization rather than a club, but the point remains valid all the same. Unlike you would for your high school club, you probably would join the Mustang club because you want to. You'd want to meet other like-minded Mustang owners and discuss the glories of the car.
9 Its Production Has Been Continuous
There are very few lineups that can boast a continuous run of more than 50 years, let alone a sports lineup. Only a few others are in the same boat as the Mustang, including the Ford F-Series, the Toyota Land Cruiser, and the Chevrolet Suburban. Currently, the Mustang is in its sixth generation.
The first-generation cars, 1965-1973, were produced by Lee Iacocca and Donald Frey, the latter working on the T-5 prototype, which is the prototype of the Ford.
The second generation spanned from 1974-78, and it produced stronger and more efficient Mustangs. Iacocca had become the president by then. The second generation also recovered from the downfall that ensued after Ford had tried to make the Mustang into something it’s not: a luxury car. The design of the Mustang remained relatively constant throughout, though.
8 Mustang's Various Body Styles
The car has plenty of body styles to offer in a Mustang, from coupes to hatchbacks to fastbacks to convertibles. Coupes are cars that have two doors and can support either 2+2 or just two seats. Of course, Mustang doesn’t support a sedan style. That would defeat the whole purpose of the Mustang. Sedans are bigger, are more comfortable, and house the entire family in a car.
While the downfall in the later years of the first generation happened not because Ford was trying to make a Mustang sedan, it was trying to make it more luxurious and the like, which caused it to become fat and lazy.
It was a debacle. Anyways, added to the fleet were the hatchback, the fastback, and the convertible. The story would've been completely different had Ford gone for the convertible when it had gone for the luxury appeal.
7 The Mustang Museum
How many cars do you know that have a museum for them? While cars like Ferrari and Bentley probably have private collectors holding on to the most exotic and unique ones, they still don’t have the support of the masses like the Mustang does. Two years ago, the National Mustang Museum was announced, its opening expected in April 2018. The museum will be located in Concord, North Carolina. The location was chosen after the success of the 50th-anniversary celebration there. The museum will showcase various classic and unique Mustangs. You walk around, and the Mustangs will rotate. Every angle, every corner, and every aspect will be visible for you to draw from. There will be 40-44 Mustangs in the museum at any given time; of course, they'll bring in new cars periodically.
6 Mustangs Are Easy To Resell
With such a reasonable price of $25.5K for a standard Mustang, these roads are replete with these cars. This was one of the intended goals of Ford back when production started for the Mustang.
But because it’s quite common and rather desirable, it’s easy to sell it back.
It’s not like you invested in a Bugatti Chiron and need to find the contact information of Floyd Mayweather to sell your Chiron because you don’t like it anymore and don’t want to lose all of the $2.6M that you spent on it. With the Mustang, you can easily find buyers. And if for some reason you can’t find a buyer in the US, try exporting it to Europe. They'll definitely be eager to get a hand on your Mustang.
5 Mustang Has Won Many Awards
Besides winning the heart of Americans, the Mustang has also won the calculating hearts of the tester and the writers of Car and Driver and Motor Trend.
Mustang occupied the space of Car and Driver's Ten Best lists in 1983, 1987, 1988, 2005, 2006, 2011, 2016, and 2017.
The winner during both 2016 and 2017 was the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 / GT350R. It also won the Motor Trend Car of the Year award in 1974 and 1994. The Motor Trend award was more substantial in my opinion, though, as that goes to only one car in a year and is based on several criteria. The overall winner is either a top-notch all-new car or a substantially upgraded vehicle. There are six key criteria: efficiency, safety, value, engineering excellence, design advancement, and performance of intended function. No vehicles over $100K are considered in order to avoid the luxuries from skewing the game.
4 Mustangs Can Race
Mustang race cars are fabulous, too. The first time a Mustang made a public appearance on the tracks in the 1964 Indianapolis 500, all the other cars followed it—it acted as the pace car. That year, it also won first and second class at the Tour de France international rally. It’s not unfamiliar to the drag races. If you’re not familiar with that term, let me help. It’s basically where two cars compete to race a short distance, with one quarter mile being the most common distance. While all cars have had electronic timing and speed sensing systems since the 1960s, not all cars need to be your conventional cars. Some are extremely long, some look stocky, some this, and some that. But in addition to drag racing, Mustang has seen stock car races and the legitimate F1 tracks.
3 It’s In Your Heart
If you've grown around cars or had parents, uncles, or older brothers who showed you what a car is and how you fix and maintain one, the Mustang probably lies in your heart. If it doesn’t, I don’t want to force you at all. But if it's occupying your mind, then you'll probably want to have a Mustang. One of the persons I work with is really into cars. He grew up during the time when Mustang came out. He can look at T-shirts with pictures of cars from his era and name each one and the year they came out in. The T-shirt design of cars isn't exactly high-resolution, but that’s how you know he's a true car lover. So, it probably is in your heart also. I wouldn’t endorse you making a rash decision, but I’d suggest following your dream.
2 Mustangs Are Winners At Car Shows
You can take your Mustang to any car show, and it'll turn heads. These cars are famous yet obtainable, but for some reason, we just admire the ones we don’t have; we admire the other person’s Mustang. They're reasonably priced, but that doesn’t mean you own more than one Mustang, and there are many.
So, no matter where you go, you'll get attention. If you’re driving an old one, you’ll get attention because it’s classic.
Ride a new model, and spontaneous kids look at you and wonder when they'll have their own 2017 Ford Mustang. But it’s a good car. It’s the American car. I can almost hear Donald Trump endorsing it.
1 It’s A Best-Seller
It’s the best-selling sports car in the US. That could be taken as evidence for why Americans need a Ford Mustang. Actually, it’s not so much a reason as to why they need it as much as it's a testament to the popularity of the Mustang. I was just looking at the sales number from 2016—the differences in numbers are astounding.
About 105K units of Mustangs were sold, which is 33K greater than the runner-up Camaro.
And then comes the Dodge Challenger at number three, which itself was 10K below the Camaro. (I never thought that the Jaguar XE would make it on the list. It’s at number nine for curious souls.) At the very end of the list (number 10) you have the Nissan 370Z—the GTR doesn’t even make it on the list.
Sources: wikipedia.org; Top Gear; Car and Driver