Ford Mustang 1964-1965-1966
Aimed squarely at America's youth market, the Ford Mustang was compact, stylish, and offered great performance at an affordable price. Debuting at the New York World's Fair in April of 1964, over 22 thousand orders were received on the first day of sales. First-year projections of 100,000 units were surpassed in three months. Mustang-mania quickly sparked a whole new breed of cars, soon the pony car market was off and running. Many worthy opponents followed, such as the AMC Javelin, Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Challenger, Plymouth Cuda, and Mercury Cougar.
As success is always measured in dollars at a corporate level, the low sales experienced with the original Thunderbirds influenced Ford Motor Company to switch the Mustang's original two-seat concept to 2+2 coupe and convertible versions. By borrowing chassis, suspension, and drivetrain components from Ford's Falcon and Fairlane models, costs were kept low, allowing the projected sale price of under $2,500 to be met. Although primarily engineered from existing parts, the Mustang's good looks and long hood/short deck body proportions gave it an identity all its own.
1964 Ford Mustang
Commonly referred to as 1964½ models, Mustang sales began in April of 1964, starting at a suggested retail price of $2,368. Buyers were given a long list of options to choose from, unusual at a time when only higher-priced models were given so many choices. Standard engine was a 170-cid six-cylinder engine. Base transmission was a manual three-speed with a floor shift, nestled between standard bucket seats. A 260-cid V-8 engine, four-speed manual or three-speed Cruise-O-Matic automatic were optional, with a 4-barrel 289-cid V-8 engine added in June. First-year Mustangs were produced from March to August of 1964, with 121,538 sold.
Read About 1964 Ford Mustang Pace Car
1965 Ford Mustang
The Mustang received several minor changes for the 1965 model year, which began in August of 1964. Alternators replaced generators, the oil-filler cap was relocated, and an integral power-steering pump and reservoir replaced the remote-mounted style found on most 1964½ models. Other changes for the 1965 Mustang included a 120 horsepower, 200-cid six-cylinder engine replacing the 170-cid motor as standard. A 2-barrel, 200-horsepower 289 V-8 replaced the 260 2-barrel version, and the 4-bbl 289 was rated at 225-horsepower. Inside the car, Ford and Motorola jointly introduced the eight-track tape player this year.
Initially offered as either notchback or convertible, a handsome fastback was added to the Mustang line-up for 1965. Ford designers made the exterior lines similar to those of the Jaguar XKE , with trunk space being traded for increased interior room. 77,079 fastbacks were produced the first year out, along with 501,965 hardtops and 101,945 convertibles, making a total of 559,451 Mustangs for the 1965 model year.
1965 Mustang GT
First offered in April of 1965, the extra-cost GT Equipment Group option gave the buyer a quick-ratio gearbox, stiffer front coils and rear springs, heavy-duty shocks, front disc brakes, and a larger front sway bar. Exterior features included special stripes on the lower fender, doors and rear quarter panels, GT badging, and grille-mounted foglamps. Inside, the GT dashpod had five round gauges. Base motor was the two-barrel 289-cid V-8, with two optional engines offered; a 225-bhp 289 V-8 or the high performance K-code 289.
K-Code Mustang GT
The K-Code 289 engine, rated at 271-horsepower, was first seen on Ford models in 1963, and featured 10.5:1 compression, smaller combustion chamber heads, solid-lifter camshaft, dual-point distributor, and low-restriction exhaust manifolds. A 595-cfm carburetor was used with a manual choke. Chrome valve covers set off the motor visually, with "289 High Performance" lettering atop the chrome air cleaner.
K-Code equipped Mustangs wore special badging on the front fenders, reading "High Performance 289", and had dual-exhaust exiting through the rear valance panel. First year K-Code Mustangs came with a 4-speed transmission only, and were not available with air conditioning or power steering. Having a shorter warranty than the typical Mustang. K-Code buyers received a three month/4,000 mile warranty instead of the standard Mustang 12 month/12,000 mile plan.
1966 Ford Mustang
The 1966 model saw minor cosmetic changes. A grille redesign had the Mustang emblem floating in the center, a new gas cap and wheel cover design replaced the originals, and side scoops were revised. Last years optional backup lights became standard. The 260-cid V-8 was replaced by two and four-barrel versions of the 289-cid V8.
Gone was the Falcon-based instrument cluster, all Mustangs now had the five-dial unit from the GT model. Buyers could select either an optional AM/8-track player or an AM/FM radio. Sales for the year included 499,751 hardtops, 35,698 fastbacks, and 72,119 convertibles, adding up to a total of 607,568 units for 1966.
In 1999, the U.S. Postal Service asked Americans to vote on the most memorable and significant events and trends for each decade of the 20th century. Fifteen commemorative stamps were issued to celebrate the Sixties, which included the Beatles, first Man on the Moon, and the Ford Mustang.