The Ford, the legend – the “stang”

The Ford Mustang - A legend


The Ford Mustang - A legend

A car that started  out as a way to move, and eventually became “the” way to move.

For anyone daring to call themselves a car enthusiast, it is basic know at the very least that the Ford Mustang, though never built to be an exotic has been one of the foundation stones of the history of American muscle. They have never been handcrafted, or had an extra effort put in, and even the most powerful of its range – the ’69 Boss for an example – were assembled by a workforce put constantly on a tight schedule and with parts to be shared with Falcons, Fairlanes and Galaxies. Regardless, the Mustang has fuelled the fantasies of generations of all automobile enthusiasts.

The Ford Mustang  was first Manufactured by the Ford Motor Company in the year 1964. It shared its platform with the second generation Ford Falcon – a compact then sold in North America. It was the company’s most well received and successful launch since the Model A.

The production of this iconic car began in Dearborn, Michigan on March 9th, 1964 and the car, launched in April the same year at New York’s World Fair, was dubbed the 1964½ by its fans.

There is some unclarity as to who originally came up with the name for this brilliant vehicle – whether it was Executive stylist John Najjar, an avid fan of the World War II P51 Mustang fighter plane, who co-designed it with fellow Ford stylist Philip Clark. It was called the Ford Mustang I and debuted at the United States Grand Prix where it was driven by Formula One race driver Dan Gurney in a demo lap and a surprising timing which was only slightly behind that of the Formula One cars.

With each model and passing year, Mustangs were made bigger and heavier until the car was brought back to its original size and concept in the year 1974. Out of the many pony cars that may or may not have seen a revival, the Mustang is the only one to have remained in production for a period of five uninterrupted decades with consistent upgrades and revisions.

The first of the Mustangs were offered as notchbacks, coupes and convertibles and their proportions were amongst the key features to its visually pleasing and attractive appearance. With a deep-set cockpit, a longer hood and shorter rear deck, a substantially lower roof line and cowl, the three piece tail lamps, and the running horse on the grille, the Mustang instilled a desire, a passion and excitement in anyone who lay their eyes on it.

A large number of Mustangs in America’s driving system led to the inevitable flair for road racing, and in order to take on the Chevrolet Corvette, Ford needed a two seater along with the requirement of having built atleast a hundred of them by commencement of 1965. Enter Carroll Shelby.

A long time road racing enthusiast hailing from Texas, Shelby took one hundred of the first 2+2 equipped with a high compression 4.7 litre four barrel, down to Los Angeles to convert them into “GT 350″ models. The rear seats got discarded and the car got a fibreglass hood, lowered suspension, oversized tyres on 15” rims and oversized front disc brakes for the bigger shoes. Thus began the era, of the Shelby Mustangs.

One of the most popular and loved of the Shelby range is the 1967 Shelby GT500, which starred in the Hollywood film “Gone in sixty seconds” and was given the name “Eleanor” in the movie. It eventually became known as “Eleanor” to all its fans and the name took on as a household nickname for the GT for enthusiasts all over the world.

 The year 1967 brought for the Mustang, some serious competition in the form of cars like the Chevrolet Camaro, Pontiac Firebird, and Plymouth’s Barracuda upgrade. And Ford built its steed even bigger. Each styling feature was exaggerated, each detail more defined, the fastback roof was extended all the way back to the trunk’s lid edge and the tail lamps were made more prominent.

The ’69 Mustang got even larger than its previous versions and underwent a lot of cosmetic changes. The most exciting amongst the model run came in the middle. The Ford Mustang Boss 302 was powered with a V8 that ran on high compression and churned out 290 hp! Ford sold 1,628 of these street racers that put up a jaw dropping show even on the racetracks.

The next three decades saw the Mustang go through a number of cosmetic changes – some, through which the car in terms of appearance went completely astray from the original and through the next line of models was brought back eventually to its iconic form and lines and surface play. The 1979 Mustang for example – to the disappointment of countless fans – featured neither the wide spread grill nor the emblem of the running horse.

As the ’90s came, it was clear  to Ford that the Mustang wasn’t a model to be allowed to fade away and replaced. 1994 saw the horse get back on the grille, the side scallops reappearing and the tail lamps being split again into the three segments on the traditional lines of the car. The car now came with just two options on the body styling – A two-door coupe with a semi-fastback roof, and a convertible.

In 2003, the world saw a new Mustang roar to life in the form of a radical Cobra, and a limited edition Mach 1 model.

The Cobra was powered by a 4.6 litre DOHC 32 valve V8, making a monstrous 390 horses, the Cobra was the fastest Mustang of the time to have been built by the company.

And yet again in 2005, the Mustang got back its canted nose with the big grille and round headlights and the side surfaces, the fast back roofline and the split tail lamps were reintroduced with beautiful proportions giving the car looks to die for, keeping the classic feel of the vintage pony alive and well. In the GT version, the power was derived from a 4.6 litre aluminium V8 driven by a five speed gearbox available in both automatic and manual variants.

All this brings us to the latest, meanest, and the craziest Mustang brought forth by the Ford Motor Company.

Designed by Kemal Curic, the 2015 Ford Mustang is in every inch of its flesh, the raw, pure representation of American muscle, with absolutely killer new age looks and still keeping very much alive, the stance, design cues, and feel of the original Mustang. With a 5.0 litre, coyote V8 having absolutely no hesitation in the display of its ruthless power, and driven by a six-speed automatic paddle shifted transmission aided with launch control, the new Ford Mustang would be a fearsome combatant for any daring competition.

A special version of the new Mustang starred in the famous Need for Speed movie released this year. Sporting a wide body kit, 22″ alloy wheels, and larger air intakes to feed a supercharged 5.8 litre V8 aluminium block engine that produces an unbelievable 900bhp, the NFS Mustang is a dream on four wheels, worthy of every true blue Mustang fan’s deepest, most sinful driving fantasies.