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EVOLUTION OF THE MUSTANG
Mustang, in its first three years on the market, revolutionized the U.S. automotive market, lent its name to a generation and made a multi-million-dollar contribution to the American economy.
More than 1.4 million Mustangs were sold in its first three years, with a retail value of $4.96 billion - an amount that exceeded the 1965 total personal income in each of 22 states.
Mustang sales generated an estimated $3.92 billion in wholesale financing volume and $2.65 billion in retail financing. Insurance premiums amounted to an estimated $298 million.
The Mustang provided jobs for approximately 18,000 Ford Motor Company employees, and for thousands of other men and women employed by dealers and supplier companies.
The first of the sporty compacts, Mustang prompted several competing models, but always topped its segment of the market, gaining from one-third to three-quarters of the segment.
Through the years the Mustang personality developed new traits. As early as September, 1964, the first fastback model was introduced. The Grande notchback and Mach I fastback were introduced in 1969. Boss 302 came along in 1970 and Boss 351 the following year.
Mustang won new friends and admirers in many quarters. For example, performance buffs loved the Boss 302, which could develop 290 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 290 lbs/ft of torque at 4,300 rpm. Its 10.5:1 compression ratio was high enough for near-optimum performance, yet low enough to be docile in traffic and long on life.
For the drag strip, the ultimate Mustang was the Boss 429. It was a limited production car which idled like a volcano and produced up to 375 horsepower when fitted with a set of competition heads with big ports, canted valves, high-rise manifold, Holley carburetor and mechanical lifters. Additional suspension modifications were necessary to accommodate the extra weight and torque.
Danny Ongais drove a Mickey Thompson souped-up Mach I to break the seven-second barrier at Kansas City in September, 1969.
The Mustang-triggered new form of racing called Trans-Am became one of the most popular in auto sports. Cars prepped by Carroll Shelby and Bud Moore won championships for Ford in 1966 and 1967. The Trans-Am championship is awarded to the car, rather than to the driver.
Mustang's other new friends came from fine-car admirers who loved the lavish Grande.
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