It was Dec. 29, 1940, when U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt warned of the impending wartime threat to national security. In a radio broadcast, he galvanized the country when he used the term “Arsenal of Democracy” and urged preparations.
According to Wikipedia, it was nearly a year before the United States would enter the Second World War (1939-1945.) Nevertheless, Roosevelt’s address was a call to arms for supporting the Allies in Europe in total war against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.
The Allied War Effort
“The great arsenal of democracy” came to specifically refer to the industry of the U.S. as the primary supplier of material for the Allied war effort.
GMC delivered its first “Ducks” to the U.S. Army in 1943. A unique central tire inflation system allowed the driver to adjust tire pressure from inside the cab.
Roosevelt promised help to the United Kingdom to fight Nazi Germany. The U.S. would sell the U.K. military supplies while the United States stayed out of the actual fighting. The president announced that intent a year before the attack on Pearl Harbor (Dec. 7, 1941), when Germany had occupied much of Europe and threatened Britain.
Completed military “Ducks” and trucks built by GMC await deployment. In 1944, GMC received the Army-Navy “E” Award for Excellence in the war effort. The U.S. Army considered the GMC 2½-ton 6x6s the best trucks in service and the GMC Duck the most outstanding of new ordnance weapons.
GMC built these military “Ducks” at its Truck & Coach Division plant in Pontiac, Mich. After the war, surviving vehicles were used for military training and others landed in the tourism industry.
The arsenal for support came from more than 40 U.S. industries. Among the transportation manufacturers were:
General Motors: trucks, tanks, and aircraft parts
Ford Motor Co.: trucks and aircraft
Chrysler: tanks, electronics, and trucks
Packard: aircraft engines
Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co.: tires
International Harvester: trucks
Convair (San Diego-based): aircraft
Caterpillar Inc.: tanks
During WWII, GMC showcased its amphibious military “Ducks” in popular magazines of the day. The campaign encouraged patriotic readers to “invest in victory” and buy war bonds and stamps. From 1942 to 1945, sales of vehicles to civilians all but ended as manufacturing was redirected toward the war effort.
GM Wartime Support
On this Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2021, I found these General Motors’ wartime photos.
GM has supported the U.S. military since 1917 when 90 percent of its truck production went toward WWI manufacturing. During WWII, GM converted all of its plant facilities to support the “Arsenal of Democracy.”
GM claims to have produced more U.S. military vehicles than any manufacturer in history.
Between 1942 and 1945, GM’s Chevrolet division manufactured:
This photo from the Stellantis PR vehicle archives shows “Historical Mopar 1964 Package Car Production.” The car being assembled is not identified in the caption, but it appears to be a 1964 Dodge 330 HEMI Lightweight. Built for speed, it was a privateer’s super stock drag car.
Note the skinny front tires with magnesium wheels (not steelies with dog-dish nut covers). Also unique are the hood pins and the grille with single headlights because we don’t need no turn signals on a race track.
A car similar to this factory image sold at Bonham’s 2021 Amelia Island Auction. According to the auction report, the 1964 Dodge 330 Hemi Lightweight on offer was “One of 55 A864 lightweight cars for the model year.” And it was built with aluminum and magnesium parts from the factory.
There is a fine example for sale now through Hemmings. Asking price: $159,000.
According to a report in ConceptCarz.com, the Dodge 330 Lightweight was identified by the Hemi engine code A864. The engine denoted the cross-ram-equipped race Hemi drag engine.
“For 1964, the Hemi package had an aluminum intake, offset dual Holley carburetors, 12.5:1 compression, and chrome valve covers,” according to the ConceptCarz report.
“The exhaust system used factory cutouts, one transverse-mounted muffler, and a single exhaust exit.
“The Hemi models used light aluminum components wherever possible, including the fenders, hood, scoop, front bumper, and doors.
“The battery was moved to the trunk and the rear seat was deleted. The engines were backed by the A727 TorqueFlite transmission operated by pushbuttons in the dash.
“Interiors included factory lightweight A100 bucket seats with lightweight brackets, red carpeting, and radio- and heater-delete plates.
“The side windows were made from thin plastic and the rear window was from lightweight Plexiglas. Magnesium wheels were at the front.”
Bonham’s Auction Report
In Bonham’s auction report, the red 1964 Dodge 330 HEMI Lightweight on offer was “Stored & unused from 1966 – 2006.” And its authenticity was documented by Mopar expert Galen Govier. The car was sold new at Mr. Norm’s Grand Spaulding Dodge . “Mr. Norm” was the legendary purveyor of high-performance Mopar muscle, beginning in 1962 at his Chicago dealership.
The car in the Bonham’s auction did not sell at the time, and it likely would have taken $150,000 or more.
Bonham’s car had these specs for chassis no. 6142229092:
426ci Hemi V8 Engine
Dual Offset Holley Carburetors
3-Speed 727 Torqueflite Racing Automatic Transmission
More than 130 classic and modern Rolls-Royce and Bentley automobiles were on view at the 70th annual meet of the Rolls-Royce Owners’ Club, held at the Dana Resort on Mission Bay.
The Spirit of Ecstasy.
The four-day event, held June 21-24, had registered owners from across the U.S. and enthusiasts from as far away as England, Australia, Germany, and Canada.
Throughout the week (and another three days of free time afterward), owners took advantage of backcountry tours of San Diego County, technical sessions, seminars, silent auctions, and vendor booths. There also were exclusive tours of some fabled San Diego car collections.
Much planning for the 70th annual meet fell to the San Diego chapter of the Rolls-Royce Owners’ Club and its members. Meet chairs Brad and Michele Zemcik and club members had much heavy lifting to do. There had not been an official Rolls-Royce Owners Club show in San Diego since 1983.
The Zemcik’s got started with the planning in 2018.
“Things were moving along, and then Covid hit in 2020,” said Brad Zemcik. “For months, nobody would talk to us, but fortunately, I had secured the hotel. At the start of 2021, we started pouring on the gas.”
Brad Zemcik has been a Rolls-Royce enthusiast for 53 years. He acquired his first Rolls-Royce, a 1939 Wraith, when he was 20. Over the years, he has owned three others including a 1920 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Tourer and a Bentley Mark VI (6). Currently, he owns a 1957 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud, which was at the show.
“Rolls-Royce owners believe their cars should be driven,” Zemcik said in a phone interview. And at least two cars in the San Diego meet were long-distance travelers. A couple from North Carolina took a few weeks to drive their Silver Ghost to San Diego after attending a five-day Silver Ghost tour event and driving hundreds of miles in Utah.
This 1950 Bentley Mk VI SSS (standard steel production) was driven to the meet from Oregon. But along the way, the owner had to stop to have a pacemaker inserted!
An Oregon owner traveling to San Diego in his 1950 Bentley 1950 Mk VI had an unexpected stop along the way. It wasn’t a problem with his Bentley. He had a medical emergency and had a pacemaker installed, er, inserted.
In line for the official photo session.
21 Judged Classes
There were 21 judged classes, including Senior and Preservation.
In all, the meet had “130 cars plus or minus,” Zemcik said, ranging in age from 1909 to 2017. “Some who registered did not show up, or others came just for the day.” And there were many local cars on view.
A 1952 Silver Wraith saloon in the Preservation group still wore its original dark Velvet Green paint. It still shined but was showing a gentle patina. The Silver Wraith owner from Long Beach, Calif., said the car was originally purchased by the Viscountess of Shropshire County, England. It was for chauffeured drives to and from the House of Lords in London and her local rounds as the Member of Parliament for the district she represented.
Upright and bold front styling for the 1952 Silver Wraith.
This 1952 Silver Wraith was originally purchased by the Viscountess of Shropshire, England. Note the Mulliner plate at the driver seat.
Because the Wraith was a personal vehicle, there is no partition between the front and back seat, the owner explained. The only built-in cabinetry is the fold-out tray tables, and a lot of legroom, he said. The stately Silver Wraith, with a beige leather interior, was chauffeur-maintained by the Viscountess until 1977. The owner now drives the car at least twice a month.
The highly patinated 1921 Silver Ghost tourer.
A 1921 Silver Ghost tourer looked like a barn find, showing its heavily patinated red paint. Its aluminum fenders were scoured of paint, and a heavily crinkled red color still showed through other body parts. The car is actually well preserved, Zemcik said, and first saw duty as a fire truck in Sweden, noted by the heraldry on the door.
The Hooper bodied 1921 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud.
What might be called a unicorn was a 1921 Silver Ghost that had never been bodied. It was just the chassis and driveline, as it was when it left the factory. It has had several owners, Zemcik said, but was never bodied.
Friday was the concours show and judging, with class categories organized among the hotel parking areas. Later, awards were presented on the flight deck of the USS Midway aircraft carrier museum at Navy Pier along San Diego Bay.
Next year’s 71st annual meet for the RROC will be in Gettysburg, Pa., in mid to late June, 2023.
Here’s a sampling of cars at the 70th annual meet of the Rolls-Royce Owners Club:
1909 Silver Ghost, Roi des Beiges body style (“King of the Belgians”).
A mirror image of the 1909 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost.
Clean shoes only, please.
1913 Silver Ghost Cann Torpedo. Locally owned.
Meticulous details on the 1913 Silver Ghost Cann Torpedo.
Blue on blue 1913 Silver Ghost Cann Torpedo.
A locally owned 1921 Springfield (Mass.) Silver Ghost.
Never leave home without the tool roll.
Lots of legroom in this Silver Ghost, built in Springfield, Mass.
A most unusual 1922 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Skiff.
Skiff body by Olin J. Stephens and Co. LTD.
Wooden bodied, inside and out.
A 1924 Bentley 3-liter tourer, with coachwork by Vanden Plas.
Ready for endurance racing at Le Mans.
A locally owned 1929 Bentley 6 ½ liter Speed Six Le Mans-style tourer.
Red tape marks top-center in this ’26 Bentley Le Mans-style tourer.
A 1929 Springfield (Mass.) Silver Ghost Pall Mall. Coachwork by Merrimac, below.
A 1933 Rolls-Royce 20/25 Carlton roadster. Below, note the distinct wheel weights used on all 1930’s era 20/25 Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars.
1933 Rolls-Royce Thrupp and Maberly limousine. And below, aero disc wheel covers.
A 1934 Phantom II Hooper-bodied limousine.
The ’34 Phantom’s 7.7-liter straight-six engine.
Nicely broken-in leather of this 1934 Phantom II Hooper-bodied limousine.
A 1935 Bentley 3 ½ liter saloon, body by Park Ward.
Sleek lines of this 1935 Bentley 3 ½ liter Park Ward saloon.
The 1949 license plate of this Silver Dawn was made by inmates at Folsom Prison. The left-hand driver is powered by a 4.25-liter 6-cylinder engine.
This 1949 Silver Dawn is claimed to be the 12th Rolls-Royce ever made. Its body and chassis were produced by Rolls-Royce.
Lovely wood and hides in the 1949 Silver Dawn.
A 1950 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith.
Bench seats in the 1950 Silver Wraith.
The red-on-red 1952 Silver Dawn.
A 1952 Silver Wraith Limousine, locally owned. Coach built by Freestone & Webb.
Bold and upright grille work of the Velvet Green 1952 Silver Wraith.
A robust rubber of the 1952 Silver Wraith.
Striking colors in the veneer of the 1952 Silver Wraith Saloon.
A 1953 Silver Dawn with a clever license plate.
The hood lock on the 1953 Silver dawn.
A 1957 Bentley S1 saloon.
1965 Bentley S3 Continental. (The owners also have in their collection a Bentley S1 and a Ferrari F12 Berlinetta.
Sporting lines of the 1965 Bentley S3 Continental.
A 1967 Silver Shadow saloon.
The 1969 Silver Shadow, from Canada.
Pinstriped body and wheel covers of the 1969 Silver Shadow
A 1971 Silver Shadow LWB saloon.
The stately grille of the 1971 Silver Shadow LWB saloon.
A 1972 Corniche coupe; locally owned; body by Mulliner, Park Ward.
Learn more about this 1972 Corniche.
Burl veneer in the ’72 Corniche.
1976 Silver Shadow saloon.
A 1976 Silver Shadow LWB saloon; locally owned. Scots Pine paint with a beige Everflex coach top and tan Connelly leather. The car’s sticker price in 1976 was $44,225, while the average price of a single-family home in San Diego was $38,000.
Complementing pinstriping to the paint color.
Such delicate and tasteful pinstriping on this 1976 Silver Shadow.
1991 Bentley Continental drophead coupe.
A 1991 Bentley Continental drophead coupe. Body by Mulliner, Park Ward.
A locally owned 1991 Silver Spur II long-wheelbase saloon.
A 2002 Silver Seraph saloon from Las Vegas.
A well-padded back seat in the 2002 Silver Seraph.
And with crystal glassware.
Robust rubber for a heavyweight Silver Seraph saloon.
On Jan. 16, 1948, Ford Motor publicly revealed the new F-1 pickup, beginning the F-Series legacy. The first-gen truck ran through 1952.
Introduced in late 1947, the F-Series trucks were assembled at 16 different facilities in North America during its production. Engine choices were an inline-6 or a “flathead” V-8, according to the truck’s page in Wikipedia. All F-series were available with optional “Marmon-Herrington All Wheel Drive” until 1959.
Standard features on the F-1 included an ashtray, glove box, and driver’s side sun visor, which was unusual on trucks at the time.
Options included the “See-Clear” windshield washer (operated by foot plunger), passenger-side windshield wiper and sun visor, and passenger-side taillight.
The F-1 truck also had options for additional stainless-steel trim and two horns.
8 F-Series Chassis Configurations
The first-generation F-Series was marketed in eight different chassis weight ratings, giving them their model names. The half-ton rated F-1 was the lightest-capacity version with the F-8 as the highest.
F-1 through F-3 pickup trucks were offered in the lineup, which included the panel trucks. The bare F-3 chassis served as the basis for a parcel delivery truck. The F2 had a three-quarter-ton rating and the F3 was the heavy-duty ¾ ton.
The heavier-duty F-4 chassis was produced as a light-duty commercial truck.
The F-5 and F-6 were medium-duty trucks in three configurations:
School bus chassis (as the B-Series), with no bodywork rear of the firewall).
The F-7 and F-8 were heavy-duty commercial trucks, marketed under the “Big Job” brand name from 1951.
The cab-over models moved the cab upward and forward, requiring a higher hood and different fenders than conventional models. The F-2 and up used larger wheel well openings than the F-1 models.
The new trucks featured a strengthened tailgate and anti-rattle chains.
The Ford F1 By the Numbers
The most common first-generation model was the F-1. It has a 6 ½-foot-long bed with 45 cubic feet volume of cargo room and a 114-inch wheelbase.
The F-2 and F-3 Express models had an 8-foot bed and a 122-inch wheelbase.
All truck beds had a steel floor with a hardwood subfloor to keep it from being dented. Skid strips were stamped into the steel so they would not come loose, unlike the previous model.
The tailgate was strengthened and reinforced using a rolled edge with a tapered truss. Anti-rattle chains had a smooth quiet operation. The chairs were lengthened to allow the tailgate to open flat to the bed floor for easier loading and unloading of cargo.
It was 58 years ago on April 17, 1964, that the Ford Mustang debuted at the World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York. It was an immediate sales success — but there were many concepts, design studies, and prototypes that were considered along the way. Some of those were codenamed the “Bruce Jenner” and the “Rambo” and there was a station wagon, a four-door and two-seater body styles.
Ford Motor announced today, April 14, that for the seventh year in a row, the Mustang is the world’s best-selling sports coupe, according to Ford analysis of registration data from S&P Global Mobility.
According to Ford internal data, the United States remains home to the strongest demand for Mustang representing 76 percent of global sales. Other markets that saw growth in Mustang sales in 2021 include New Zealand, up 54.3 percent, Brazil, up 37.3 percent, and South Korea, up 16.6 percent.
Here are some images and captions from the Ford Motor archives that show some of the ideas that were considered. Most were wisely resisted.
1965 Mustang Four-Door
While Mustang used the platform of the compact Falcon as its starting point, the four-door Mustang could have brought the idea full circle by adding two doors to the pony car. Fortunately for Mustang fans, cooler heads prevailed.
1966 Mustang Station Wagon
In the mid-1960s, Ford designers considered at least a couple of different concepts for a Mustang station wagon, with at least one running prototype based on a 1966 coupe getting built. Another design study included elements for refreshed models that were coming later that decade. All of the known Mustang wagons were three-doors that were closer to a European “shooting brake” than a traditional American family station wagon.
1961 Avventura, Avanti, Allegro Concepts
From late 1961 into mid-1962, Ford designers tried out a wide range of themes for a sporty coupe based on the platform of the new Falcon compact. Each design was given an internal name for the purpose of discussion. One fastback design actually went through at least three different names starting with Avventura before moving on to Avanti and finally Allegro. The fastback design was originally sketched with a hatchback and rear-facing second-row seat. While this car never made it to production, a variation of the fastback profile was eventually adopted as the third body style for Mustang.
As Avventura moved from sketch to physical design model, the hatch was replaced with a trunk and the rear seat was switched to a more conventional forward-facing orientation. Originally shown internally as Avanti, the name was eventually changed to Allegro, likely because Studebaker had introduced its own production Avanti coupe around the same time.
1962 Allegro Design Study
In 1962, the design team, led by Gene Bordinat, worked on several iterations of another design called Allegro. While the production 1965 Mustang was a very different car in almost every visual detail from Allegro, the design study established the basic proportions that would define most Mustangs for the next five decades. The notchback coupe had the same long-hood, short-deck layout with a compact greenhouse that would roll out of the Rouge factory two years later.
The Millionth Mustang
For the 1966 celebration of the millionth Mustang produced: Airline pilot Capt. Stanley Tucker, the owner of the first ordered Mustang, with Ford design chief Gene Bordinat (left), Ford President Lee Iacocca, product manager Donald Frey and an unnamed Ford exec.
1967 Allegro II Concept
In 1967, Ford designers decided to reprise one of the original Mustang design concepts from 1962 with a new form and repurposed name. Starting with the Avanti/Allegro fastback coupe, the greenhouse was removed and replaced with a low-cut speedster-style windshield, roll bar, flying buttresses on the rear deck, and a new rear end. The reworked concept was dubbed Allegro II.
1967 Mach 2 Concept
With the Mustang having already set sales records following its launch in 1964, Ford design chief Gene Bordinat and the Special Vehicles Group decided to try rearranging the pieces for the Mach 2 concept. The 289 Hi-Po V-8 was shifted from the front to behind the two seats to evaluate the layout as a possible successor to the Shelby Cobra. Despite its midengine layout, the Mach 2 retained the long-hood, short-deck proportions of a Mustang. Unfortunately, the Mach 2 never went much beyond the auto-show circuit.
1966 Mustang Mach I Concept
The two-position hatchback was intended to accommodate longer objects in a near-horizontal position or open wider for cargo loading.
1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302 Engine
1966 Mach 1 Concept
As the first-generation model transitioned from a pony car to a larger and heavier big-block muscle car, the Mach 1 concept was created as a preview of the 1968 model. The original nose of the concept drew inspiration from the 1963 Mustang II concept.
1970 Mustang Milano
First shown publicly at the February 1970, Chicago Auto Show, the Mustang Milano concept previewed the nearly horizontal rear deck and sharp, extended nose that would be seen on the production 1971 model. However, aside from those two elements, the Milano didn’t really bear much resemblance to any production Mustang. In fact, the car that probably drew most heavily on the Milano profile was the Australian-market Falcon XB coupe of the mid-1970s.
‘Bruce Jenner’ design study
In 1990, Ford designers evaluated a number of themes to replace the long-running third-generation Mustang. The notchback and hatchback body styles would be replaced with a single fastback coupe format. After departing from many of the original design cues on the third-generation models, the upcoming fourth-generation would return elements like the galloping pony in the grille, the side scoops and the tri-bar taillamps. This softer concept, known as “Bruce Jenner” wasn’t considered aggressive enough to be a Mustang.
‘Rambo’ Design Study
This alternative proposal dubbed, “Rambo,” was deemed too extreme for production.
1980 Mustang RSX Concept
Created at the Italian Ghia design studio, the RSX was conceived as a rally special based on the new Fox-body third-generation Mustang that debuted for the 1979 model year. With a 1-inch-wider track and 5.6-inch-shorter wheelbase than the road-going Mustang, the RSX had extra ride height that would be needed for dealing with the off-tarmac stages of European rallies.
1961-62 Two-Seater Studies
Early in the gestation of the original Mustang, Ford designers considered a number of two-seater studies. These were seen as a more affordable return to the roots of Thunderbird, which by this time had grown into a much larger four-seater. The idea of a two-seat Mustang was something designers returned to frequently in the period between the original Mustang 1 concept and the 1992 Mach III. Aside from some track-oriented Mustangs that had the rear seats removed to save weight, there has never been a strictly two-seat production Mustang.
It began 58 years ago this Sunday, April 17, 2022. More than 51 million people from around the world packed into Flushing Meadows Park in Queens for the debut of the Ford Mustang at the New York World’s Fair. It was 1964 and just 16 days after the debut of the Plymouth Barracuda. But the 1965 model-year Mustang would prove to be Ford’s most successful launch since the Model A.
It was a media-rich event, including a test drive for journalists. The so-called Mustang Road Rally traveled from the World’s Fair to Dearborn, via Niagara Falls.
The “1964½” Mustang
Enthusiasts dubbed the first-year car as the “1964½” Mustang. But all Mustangs were advertised, VIN coded and titled by Ford as 1965 models. Production began in Dearborn, Mich., on March 9, 1964.
Original sales forecasts projected fewer than 100,000 units for the first year, however, the mark was surpassed in three months from rollout. Another 318,000 cars would be sold during the model year (a record). And in its first 18 months on sale, more than 1 million Mustangs were built.
In August 2018, Ford produced the 10 millionth Mustang. It was a 2019 Wimbledon White convertible with a V-8 engine, which matched the first 1965 Mustang.
First Generation Mustang: 1965–1973
To meet its advertised list price of $2,368, the Mustang was based heavily on components that were already in production for other Ford models. This was the same business plan that Ford used for the first-gen 1955-1957 Thunderbirds. Many if not most of the interior, chassis, suspension and drivetrain components came from the Falcon and Fairlane.
The Big Block Mustang
From 1967 until 1973, the Mustang got bigger, allowing a big block engine to be offered for the first time. Front and rear end styling was more pronounced, and the “twin cove” instrument panel offered a thicker crash pad and larger gauges.
Hardtop, fastback, and convertible body styles continued as before.
Around this time, the Mustang was paired with a Mercury variant, called the Cougar, which used its own styling cues, such as a “prowling cat” logo and hidden quad headlamps.
New safety regulations by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had to be applied for 1967. The added feature included an energy-absorbing steering column, four-way emergency flashers, a dual-circuit hydraulic braking system, and softer interior knobs.
Mustang sales pass the 1 million mark in March 1966.
1968 Pony Car Refresh
The 1968 models received revised side scoops, steering wheel, and gasoline caps. Side marker lights were also added that year, and cars built after Jan. 1, 1968, included shoulder belts for both front seats on coupes. The 1968 models also introduced a new 302-cubic-inch (4.9-liter) V-8 engine that would meet new federal emissions regulations.
The 1966 Shelby Mustang GT-350H, the so-called rent-a-racer.
1969 Mustang Grows In Size
The restyling for 1969 added more heft to the body as width and length again increased. The curb weight went up markedly, too. V-8 power returns to Mustang with the 302 cubic-inch small-block.
Due to the larger body and revised front-end styling, the 1969 models (but less so in 1970) had a notable aggressive stance.
The 1969 models featured “quad headlamps” which disappeared to make way for a wider grille and a return to standard headlamps in the 1970 models.
This switch back to standard headlamps was an attempt to tame the aggressive styling of the 1969 model, which some felt was too extreme and hurt sales, but 1969 production exceeded the 1970 total.
2nd Generation: 1974–1978
The Pinto years
Lee Iacocca, who had been one of the forces behind the original Mustang, became president of Ford Motor Co in 1970 and ordered a smaller, more fuel-efficient Mustang for 1974. Initially, it was to be based on the Ford Maverick but ultimately was based on the Ford Pinto subcompact.
The new model called the “Mustang II,” was introduced on Sept. 21, 1973, two months before the first 1973 oil crisis. Its reduced size allowed it to compete against successful imported sports coupés such as the Datsun 240Z, Toyota Celica, and the European Ford Capri. (The Capri was Ford-built in Germany and Britain, but sold in the U.S. by Mercury).
First-year sales were 385,993 cars, compared with the original Mustang’s 12-month sales record of 418,812. Ultimately, the Mustang II would be an early example of downsizing that would take place among Detroit’s Big Three later in the decade.
3rd Generation: 1979–1993
A larger body
The 1979 Mustang was based on the larger Fox platform (initially developed for the 1978 Ford Fairmont and Mercury Zephyr). The larger body with an increased wheelbase yielded more interior space for four passengers, especially in the back seat, as well as a larger capacity trunk and a bigger engine bay.
Body styles included a coupé (or notchback), hatchback and convertible.
The GT-350 20th Anniversary Edition was added in 1984, and the high-performance SVO model ran from 1984–1986 followed by the Cobra R in 1993.
The third-generation Mustang had two different front-end styles. From 1979 to 1986, the front end was angled back using four rectangular headlights, known by enthusiasts as “Four Eyes.” The front end was restyled for the 1987 to 1993 model years to reflect the contemporary, rounded-off “aero” style of the Ford Taurus using flush-composite headlamps and a smooth grille-less nose.
The Mustang was selected as the 1979 Official Indianapolis 500 Pace Car with replicas sold to the public. Its special body-appearance parts were adapted by the Cobra package for 1980-81.
The Mustang received a major restyling for 1987, including the interior, which carried it through the end of the 1993 model year.
Under the newly-established Ford SVT division, the 1993 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra and Cobra R were added. These special, high-performance models closed out the third generation of the Mustang.
4th Generation: 1994–2004
The Notchback Coupe
In November 1993, the Mustang debuted its first major redesign in 15 years. Code-named “SN-95” by the automaker, it was based on an updated version of the rear-wheel-drive Fox platform called “Fox-4.” The new styling by Patrick Schiavone incorporated several styling cues from earlier Mustangs. For the first time since its introduction 1964, a notchback coupe model was unavailable.
For 1999, the Mustang was reskinned with Ford’s New Edge styling theme with sharper contours, larger wheel arches, and creases in its bodywork, but its basic proportions, interior design, and chassis remained the same as the previous model.
There were also three alternate models offered in this generation: the 2001 Bullitt, the 2003 and 2004 Mach 1 and the 320-hp 1999 and 2001, and 390-hp 2003 and 2004 Cobra.
5th Generation: 2005–2014
The redesigned 2005 Mustang recalls the fastback Mustangs of the late-1960s. Ford’s senior vice president of design, J Mays, called it “retro-futurism.” The fifth-generation Mustang was manufactured at the Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Flat Rock, Mich.
The refreshed 2010 Mustang was released in the spring of 2009 with a redesigned exterior — which included sequential LED taillights.
For 2012, a new Mustang Boss 302 version was introduced. And in the second quarter of 2012, Ford launched an update to the Mustang line as an early 2013 model.
6th Generation: 2015 to present
The sixth-generation Mustang was unveiled on Dec. 5, 2013, in Dearborn, Mich., New York City, Los Angeles, Barcelona (Spain), Shanghai (China), and Sydney, Australia. The internal project code name is S-550.
The 2018 model year Mustang featured a minor exterior redesign and the debut of a 310-hp, 2.4-liter turbocharged (Ecoboost) four-cylinder. The 3.0-liter V-6 was dropped.
The 5.0-liter V-8 got a power boost to 460 hp and 420 lb-ft torque. The automatic transmission for all models was upgraded to a 10-speed.
2022 Mustang Shelby GT500 Heritage Edition
The limited run of 2022 Mustang Shelby GT500 Heritage Edition fastbacks will be finished in Brittany Blue, inspired by the original hue.
The 760-horsepower Shelby GT500 Heritage Edition will also have a choice of two stripe options:
Painted over-the-top racing stripes with GT500 logo (available in Wimbledon White or Absolute Black);
Vinyl over-the-top racing stripes with unique vinyl side stripe featuring GT500 logo (in Wimbledon White).
Carroll Shelby took his legendary Mustang GT350 model further in 1967 to craft the first-generation Shelby GT500. It was modified with a 428-cubic-inch V-8 inspired by his team’s 1-2-3 finish at Le Mans.
Shelby called the original Shelby GT500 “the first real car I’m really proud of.”
The 2022 Mustang Shelby GT500 has a starting U.S. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of $73,465 — not including the $1,195 freight charge and $2,600 Gas Guzzler Tax.
The Shelby GT500 Heritage Edition package would add $2,140. And the GT500 Heritage Edition package with hand-painted stripes adds $12,140 to the Shelby GT500’s U.S. MSRP.
Joe Michaud has covered motorcycles for the San Diego Union-Tribune and print magazines for nearly 10 years.
Through the decade, he road tested new releases and attended all things bike-related in the SoCal region.
Presently, his garage includes a 1966 Triumph Bonneville, a ’68 Triumph TR6R, and a 2004 BMW 1150RT. Over the years, he has owned, borrowed, ridden, and wrenched (often successfully) on an eclectic collection of technology. Currently, he is depleting his savings on 1960s Brit bikes.
Volvo EX90 — the start of something new. Pricing to start at $80,000. Preorder the battery-electric EX90 with a $500 deposit. Deliveries will begin in early 2024. https://bit.ly/3ECkqda @VolvoCarUSA #VolvoEX90 #volvo #ElectricVehicle #greencars #Swedish @GeelyGroup @Sweden
Happy 65th Anniversary Laguna Seca Raceway. And how the "Corkscrew" came to be. https://bit.ly/3fPaZxo @WeatherTechRcwy @RaceWeatherTech #lagunaseca #motorsports #weathertechracewaylagunaseca #montereycarweek #historicracingcar #carweekmonterey #vintageautomobile
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