Ford's Mustang Gallops Into 60th Year: Still A Pony With Plenty Of Kick

Zinger Key Points
  • Ford sold a staggering 100,000 Mustangs within four months and a whopping 418,000 units in its first year.
  • The most notable appearance of the Ford Mustang in popular culture was the 1968 film "Bullitt."
  • Q1 of 2024 hints at a shift: gas-powered Mustang sales dipped 6.8% year-on-year, while Mach-E sales surged 77.3%.

Ford Motor Co. F is revving its engines to celebrate a milestone birthday: the 60th anniversary of its iconic Mustang.

A Star is Born: The Mustang made its world debut on April 17, 1964, at the New York World’s Fair. According to Ford, nearly 15 million fairgoers took a spin in the Mustang on the nearly half-mile-long Magic Skyway ride designed by Walt Disney. Talk about a grand entrance!

Instant Classic: The base model Mustang back then was priced at a cool $2,368 — roughly the equivalent of 420 Big Macs today. Ford sold a staggering 100,000 Mustangs within four months and a whopping 418,000 units in its first year. The car’s popularity even inspired a 1965 song by Mack Rice, “Mustang Sally,” about a woman smitten with her new ride.

Red Ford Mustang 1965 model

Nearly two years after its debut, on March 2, 1966, the one-millionth Mustang rolled off the assembly line. Ford Vice President Donald N. Frey then stated, “Mustang has come to mean more than either a horse or automobile. Mustang means fun and youth and glamour. Mustang means sunglasses and shoes and hats.”

See Also: A Guide to Antique Car Insurance in 2024

Enduring Legacy: Ford has kept the Mustang fresh with numerous redesigns over the past six decades, yet its appeal remains timeless. The vehicle went on to be featured in various films, the first of which was the James Bond film “Goldfinger” released in 1965. But the most notable appearance of the Ford Mustang in popular culture was the 1968 film “Bullitt.” The film starring the iconic Steve McQueen and his legendary car chase solidified the Mustang’s legacy.

The early 21st century saw the Mustang roar onto the silver screen in the action flick “Gone in 60 Seconds” starring Nicolas Cage and Angelina Jolie.

Even Ford CEO Jim Farley is known to enjoy spending time working on classic Mustangs besides vintage motorcycles.

Ford Mustang 2020 model

Modern Muscle: Fast forward to today, and Ford sold a healthy 48,605 Mustangs in the U.S. in 2023, marking a 2.2% increase year-over-year. The all-electric Mustang Mach-E also enjoyed a 3.3% sales jump in 2023, with 40,771 units sold. 

However, the first quarter of 2024 hints at a shift: gas-powered Mustang sales dipped 6.8% year-on-year, while Mach-E sales surged 77.3%, suggesting a growing appetite for electric muscle.

Affordable Power:  For the 2024 model year, Ford offers a range of nine Mustang variants. 

The entry-level Ecoboost Fastback starts at a very reasonable $30,920. At the top end, the Mustang Dark Horse Premium starts at $62,180, still significantly more affordable than competitors like the Porsche 911, which starts well over $100,000. 

The 2024 Mustang Mach-E’s starting price of $39,995 also undercuts its main rival, the Tesla Model Y.

Ford Mustang Mach E. Photo via Shutterstock

A Galloping Good Time: To commemorate the Mustang’s 60th anniversary, Ford will host an owner and fan event at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Wednesday, unveiling the limited-edition Mustang 60th Anniversary Appearance Package. 

Additionally, the latest generation Mustang owners will receive an exclusive new feature around the anniversary, as announced by the company last month.

Check out more of Benzinga’s Future Of Mobility coverage by following this link.

Read More: Tesla’s Cybertruck Outpaces Porsche Taycan In Q1 Despite Lagging Behind Ford’s F-150 Lightning, Rivian R1T: Research Data

Photos via Shutterstock

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