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Model Cars and Trucks

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The Ford Mustang: 1964 1/2-1970
  The Mustang can be considered the greatest automotive success story of the 1960s. Itís first year sales set an all time record for new models and it raised Fords overall volume by more than half a million cars. Between its April 1964 introduction and Jan. 1965, a total of 680,989 Mustangs were sold. Dealers began auctioning them off because buyer demand exceeded supply by 15 to 1. America was in love with the Mustang.

  This remarkable accomplishment can be credited to Lee A. Iacocca, the engineer turned salesman. Mr. Iacocca worked his way up from an obscure sales position to Vice-President and General Manager of Ford Division in 5 years. He later became President of Ford Motor Co., then switched over to Chrysler Corp. to be Chairman of the Board. His idea was to deliver to the people a new personal car. From his days in sales, he had many people asking why Ford would not bring back the 2 seat T-Bird. The notes he had begun to jot down slowly grew into a solid plan by 1961. His young persons car would be inexpensive to build, but would be stylish and have a sporty look. It would be under $2500. list and projected volume was 100,000 units/year.

  The first Mustang prototype was a low, mid-engine, fiberglass 2 seater, on a 90? wheelbase, powered by a 2 liter Ford V4 with 90hp. This version was pretty impractical and Iacocca knew it was not the way to go. More prototypes followed, until finally the 4 seat, 108 wheelbase, conventionally laid out version of ?64 1/2. From a marketing standpoint, it could not have been better.

  For the ?65-?68 model years, the Mustang came in 3 basic forms: a hardtop, a convertible, and a semi-fastback coupe. Convertible sales started at the 100,000 unit/year level but dropped to less than 15,000 by 1969. The crisp notchback hardtop was the sales leader. The coupe, known as the 2+2 was introduced with the rest of the Ford line in Autumn 1964. It soon overtook the convertible in sales and averaged about 50,000/year through 1970.

The standard Mustang engines during the first 6 months of production were the 170 c.i. Falcon and the 260 c.i. small-block V8. By fall these were replaced with the Ford 200 c.i. six and the bored out 289 V8. Towards the end of the 1960s, before government regulation put an end to Fords Total Performance program, the company had offered increasingly powerful engine options. For 1967, you could get the 390 V8(with 320bhp), in 1968 the most powerful was the 427 (390bhp), for ?69 a 335bhp 428 was available. In 1970, the Boss series featured a 429 V8 with 375bhp.

  Part of the cars appeal was the fact that a customer could really personalize their choice through a combination of the many options available. You could end up with a cute, economy car or a thundering street rod depending on your tastes. Transmissions available were the automatic, 4 spd, 3spd, and stick overdrive. Handling packages, power steering, disc brakes, AC, tach and clock were options as well as bench seats (buckets were standard). For $170.00 you could get the GT package which included front disc brakes, full gauge instrument panel, and special badges

  The Mustang?s shape was the work of Joe Oros, L. David Ash, and Gayle L. Halderman of Ford Division Styling Studio. The long hood and short deck became the winning formula for what soon was known as the Ponycar. The styling was so good that only minor changes were made in the first few years. The 67 had a deeper grille and sculptured side panels that ended in thin simulated air scoops. The 2+2 adopted full fastback styling that year. The ?68 sported a new grille with an inner bright ring around the Mustang emblem.  In 1969 the package changed more extensively. The 69 was lower, longer and wider than earlier models with ventless side glass and an egg-crate grille. A sports roof fastback with simulated air scoops and rear deck spoiler joined the line along with a 6 or V8 Grande Hardtop Coupe, priced at $2866.- $2971., and the Mach I (351 V8) fastback at $3139.

  The 1970 Boss Mustangs were even more unique than the 1969s, flashily painted, well suspended and fitted with the hottest engines on the market. A competition shifter with Hurst linkage was new. Moving up the price scale was the Boss 429 powered by Fords Cobra Jet NASCAR engine, with cast magnesium rocker arm covers and semi-hemi combustion chambers. Available Mach I engines for 1970 ranged from a 351 V8 to a 428cid 4 barrel with ram air. The Mach I featured a special grille with driving lamps, flat black center hood section, functional hood scoop and quick fill gas cap. The luxury Grande was still offered with 6 or 8 cylinders. Like all Mustangs that year, it inherited the 69 Mach Is high back styling. A Landau vinyl roof in black or white, racing mirrors and bright wheel well molding completed the package. There were still basic Mustangs available with standard 6 or 302 V8 power in 1970. Like the others they featured new front end styling, reverted to single headlights and had recessed taillamps at the rear.

The Ford Mustang 1964 1/2 to 1970: Who would have thought that a few scribbled notes in a book would grow into something that would become one of the most loved, and sought after, cars in the world. This dream, now an American Icon, represents the pinnacle of American Muscle car design

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