As we come close to the 50th anniversary of one of the most legendary vehicles in American history, we would like to take a look back at some of the most famous Ford Mustangs ever produced. It is believed that over 10,000,000 Mustangs have been sold in its 50 year life span as of January 2013. Some Mustang models have become the most valuable collector’s cars on the planet, while others have never had a chance. Take a few minutes to learn about some of the most highly respected Mustangs from the past 50 years.
Where it all began…
1964 ½ Ford Mustang:
On April 17, 1964 Ford Motor Company introduced a brand new vehicle called “The Ford Mustang”. The vehicle was first viewed by the public at the World’s Fair in New York and was advertised on multiple T.V. stations a few days prior to its release. There was quiet a buzz about this particular vehicle & many people gained interest to go see the vehicle in person at their local dealers. The first day the Mustang went on sale Ford sold over 22,000 Mustangs. The surge did not stop there, within the first 12 months after the release Ford had sold more than 400,000 Mustangs. In just two years the Mustang breached its 1 millionth sale and the rest would be history.
The 1964 Mustang had a sticker price of $2,300 & featured a 210HP engine. The Mustang emerged in the market at a great time & was an absolute hit for the upcoming generation. The release of the first Mustang also fueled a large upcoming market full of stylish & fast muscle cars. Some of the competition included vehicles such as the Camaro, Challenger, Charger, GTO, Plymouth, Buicks, AMC’s, Oldmobiles, & Chevlles SS’s. This craze would last for years & these vehicles are now some of the most valuable collector’s items in the world creating arguably the best automotive era in history.
Muscle cars disappeared for a few years, but in 2005 the return of the muscle car rivalry was re-introduced to the American people. While not all of the famous 1960’s – 1970’s muscles cars made a comeback, the Mustang, Camaro, Charger, & Challenger have made their way back into showrooms across America with more power than ever before!
Shelby GT 350:
1965 Shelby GT350
As the Ford Mustang grew in popularity so did the desire to build specialty models with enhanced handling, performance, & looks. One of the first specialty Mustangs ever produced was the 1965 Shelby GT350. The GT350 included a rear seat delete package & beautiful racing stripes. This legendary Mustang was built with an upgraded K-Code 289 (4.7L) engine that pushed out 306 HP with a 4 speed manual transmission. When the GT350 first came out it sold for $4,574. Now a days it is worth over 100k in good condition.
1966 Mustang GT-H (Hertz Edition)
Soon after the popular Shelby GT350 hit the streets Ford made a deal with Hertz Corporation to produce a specialty Mustang that the public could rent. Hertz advertised the GT350-H with the name “Rent-A-Racer” & was a huge hit. Most of the GT350-H’s were equipped with black paint & beautiful gold racing stripes. The First 85 GT350-H’s had 4 speed manual transmissions; however, the remainder of the Hertz edition Mustangs were equipped with auto transmissions. After Hertz Corporation was finished with these vehicles Ford bought them back & re-sold them to the general public. You could rent one of these Mustangs for just $17 a day.
2007 Mustang GT-H
In 2007 a new package was available for the Ford Mustang. The new Mustang GT-H was created to replicate the late 60’s Hertz edition Mustang. Ford produced close to 6,000 of these rental cars & stuck with the traditional Black & Gold combination. Ford also added minor upgrades such as an exhaust system, cold air intake, & a few suspension upgrades. All of these GT-H models were auto transmissions; however, if you liked the power upgrades & look of this particular model but could not get your hands on one; Ford offered up the Shelby GT. The Shelby GT package included many of the same upgrades but offered a manual transmission with a Hurst short throw shifter. The Shelby GT was available in Black, White, & Blue with silver racing stripes.
2011 Shelby GT 350
The newest Shelby GT350 was built to be quick, light, & very nimble. Ford/Shelby equipped the vehicle with a powerful 5.0L Supercharged 500 HP engine. They added a Borla Exhaust with center pipes, suspension work, upgraded brakes, & beautiful Crager Rims wrapped with performance Goodyear tires. Ford also knew that they would have to change the appearance of this Mustang so they placed Blue racing stripes, upon the nice White paint. Ford did not produce a lot of these & they are really hard to get your hands on one.
1967 Shelby GT500 Eleanor (Remake)
The original Eleanor Mustang was a 1971 model & stared in the 1974 movie “Gone In 60 Seconds” (The Original). The Mustang survived two major accidents during the filming but they were able to finish the movie.
In the year 2000 a remake of the movie “Gone In 60 Seconds” came to theaters & was a huge hit. Along with a new movie was a new custom Shelby GT500 known as “Elanore”. The Elanore Stang is arguably the most appealing Mustang ever made & sold for 1,000,000 at the Mecum Auto Auction in 2013. The Eleanor Shelby GT500 has a strong stance with great body lines, an aggressive hood, & beautiful grey pain with black racing stripes! In the movie Randall “Memphis” Raines (Nicholas Cage) played a retired car thief that had to clean up a mess caused by his little brother “Kip”. In order to do so Kip, Memphis,& a group of friends had to steal 50 cars in just one night. All was going smooth as they strategically planned their heists & successfully stole 49 of the 50 cars required. The last vehicle on the list was in fact the 1967 Shelby GT500 Elanore. Not only did this particular vehicle stand out, it was the hardest steal of the day. As Memphis starts up the vehicle he is approached by a few police officers &the chase begins. The 30 minute scene has obstacle after obstacle, turn after turn, & pure speed! Memphis missed the dead line by a few minutes & viewers of the movie cringed as they watched Elanore being crushed by the bad guys. If you have not seen this movie please do so, it is defiantly worth the time!
Shelby GT 500 “Super Snake”
If the original 1967 Shelby GT500 wasn’t enough car for you, Carroll Shelby had more to offer. He wanted to focus on coming out with a Mustang with over 500 HP! In order to accomplish this goal Shelby equipped the Mustang with a high revving 427 big block V8. The official HP rating of the 1967 Shelby GT500 Super Snake was 520 which was an extremely high output for a vehicle at this point in time. Along with all that HP was an aggressive rear gear ratio of 4:11 which can be found on many track ready cars now a days. The torque will pin you back to your seat as you shift through the gears & listen to the amazing tone of the big block engine. A car like this will put a huge smile on your face & a large dent on your wallet, but in the end it’s definitely worth it!
In 2012 the Shelby GT500 Super Snake was re-introduced at the New York Auto Show. Not only does this Mustang catch your eye with its aggressive hood, beautiful wheels, & unique racing stripes, but also features one of the most powerful V8’s in the world. Shelby offers an upgraded package to help this pony achieve 800HP. Much like the original, the Super Snake is known for its immense amount of power & quick acceleration!
Shelby GT 500 KR “King of the Road”
The original Shelby GT500 KR was introduced to the public at the 1967 New York Auto Show. The “KR” is powered by a 428 Cobra Jet engine that produces 335HP. The main reason Carroll Shelby wanted to introduce the “King of the Road” mustang was because he had received information that Chevrolet was planning on using the name for one of their vehicles. Shelby made it a point to produce a car with this name before anyone else had the chance to. Another reason the “KR” was known to be one of the most popular mustangs is because of it powerful engine. Although Ford had a HP rating of 335 many people disagreed & tested the vehicles true power. The numbers were astonishing as people were recording power output of well over 400HP! Ford produced roughly 1,200 King of the Roads & has had a huge impact in the auto industry.
The 2008 Shelby GT500 KR was introduced as a special edition Shelby in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the original “King of the Road” The 2008 was equipped with a 5.4L supercharged V8 that produces 540 HP. The KR has a few cosmetic upgrades such as unique emblems, racing stripes, & beautiful 20 inch rims. The KR also features an upgraded suspension & 3.73 gear ratio. Only 1000 KR’s were sold & it has become an instant collector’s item!
2007 Shelby GT500
After many years without the Shelby name plate Ford decided to bring back the one of the most iconic Mustangs of all time. The 2007 Shelby GT500 has a 5.4L Supercharged V8 with 475 HP. Ford did a great job keeping the authentic retro Mustang look, while providing the car with a powerful V8! This was the start of yet another Carroll Shelby era as Ford would add more & more power to each of the next seven Shelby GT500’s produced as well as many variations of the GT500. This vehicle is similar to the 1964 ½ Mustang, it was that start of many good things to come & for that we thank Carroll Shelby & Ford Motor Company!
2013 Shelby GT500
I personally believe that this particular Mustang is going to hold its value & increase in value in years to come. The reason being: its high output 5.8L Super Charged V8 engine that produces over 663 HP. Did I mention that is the most power in any stock V8 production car in the world? To add to the hype, this vehicle has the potential to reach 202 MPH! Along with the fact that this is an amazing car out of the box, this was Carroll Shelby’s last masterpiece; R.I.P Carol Shelby. Although Ford produced a 2014 Shelby GT500 I believe the 2013 will be more valuable in the years to come. Ford also announced that they will be replacing the Shelby nameplate with SVT Cobra for the next generation Mustang.
1968 “Steve McQueen” Bullitt Mustang
One of T.V.’s most famous muscle cars is Steve McQueen’s 1968 Mustang 390 GT. The Movie “Bullitt” stars Lieutenant Frank Bullitt & is most famously known for the epic car chase that takes place in the hilly streets of San Francisco. The Mustang is chasing a 440 Magnum Charger R/T as they race through the streets hill after hill, turn after turn, fish tail after fish tail! The rest is history & yet another legendary Mustang was born.
2008 Bullitt Mustang
Bullitt A.K.A. (The Green Machine): This Highland Green Metallic Mustang is the most recent replica of the 1968 Bullitt Mustang which stared in one of the most iconic car chases in movie history. This particular vehicle features a 4.6L V8 that produces 315 HP. The 2008 Bullitt Mustang features a few upgrades to enhance both power & handling. Ford equipped it with a Ford Racing Exhaust, & a short throw shifter. Bullitt also has a sport tuned suspension, dark 18 inch rims, HID lights, & a spoiler delete package. To successfully replicate this iconic mustang Ford placed custom Bullitt badges all over the vehicle inside & out. The Bullitt Mustang has very few components that are chrome & I believe that Ford Motor Company did a great job recreating an iconic muscle car!
1969-1970 Boss 302
With stiff competition brewing in the muscle car wars Ford Motor Company knew that they would have to step up their game & produce a quicker car. Ford brought the Boss 302 to the table as they watched it become an instant hit. The Boss had distinct features such as (C-Stripes “1969” & Hockey Stripes “1970”) & optional rear window louvers. The Boss 302 was a very balanced car that great handling while not having to sacrifice speed. The name Boss came about when one of the designers from Ford was asked what project he was working on. He stated “the Boss’s car” the name had a nice ring to it & stuck around for years to come. Over 7,000 models were made @ a price of $3,720 (Worth about 530,000 now).
1969-1970 Mustang Boss 492
This high performance Mustang that is arguably the rarest muscle car to date. The manufacturers & dealers only listed 375 hp because of legal issues & rising insurance costs. Many people claim that this engine produces over 500 HP. The 429 engine was placed in the Mustang because Nascar required Ford to have their race engines in at least 500 street cars. To tell the difference between the 1969 & 1970 models you can take a look at the hood scoops. The 1969 Boss has a painted hood scoop, while the 1970 Boss had a matte black hood scoop. Now-a-days this specialty Mustang sells for over $400,000!
2012-2013 Boss 302 / Laguna Seca
In 2012 Ford Motor Company wanted to re-create the iconic 1970’s Boss Mustang. Ford decided to make 9,500 Mustangs with the Boss nameplate. 8,000 of them were labeled Boss 302 & 1,500 of the Mustangs were labeled Boss 302 Laguna Seca.
Both the Boss 302 & The Laguna Seca feature a modified 5.0L V8 & have some appearance/ performance upgrades. Both vehicles are equipped with a quad exhaust system that produces a deep growl. In addition to the great tone that the New Boss Mustang produces is the Mustangs tuned suspension & computer engine modifications.
The Laguna Seca only came in two color combinations. A Black/Red or Silver/Red combination. The Laguna Seca is known for its rear seat delete package with an X bar to increase stability & lower weight. The Ford Laguna Seca comes with two separate keys, one key is for everyday driving, & the other is a race key otherwise known as a Track Key. The Track Key changes multiple settings within the computers ECU & enhances the cars performance so that it is track ready. The Keys main features include a loopy idle, quicker throttle response, & a higher rev limit. Ford did a great job producing a special vehicle & sticking to its retro look.
Fox Body Mustang:
1984 SVO Mustang
The SVO Mustang was a limited production Mustang that was brought into the lineup due to ever-rising fuel cost & strict emission standards. The SVO has a 2.3L four cylinder turbocharged engine that produced 175 HP. Although this does not seem like a lot of power the SVO had an impressive acceleration rate due to the turbo. By the time the SVO Mustang came into production most of the popular muscle cars of the 60’s & 70’s were either discontinued or detuned beyond belief. After a few years with the SVO 4 cylinder Ford brought a new engine into play, the 5.0L V8 would take over & become one of the most impressive Ford engines ever built.
Fox Body Mustang
The Fox Body Mustang was the return of the Mustang & became a hit at the racetrack when the 5.0L 302 V8 was placed into a relatively light car. The Fox Body Mustang became a popular vehicle to upgrade as many aftermarket companies produced affordable performance parts. Most of the upgrades were minor changes to the exhaust, intakes, & ECU tunes. However, as the Fox Body Mustangs became legendary at the drag strip many people started adding major engine upgrades such as Turbos, Super Chargers, or even complete engine rebuilds. If you were to go to any drag strip I guarantee you would see many Foxes as they race down the track in under 10 seconds!
2003-2004 Mustang SVT Cobra
The 2003 – 2004 SVT Cobra A.K.A “Terminator” is a very popular Mustang that has held its value over the past few years. The “Terminator” is known for its amazing exhaust note & high pitched supercharged whine. Along with the Fox Body Mustang the SVT Cobra was one of the most customizable Stangs. Many people have put a lot of time & effort into customizing their Cobra as the vehicle has the ability to handle a lot of power with stock components. This model is one of my favorite Mustangs & is still a very popular vehicle on the road. The 2004 Cobra was a special addition 40th anniversary model & was the last of the round body style Mustangs.
Saleen & Roush Racing Mustangs:
Saleen inc was founded in 1983 & has been one of the largest aftermarket manufactures for the Ford Mustang. Saleen has produced attractive body kits, & great performance upgrades for thousands of Mustangs. Saleen Mustangs are known to be quick & have been able to produce a valuable product that is perfect for both the road & track.
Roush Racing is an aftermarket automotive company that has focused on producing specialty Ford products that include performance, appearance, & handling upgrades. Jack Roush of Roush Fenway Racing heads the Nascar team & has recently been inducted to both the International Motorsports Hall of Fame & Michigan Sports Hall of Fame. The Roush Performance department was formed in 1995 & has engineered a variety of Mustangs, F-150’s, & Ford Focuses. In the past Roush Performance has focused mainly on the Mustang & have produced many high performance vehicles. Roush offers a few different packages for their Mustangs. Stage 1(Body Kit, Stripes, Interior Modifications, & Rims), Stage 2 (Body Kit, Stripes, Interior Modifications, Rims, & Suspension), Stage 3 (Body Kit, Stripes, Rims, Interior Modifications, Suspension, Exhaust, & a Supercharger). All of the Roush Performance products have been tested & tuned for optimal road & track performance.
Mustang Cobra Jet:
2012 Cobra Jet
The Cobra Jet Mustang is a limited production vehicle that is not street legal & is tuned specifically for the Drag Strip. The numbers are startling, running the quarter mile in just under 10 seconds out of the box. Can’t say that about many cars in the history of the automotive industry. In fact when the Bugatti Veyron set the bar for 0 – 60 times @ 2.4 seconds it was expected to hold the record for many years to come. However the Ford Engineers disagreed. Just a few years after the record was broken Ford released their 0 – 60 times for the brand new Cobra Jet (1.52) seconds!!! Another astonishing statistic is the Cobra Jets 0 – 100 which comes in @ 3.26 seconds. Not to mention that the Cobra Jets has half the power of the Bugatti.
50th Anniversary 2014 ½
With such a great history you can only imagine what mustangs are yet to come. As a fellow Mustang enthusiast I am very excited to experience the latest and greatest models as they are revealed!
I know that many Mustang enthusiasts are looking forward to see what is in store for the 50th Anniversary Mustang. From what we have learned from Ford so far is that the 2014 ½ Mustang will be one of the biggest overhauls in Mustang History. Ford is aiming for a younger demographic as well as expanding its legacy overseas. Although Ford has not been clear as to when & where the Mustang will be sold other than the U.S., they did leak a few bits of information that help us determine what kind of changes we should expect. Ford has informed the public that they will be steering away from the live rear axle & replacing it with an independent rear suspension which will enhance the Mustangs handling. Ford has also released information in regards to engine sizes. There has been talk of an eco-boost 4 cylinder engine, 3.7L V6 engine, and 5.0L V8 engine. We also know that Ford Motor Company is looking to cut some weight in the Mustang in order to make it more nimble & better at handling.
From reading this article it is easy to see why the Ford Mustang has such a world renowned name in the auto industry. The auto industry is full of depreciating assets, however, The Mustang is one of very few vehicles that has been able to hold its value & in many cases these vehicles are going up in value! The question is which of the late model Mustangs will we wish we held on to down the road. Will it be the 2003-2004 SVT Cobra, 2008 Bullitt, 2012 Boss Laguna Seca, or perhaps the 2013 Shelby GT500!