One of the most interesting entries in the canon of the ford Mustang, the 1964 1/2 model was the car that laid the foundation for the Mustang’s legacy. The final market adaptation of the original Mustang concept car and sold as a 1965 model, at first, the car broke records in sales, causing Mustangs to become one of the most popular nameplates in US history.
The 1964 1/2 Mustang is also an example of how product placement can really benefit the car industry, and how even the highest echelons of a company can make wrong predictions. This is everything people keep forgetting about the car that first epitomized pony cars.
8th They Were Sold As 1965s
The Mustang in its semi-final form was first introduced in mid-1964 as a 1965 model. Near August of that same year, modifications were made to the Mustang, but it was still marketed as a 1965 model. Eventually, the differences between the two model types would be differentiated as the 1964 1/2 and the 1965.
Key differences between the 1964 1/2 and the 1965 were the stiffening skirts on the 1964 which were removed for the 1965 as well as altered headlights. The differences are subtle but still significant.
7 They Were Built On A Ford Falcon Platform
Before the Mustang, Ford was riding high thanks to the Ford Falcon—a best-selling sedan and one of the company’s most popular and significant cars.
Although discontinued in 1970, the Ford Falcon’s platform was used as the platform for the original Mustangs. The car was also a basis for several Ford vans, oddly enough.
6 They Were Featured In 2 James Bond Films
As mentioned previously, a great chunk of the car’s success can be attributed to the power of product placement. In the James Bond film gold fingers, Bond is chased down in his iconic Aston Martin by Bond Girl Tilly Masterson in a 1964 1/2 Mustang. The film came out just as the Mustang had been introduced to the market, and sales of the car soon skyrocketed after the film’s release.
The car can also be found in another James Bond film, thunderball, when driven by Bond girl Fiona Volpe on her way to meet the film’s villain, Emilio Largo. The film also features James Bond’s iconic Aston Martin in a chase scene versus the Mustang.
5 Convertibles Had A Slightly More Powerful Engine Than Hardtops
Differences in Mustang engines tend to be subtle, especially in the early model years. Initially built with a 200 cu in six-cylinder block, later models would upgrade to V8 engines, which are now synonymous with the Mustang nameplate.
For some reason though, convertible options of the 1964 1/2 had a slightly more powerful engine than their hard-top siblings. Lower-end models used a 170 cubic inch block, not a 200. V8 models were labeled with emblems on the front fender.
4 They Broke Sales Records
Ford was proud of the Mustang, but expectations for the car’s performance on the market were initially low, which could be why the company allowed the cars to be featured in the Bond films.
If that was the strategy, it worked. Mustangs were originally commissioned to be around 10,000 units, sales were so high that hundreds of thousands of models were sold during their first few months on the market. As mentioned before, Mustang sales skyrocketed after the release of the movie gold fingers, where the car was prominently featured.
3 They Were Not Available As Fastbacks
It is not the most interesting fact granted, but it is still important to note to have a full understanding of the car’s effect on automotive history. It also gives people insight into what the market demand was like at the time of the Mustang’s initial production, which can lead to other important insights into automotive history.
In any case, the 1964 Mustang was only available as a coupe or convertible. Only late 1965 models were also available as fastbacks.
2 They Were Named After A WWII Fighter Plane
There is some degree of speculation about how the Mustang got its name, but one fact we do know is that the cars were designed by Ford stylist John Naijar who had a deep fascination with planes, particularly WWII fighters.
Allegedly, Naijar named the vehicle after the P-51 Mustang which was a common fighter plane in the war.
1 It Is Not The First Pony Car
It is true that the Mustang is the epitome of the pony car and helped create a new classification of vehicles by performing so strongly on the market. However, despite what some online car forums might have you believe, they are not technically the first car to utilize big-block engines in a more compact body.
The first real American Pony car was the Plymouth Barracuda. The car had many same or similar specifications as the Mustang, and as luck would have it, the Barracuda was introduced a mere two weeks before the Mustangs were. Had Ford introduced the Mustang sooner, they would hold the title. Alas, they do not.
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