Ford Mustang, brainchild of Lee Iacocca. (Part One)

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On Tuesday 2 July 2019 Lee Iacocca died in his home in Bel Air. The son of an Italian immigrant made a name for himself in the car industry, caused a true marketing revolution at Ford (56 for '56) and was the spiritual father of the Ford Mustang. Good, fast and cheap - important principles for Iacocca led to an illustrious Ford model. Because on 9 in March 1964 rolled - after a relatively short development period - the very first copies of the band. It was the harbinger of a sales success that is unparalleled to this day. The Mustang is still a very popular classic. We describe the first generation in a diptych.

The appearance of the Ford Mustang - with its long nose and short stern - caught the eye. The Pony Car was born. After initially opting for a futuristic-looking two-seater, Lee Iacocca changed course. Iacocca - who became vice-president at Ford on his 36-e - knew that the manufacturer with the two-seat Thunderbird had had every possible difficulty in making it a sales success. Iacocca saw a growth market within a target group that had not yet been tapped and opted for the development of a powerful, affordable sports car with four seats. This should primarily appeal to young buyers.

Sharp calculation

The result did not lie. Iacocca and his people cleverly managed to give a - what would soon turn out - legendary car to the world. The development cost several tens of millions, and that was also a model of sharp calculation by the 1960s. The self-supporting bodywork of the Ford Mustang was new. The secret of the cost saving was in the applied technology and in the use of existing production processes.

Many parts of existing Ford models

For example, Ford placed the carriage on a chassis with an independent suspension with coil springs in front and a rigid axle with springs lying alongside. And those parts were not newly developed by Ford, but they came from other Ford models. This also applied to the chassis and the drive lines. The Falcon and Fairlane became the main supplier for the Ford Mustang. This resulted in a saving of costs and time. The production method was similar to, for example, that of the Falcon, so that a completely new production process did not have to be developed.

First Mustang is convertible

Ford released the first Mustangs on March 9 on 1964. They were actually "Special Editions" because the debutants were white roadsters with red leather interiors. They were part of an impressive marketing campaign. The Unexpected was born, and that world unexpectedly quickly became acquainted with the Ford Mustang via television and print media. Because on 17 April 1964, the Ford Mustang experienced its official baptism of fire in New York. From there, the press drove a rally organized by Iacocca to Dearborn.

Huge sales success

That action was successful. Not much later, the Mustang was on the cover of Time and of Newsweek. He was the focus of attention. The marketing stunt and the unexpected launch were the start of an unimaginable sales success. The Ford went like hot cakes over the counter of the dealers. 100.000 units were already sold in the first three months, which was the number planned for the first full year.

Thriftpower and Windsor

The very first Ford Mustang, belonging to model year 1964½, were available in several model and engine variants. The customer had the option of buying the hardtop version from a price of $ 2.368. The owner then owned a genuine basic version with an 2.8 six-cylinder in-line Thriftpower block with single carburetor, which also found its way to the Falcon. The first Mustang could also be equipped with an 4.3 liter Windsor V-8 block, which was good for a power of 166 PK and a torque of 350 Nm at a speed of 2.200 revolutions per minute. Later adjustments would follow, both motor and bodywork, and another beloved Ford Mustang variant would be introduced. The Ford Mustang was on steam, and how! You can read the continuation of the history of the first Mustang generation part two.




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  1. Lee Iacocca has left something amazing behind. The Mustang, par excellence and probably the most beloved American in Europe. Beautiful car, drives great!

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