Courtesy Annette McLeod
As small imports begin to make a dent in the Big Three’s marketshare, the free lovin’ ’60s bring economy cars. Muscle cars — mid-sized cars with large, typically V8 engines and special trim designed for maximum acceleration — come out of the woodwork bearing nifty monikers like the Barracuda, Superbird, Cyclone, Firebird and Road Runner. Chevy brings out the Camaro to chase the wildly popular Ford Mustang. Long front ends and short rear decks appear on growing national highway systems and gas is plentiful.
Hallmark: 1965 Ford Mustang
The history of the 1965 Ford Mustang began when it came before the American public in April of 1964, and it was love at first sight. Before the year was out more than 500,000 had been sold setting a precedent for sales with the Ford Motor Company. The charm of the Mustang was its versatility of being all cars to all people. It represented the traditional six-cylinder economy car for the mom and pop crowd, a mini-luxury vehicle for the middle class, and posed as a high performance sports car for the younger set.
The 1965 Ford Mustang was loosely based on the earlier Ford Falcon. Much of the chassis, and suspension, mocked the Falcon and the Fairlane. The design was conceived by Donald Frey and Lee Lacocca as a two-seater roadster, but later modified to a four-seat model.
The history of the 1965 Ford Mustang is unique due to the fact that:
1. It broke all sales and production records of not only Ford but other top name cars in that year.
2. It won a Tiffany Gold Medal the first American car to achieve that honor.
3. The Mustang was Motor Trend Car of the Year in 1974 and 1994.
4. The Mustang made the Car and Driver Ten Best List for five nonconsecutive years.
Shortly after the Ford Mustang made its appearance in 1964 it was chosen as the pace car for the 1964 Indianapolis 500. That same year the Ford Mustang won first and second place in the Tour De France international rally. And it made its debut in drag racing in 1965 with dealer sponsored competition.