The Mustang has come a long way since its reveal at the World's Fair in 1964
The next-generation Mustang will be seen on UK shores in 2014
The Mustang sold out within a matter of hours after its launch
Since then it's gone through five generations and countless variations
In doing so the Ford Mustang has earned its status as a motoring icon
Modern iterations of the Mustang prove just as popular now as in the '60s
The Mach 1 Mustang was originally released in 1969
The second-generation Mustang was based on the Ford Pinto
This 1974 Mustang had much softer styling cues than the original
The 1976 Mustang feature a 4.9-litre V8 engine with 140bhp
Cobra-tuned Mustangs are very sought after by collectors today
This 1977 Mustang Cobra II is a fine example of a rare collectable
The Mach 1 Mustang was one of several performance versions
The 1973 Mustang was 8.5 inches longer than the original
The 1978 'King Cobra' Mustang was one of the more popular variants of the second-generation Mustang
The Mustang was styled under the direction of project design chief Joe Oros
Boss 302 and Boss 429 Mustangs offered more performance for those who wanted it
The Mustang has played a leading role in many films, most notably Bullitt and both versions of Gone in 60 Seconds
The Mustang inspired what came to be known as the 'Pony car' class
From the very beginning, the Mustang has enjoyed enduring popularity in convertible form
It is the fastback, though, which is perhaps the most iconic form of the Mustang
The Boss 429 is one of the rarest versions of the car
In 1969 a modified Mach 1 Mustang earned a number of speed records on the Bonneville Salt Flats
During later restyles the Mustang gained significant weight
The Mustang's muscular look garnered it much attention when it was launched
The 1968 model featured new side scoops, though much of the body was carried over from the 1967 car
From 1967 until 1973, the Mustang grew in size but didn't get any more powerful
The second-generation Mustang was smaller and more fuel efficient than its predecessor
The third-generation Mustang started production in 1979
By the mid-1980s Mustang sales were slumping
A new design for the Mustang was revealed in autumn 1993
As the Mustang grew older, it lost many of its forebear's styling traits
The fourth-generation Mustang was launched in 1994
Many radical Mustang concepts have been seen at motor shows over the years
The fifth generation of the Mustang was launched in 2004
The fifth-generation model was codenamed S-197
Later versions of the Mustang have given the car a more muscular appearance, in keeping with the original
A revived version of the Mustang Boss 302 was launched in 2012
The Boss 302 featured an upgraded interior and an enhanced mechanical package
The standard Mustang's 5.0-litre V8 engine was tuned to put out 438bhp
The original Boss 302 Mustang was produced between 1969-1970
The aero package on the Boss 302 Mustang was copied from the Boss 302R racer
Racing Mustangs have had a long and coloured history, both on track and on drag strips
The Shelby GT500 Mustang was given a fitting tribute at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last year
The Mustang continues to be an icon worldwide, meaning the sixth-generation model has a lot to live up to
The all-new Mustang made its public debut in Detroit earlier this year
Ford revealed a special 50th anniversary edition of the car at the New York motor show
With its ‘long hood, short rear deck’ proportions and youthful marketing to entice the decade’s baby-boomers, the 1965 (commonly referred to as 1964 ½) Ford Mustang provided the template that was to be the ‘Pony car’ class, inspiring a host of imitators.
The first-generation Mustang used chassis, suspension and drivetrain parts derived from the Ford Falcon and Fairlane to cut costs. Available as a hardtop or convertible, initially five engines were offered - from the entry-level 105bhp 2.8-litre straight-six to the 'K-code' 4.7-litre V8 271bhp halo unit.
Ford sold an astonishing 126,538 Mustangs during that abbreviated model year; the V8s outselling the six-cylinder variant by nearly three to one. Within 18 months, one million models had been built.
In 1965, Ford introduced the neat 2+2 fastback body. The Shelby Mustang GT350 also debuted with a tuned version of the K-code lump – with power up from 271bhp to 306bhp. Available only in fastback body form and in white with blue rocker stripes, 562 units were sold that year.
From 1969 to 1973 many experts proclaimed the Mustang had grown increasingly fat and lazy. The 1973 Mustang was 8.5 inches longer, 6 inches wider and over 270kg heavier than the original. Ford trailblazer Lee Iacocca stated: “The Mustang market never left us, we left it.”
The Mustang II arrived in 1974. Based on the Ford Pinto subcompact, Iacocca wanted the new car to be finished to a high standard. However, the result was a smaller, heftier, slower car that initially was only available in four and six cylinder form.
A 4.9-litre V8 arrived in 1975, but with just 140bhp, it failed to capture the excitement of its predecessor. Despite all this, it sold well - Ford shifted over one million Mustang II examples over four years, a feat put down to “the right car, at the right time” amid high fuel prices and economic uncertainty.
Four years later and the third-generation car was launched. Produced until 1993 and based on Ford’s widely-used Fox platform, it progressed through a number of trim levels and drivetrain combinations during its production life. The GT was revived in 1982 after a 12-year absence and the convertible returned a year later.
By the mid-1980s, Mustang sales were slumping. Ford thought the Mustang had fallen out of favour with customers and looked to replace it with a front-wheel-drive Mazda MX-6 variant. Mustang fans hastily responded with hundreds of thousands of angry letters and Ford swiftly backtracked on the idea, giving the Mustang one more chance and naming the front-wheel-drive version the Probe.
Unlike the previous decade, Ford knew it needed to keep the Mustang in production. In autumn 1993, the new design incorporated several styling cues from earlier Mustangs. Only two body styles were offered; a two-door coupé with a ‘semi-fastback’ roof and a convertible.
The new Mustang was a hit, but not awe-inspiring. Selling into a more saturated market than back in 1965, Ford sold 123,198 models during 1994 – still no mean feat. New for 1996 was a heavily revised version of the SVT Cobra which now featured an all-aluminium, 32-valve 4.6-litre V8 pumping out 305bhp, making it the most powerful V8 in a Mustang since the Boss 351 back in 1971.
At the 2004 North American International Auto Show Ford launched the fifth and current generation Mustang. Codenamed S-197, the styling echoed the fastback Mustang models of the late-1960s, described as “retro-futurism”.
For 2007, Ford’s Special Vehicle Team unleashed the Shelby GT500 to succeed the 2003 Mustang SVT Cobra. It retained the same basic live-rear axle suspension setup of the V6 and GT, but with a 500bhp supercharged 5.4-litre V8 unit shoehorned behind the cobra-badged grille.
The 2013 Shelby GT500 proved to be the wildest iteration so far. Featuring a mammoth 5.8-litre supercharged V8 with 662bhp, it could cover 0-60mph in 3.5sec and was capable of 140mph in third gear - and could go on to a top speed of 202mph; it’s easily the most potent Mustang to wear the GT500 moniker thus far.
The all-new 2015 Ford Mustang is coming to the UK in right-hand drive form for the first time on more than four decades, and will go on sale here next year. US sales kick off earlier, in the last quarter of this year, with engines including a 420bhp V8, a 3.7-litre V6 with 306bhp and a new 2.3-litre Ecoboost engine with 305bhp and 300lb ft of torque.
Ford has also pulled the wraps off a new 50th anniversary special edition of the car at the New York motor show. While it's unlikely to come to the UK any time soon, the new model gets extra chrome trim, a significant interior upgrade and prominent 50th anniversary badging.
What are your memories of the Mustang? Let us know in the comments section below.