Ford Mustang – An American Icon


When it comes to iconic American automobiles, the Ford Mustang stands out as a defining symbol of style, power, and freedom. Since its introduction in 1964, the Mustang has captivated auto enthusiasts, firmly etching its place in automotive history. This article will explore the Mustang’s journey, its various generations, technical specs, and discuss some of the challenges that came along the way.

The Birth of a Legend: First Generation Mustang (1964-1973)

First Generation Mustang

On April 17, 1964, the first Ford Mustang rolled onto the stage at the New York World’s Fair. With its long hood, short rear deck, and a wide array of options for customization, it was an instant hit. Mustang’s first-generation saw several iconic models, including the Shelby GT350, GT500, and the Mach

Model Year Engine Horsepower
1965 Mustang Base 2.8L Inline-6 101 HP
1970 Mustang Mach 1 5.8L V8 300 HP

However, not everything was perfect. The early models lacked modern safety features like airbags or crumple zones. The handling was also not as refined compared to European counterparts.

What problems will a motorist face when buying a Ford Mustang of the 1st generation?

Mustang Cobra

As with any vintage or classic car, buying a 1st-generation Ford Mustang (1964 1/2 to 1973) can come with a number of potential challenges. Here are some common issues that motorists might face:

  1. Availability: Since these are older vehicles, they are not as readily available as more recent models. Depending on the specific model and year, some 1st-generation Mustangs can be quite rare, which can make finding one for sale difficult.
  2. Condition: Due to the age of these vehicles, many may have considerable wear and tear. Rust is a common problem, particularly in the undercarriage, floor pans, and wheel wells. Also, the interior may be worn out, requiring extensive refurbishing.
  3. Mechanical Issues: Many parts may need replacement due to age and use, including the engine, transmission, suspension, and brakes. Parts for older vehicles can be more difficult to find and more expensive than those for newer models.
  4. Originality: For collectors, having a vehicle that is as close to its original condition as possible is often desirable. However, many older vehicles have been modified over the years, which can affect their value.
  5. Documentation: Proving the provenance and history of the car (previous owners, maintenance history, accidents, etc.) can be challenging, as documentation may have been lost over the years.
  6. Costs: Classic cars can be expensive to maintain. They often require special care, parts may be expensive or hard to find, and finding mechanics skilled in working on these older vehicles can also be challenging.
  7. Safety and Comfort: Old cars don’t have the safety features modern drivers are used to, like airbags or anti-lock brakes. Also, comfort features like air conditioning, power steering, and efficient heating may not work as well, or at all.
  8. Fuel Efficiency: Older cars like the 1st generation Mustang are not fuel efficient compared to modern vehicles. If you’re considering using it as a daily driver, be prepared for higher fuel costs.

When considering buying a 1st-generation Ford Mustang, it’s important to have a trusted mechanic inspect the car thoroughly before you make your purchase. They can help identify potential issues and give you an idea of what you might be in for in terms of restoration and ongoing maintenance costs.

Ford Mustang 3rd Generation

Progress and Evolution: Second to Fifth Generation Mustang (1974-2014)

Facing the 1973 oil crisis and new emission standards, the second-generation Mustang, known as the Mustang II, was smaller and more fuel-efficient. It was met with mixed reviews and wasn’t as popular among Mustang enthusiasts.

The third-generation saw the introduction of the famous Fox Body Mustang (1979-1993). Despite initial criticism for its departure from traditional Mustang design, it eventually gained popularity, especially among drag racers.

The second generation of the Ford Mustang, often referred to as the “Mustang II”, was produced from 1974 to 1978. Though they are not as popular as the first or later generations, they still have a place in automotive history and can present their own unique set of challenges for prospective buyers:

  1. Popularity: The Mustang II is often overlooked by collectors due to its departure from the original Mustang design and performance. This can impact the resale value and potential appreciation of the vehicle.
  2. Performance: The Mustang II was developed during the oil crisis of the 1970s, and as such, was designed more for fuel efficiency than performance. This generation saw a significant decrease in power compared to its predecessors.
  3. Parts Availability: While parts for the Mustang II are generally easier to find than those for the first-generation Mustangs, there can still be challenges, especially for certain model years or specific parts.
  4. Body and Interior Condition: As with any older vehicle, potential rust and body damage are concerns. Check the vehicle thoroughly for any signs of rust, particularly in the underbody, wheel wells, and door bottoms. The interior, including the seats, dashboard, and headliner, may also require significant refurbishment.
  5. Mechanical Issues: While the mechanical components of the Mustang II are typically more durable than those of the first generation, they can still have problems. Pay particular attention to the condition of the engine, transmission, and suspension. As with any used car, it’s a good idea to have a trusted mechanic inspect it before purchase.
  6. Safety and Comfort: Like the first-generation Mustangs, Mustang II models lack many of the safety and comfort features of modern vehicles. For example, they do not have airbags, and may lack features like power steering or efficient air conditioning systems.
  7. Documentation: As with any classic car, proving the vehicle’s history can be a challenge. This can include tracking down previous owners, verifying maintenance records, and confirming the vehicle’s originality.

When considering a second-generation Ford Mustang, it’s important to thoroughly research the specific model and year you’re interested in, and to have the car thoroughly inspected by a mechanic before making a purchase.


The fourth and fifth generations brought the Mustang into the modern age, with improved handling, power, and design. The introduction of the Mustang Cobra and Bullitt variants in these generations further enhanced the Mustang’s performance reputation.

Model Year Engine Horsepower
1984 Mustang SVO 2.3L Turbocharged Inline-4 175 HP
2003 Mustang SVT Cobra 4.6L Supercharged V8 390 HP

Challenges during these generations included varying build quality issues and, in some models, underpowered engines. The Mustang II, for instance, was criticized for its lackluster performance.

Ford mustang 4 Generation

The Modern Age: Sixth and Seventh Generation Mustang (2015-Present)

In its most recent generations, the Mustang has seen significant advancements in technology, performance, and design, including independent rear suspension and the introduction of the EcoBoost engine. Models like the Shelby GT350R and GT500 are a testament to the Mustang’s enduring performance heritage.

Model Year Engine Horsepower

5 Mustang EcoBoost

2.3L Turbocharged Inline-4 310 HP
2020 Mustang Shelby GT500 5.2L Supercharged V8 760 HP

While these Mustang models have been well-received, they’re not without their issues. Some owners of early sixth-generation Mustangs reported problems with the body panel alignment. Additionally, the EcoBoost engine, while fuel-efficient, was noted by some enthusiasts as lacking the classic Mustang V8 sound.

The Mustang’s Legacy

Despite various ups and downs, the Ford Mustang has solidified itself as a symbol of American automotive culture. From its debut in 1964 to its current seventh-generation model, the Mustang continues to offer a blend of style, performance, and customization that few other cars can match.

Looking ahead, the Mustang shows no signs of slowing down. With the introduction of the Mustang Mach-E, Ford’s all-electric SUV, the Mustang brand is set to continue its pioneering spirit in the era of electric vehicles.


The Ford Mustang’s history is a testament to innovation and resilience. While it has faced various technical and design challenges, it remains a beloved icon in the automotive world, a symbol of power, style, and freedom on the open road.

Whether you’re a fan of the classic first-generation models or prefer the high-tech modern versions, there’s a Mustang for every car enthusiast. As we look forward to what the future holds for this American classic, one thing is certain: the Mustang will continue to captivate and inspire for generations to come.

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