Few vehicles are more American than the car that started the ‘pony wars’, the Ford Mustang. This quintessential muscle car has taken on many forms, including coupe, convertible, notchback and hatchback. It’s run the gamut as far as power trains go too, having been propelled by everything from a turbocharged four-cylinder to a thundering big block V-8.
BACKGROUND OF THE FORD MUSTANG
The Mustang debuted during the time of the Vietnam War, Lyndon Johnson and Beatles. The year was 1964 – and a half, which pushes the 50th Anniversary of the Mustang over into 2015. So, just how has the ‘Stang held up over the last half a century?
Well, to start with, over 8 million Mustangs have been sold since the first pony left Ford’s stable back in the 1960s. Sure, McDonalds sells that many Big Macs in just a few days and Starbucks probably sells that many cups of coffee in just a few hours, but as far muscle cars are concerned, the Mustang is a best seller.
FOURTH AND FIFTH GENERATION FORD MUSTANGS
The fourth generation was based on an updated version of the rear-wheel drive Fox platform called “Fox-4.” Many consider this the first modern Mustang in both function and design.
The fifth-generation Mustang made its debut in 2005. This generation of vehicles was based on the new D2C platform and is known for its retro-styling, which employs design cues from the fastback models of the late-1960s. The powertrain for 2005 included a choice of either a 4.0L 6-cylinder or a 4.6L 8-cylinder mated to either a 5-speed manual or automatic. The interior was greatly improved over the outgoing Mustang with high quality materials and numerous retro styling touches.
In 2006, the Mustang saw a couple changes including the addition of the pony package, as well two new 18 wheel choices and unique suspension tuning to the GT. Model year 2007 saw the introduction an AUX input jack, the option of Sirius satellite and DVD-based navigation system. Seventeen-inch wheels are now a stand-alone option on V6 models. A new Comfort Package with heated seats, six-way power adjustments for the front-passenger seat and an auto-dimming rearview mirror was also made available.
For 2008, front seat side airbags were added, as well as optional xenon headlights. A limited edition Warriors in Pink package was released to help support the Susan G. Komen cancer charity. The Mustang received a refresh in 2010 complete with larger wheels, standard stability control. The GT received more power and a better handling suspension. Ford’s Sync multimedia integration system was also made available for the first time in a Mustang.
A little over halfway into the fifth generation, in 2012, Ford re-introduced the legendary Boss 302 model. In 2013, the Ford Mustang received an updated exterior, available Recaro sport seats, and manual shift control for automatic transmissions. For the final year of the fifth generation, 2014, the Mustang remained unchanged in anticipation of the upcoming sixth generation.
CURRENT 2015 FORD MUSTANGS
Finally, the sixth and most current generation Mustang, was unveiled in 2015. The aesthetics of the new Mustang have been tweaked from the previous generation, and a host of technical improvements have been made including the addition of an independent rear suspension.
Under the hood, you’ll find a range of new engine options including a 3.7L 6-cylinder, 5.0L 8-cylinder and an EcoBoost turbocharged 2.3L 4-cylinder.
Transmission options include either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic with manual shifting paddles.
With over 50 years under its Pirelli tires, the Mustang continues to be a top seller and a crowd favorite. With the debut of the functional and beautiful 2015 model, the pony car won’t be put out to pasture anytime soon.