With the next generation of Mustangs debuting in 2015, we thought it would be appropriate to look at five of our favorite iconic Mustangs that preceded it:
1964½ Mustang: In the early ‘60s, Ford introduced a small, sporty compact car with style and flair – the original Mustang with its 289 V-8 – and blazed a trail for a completely new type of vehicle. The Mustang was one of the most successful product launches of all time.
1968 Mustang 390 Fastback: Driven by Steve McQueen in the 1968 movie Bullitt, this Ford FE big-block was part of an escalating ‘war’ with the other Detroit automakers. From the Camaro’s 396 big block, the Olds 4-4-2, the Hemi-powered Challenger, and the Barracuda, to the 390 Javelin and AMX from AMC, there was plenty of competition. But as usual, the Mustang bested them all in terms of performance and, of course, iconic status.
1969-1970 Boss 429: One of the rarest and most valuable muscle cars ever built, the Boss 429 was Ford’s answer to Chrysler’s 426 Hemi in NASCAR’s Grand National Division. NASCAR required that at least 500 cars be fitted with this engine and sold to the public. After much consideration, Ford decided the Mustang would be the car.
The Mustang wasn’t wide enough to house the Boss 429, so Ford hired Kar-Kraft to modify existing Mustangs. Production began in ‘68 at Kar-Kraft, where extensive modifications were made, including widening the shock towers and extending the inner fenders. Rated at 375 HP and 450 lb·ft of torque, the actual output was over 500 HP, but 375 HP was all Ford listed to avoid legal and insurance issues. In ‘69, 859 Boss 429s were produced and in 1970, there were 499 Boss 429s made before production was halted.
1986 5.0-liter H.O. Mustang GT/LX: By ‘85, the Mustang could run the quarter-mile in under 15 seconds. While the ‘86 5.0 used the same block as the ’85, it now had sequential electronic fuel injection. While the ‘86 5.0-liter H.O. was slightly quicker in acceleration and in the quarter-mile than the ‘85, it marked the start of a new era of fuel-injected hot rodding. The ‘86 Mustang and the cars that followed through ’93 still remain the best in bang-for-the-buck performance.
2011-12 Cobra Jet Mustang: While not street legal, there’s no denying this is an iconic Mustang. Ford proudly maintains it’s the quickest accelerating production vehicle ever made. The CJ will do a 60-ft launch in 1.3 seconds and the ¼ -mile in less than 10 seconds.
Over the years, Ford’s thoroughbred has remained a signature American car that continues to symbolize performance and style.