The Classic 1965 Ford Mustang Rocks

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Since it was introduced on April 17, 1964, it’s considered by auto enthusiasts to be the “1964 1/2” edition. We’re talking about the 1965 Ford Mustang, the classic two-door “pony” car that kick-started a whole line of rivals from other U.S. auto manufacturers. Well over 50 years after it was introduced, and long after numerous redesigns and subsequent generations, the 1965 Mustang still elicits swoons when a prideful owner takes her out for a spin.

The first people to swoon on that April day in 1964? They were at Ford’s pavilion at the New York World’s Fair, where various U.S. corporations including IBM and Westinghouse “wowed” attendees with their latest innovations.

The man ultimately in charge of introducing the Mustang was none other than Lee Iacocca, Ford’s General Manager at the time. The model’s list price was $2,368 but before you marvel at what a steal that was, the price, adjusted for inflation in 2018 dollars is $19,218.

It came in 18 colors, like “Arcadian Blue,” “Wimbledon White” and “Raven Black.” But we’re biased by the two red editions, particularly “Rangoon Red.”

The manufacturer forecast 100,000 units sold in that first year; that number is reported to have been met within three months. More than 400,000 were sold during the first year, representing Ford’s most successful launch since the Model A… in 1927. In all, the 1965 edition sold over 680,000 cars, an all-time record.

Watch how Ford advertised their popular new model

In 1966, Ford introduced 8-track cartridge players as standard equipment in all its Mustangs and Thunderbirds. (Despite its shortcomings, the 8-track nonetheless became popular with music consumers and car players become a symbol of hipness.)

Sales of the Mustang peaked in that 1966 model year with 607,000, dipping each year through 1972 when it sold 125,000. Amid the oil crisis, a more fuel-efficient model was introduced for the 1974 model year with sales immediately rising.

In 1968, a hot car, a movie star and an action movie were combined when Bullitt, starring Steve McQueen, was released. The famous San Francisco chase scene with the star behind the wheel of a 1968 Mustang GT is one for the ages.

Ford is introducing a 50th anniversary Bullitt edition.

Since 2008, most years have seen sales of under 100,000 as Ford has become increasingly reliant on its highly profitable light trucks and sport utility vehicles. But on those increasingly rare occasions when you see a 1965 Mustang on the street, you’ll be transported.

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