Affordable Classic Cars: The Early Ford Mustang

When Ford first developed the Mustang, they were armed with a critical piece of information: The mid 1960’s were about to witness the transformation of baby boomers to automobile consumers. Armed with this knowledge, they strived to create a car that would attract the attention of this younger generation. For the first time ever, the Ford Mustang was unveiled to the public at the New York World’s Fair on April 17, 1964 and they were available for sale in Ford dealerships across the country that same day.

The first generation Ford Mustang revolutionized the sports car industry. It was the first automobile in history to be known as a “pony car”, that is an affordable yet fashionably sporty car with a performance oriented body and engine. Arguably, the Ford Thunderbird paved the way for the Mustang when in the late 50’s Ford ditched the two door T-bird in favor for a four seat luxury car which still had some oomph under the hood.

The first generation Mustangs were manufactured from 1964 to 1973, but today we are going to focus only on the first edition, which was manufactured from 1964 to 1966. Today, you can find ’66 Mustangs in the 10K – 60K range – a figure totally dependent on trim and condition. If you’re after an affordable classic car though, look for something in the 10k range that you can restore yourself.

Technically, the first Mustang was introduced almost half a year before the 1965 automobile production year and as such many people refer to the earliest ‘Stangs as 1964 1/2 models. The confusing part is that their federally issued VINs still indicate a 1965 production year. The more affordable hardtop model featured an straight-6 engine and and a three speed manual transmission. It retailed for about $2,800 – which would be roughly $20K today. Engine choices ranged between a mere 101 horsepower to the famous K-code four-barrel 289 engine which generated a whopping 271 horsepower! This 289 engine was the only engine not to come with the three speed transmission, boasting a four speed transmission instead.

Ford made a lot of changes to the Mustang in 1965, not even half a year after its introduction. These mustangs are referred to as “late ’65s” to distinguish between the 1964 1/2 models. The first Mustang GT was released this year and was the first to come with a V8 engine. Later, the famous Shelby Mustang was introduced as well, available in the now famous fastback body style.

The ’65 Mustang had an updated interior (dubbed the Pony Interior since it featured embossed ponies on the seats) that featured adjustable bucket seats. All in all, a whopping 559,451 Mustangs were sold for the 1965 year.

The 1966 ‘Stang

The 1966 Mustang updates included OEM wheels with covers as a standard option and a new grille. Updates to the engine and camshaft design established the Mustang as a horsepower machine. It also was available with an eight-track sound system, and was one of the first automobiles to offer an FM (mono) radio. The instrument gauges were updated with a more modern, rounded look as well.

Future Mustangs continued to get larger and more powerful, but there is something about the first generation Mustangs that is very appealing. For one, you can find some great deals on them, and too, their role in muscle car history is sure to keep these great classic cars appreciating in value for years to come. Remember, whatever classic car you end up with, we have one of the best selections of classic hubcaps dating back to the 1940s! If we don’t have what you’re looking for already, odds are pretty good we can help you track it down.

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