Wednesday, February 12, 2014

They're Called Pony Cars for a Reason

A lot will be written about Mustangs in the next few months, during the run-up the 50th anniversary in April, both about the old original 64-1/2 models and the 2014 ones.

But this post, over at The Truth About Cars caught my eye. Can you imagine owning a car for almost 50 years?

More importantly, can you imagine owning one of the most iconic cars in American Automotive history for 50 years?

Today it's hard to imagine the impact the Mustang had. we aren't as car crazy as we once were, and the shear proliferation of makes and models makes the introduction of a new model something only the real car nerds will slobber over.

But in April of 1964 it was a big deal. Ford, GM and Chrysler had the market almost to themselves. American Motors sold a few cars, and Studebaker was still selling a few as well. The European makers were specialty only; Mercedes, BMW Jaguar, Rolls Royce at the high end, and Triumph, MG and Morgan on the sport side. And Volkswagen; making a few inroads but by any means a powerhouse. There were a few Japanese makers starting to show up on the roads on the West Coast, but Chevy sold more cars in 1963 than all imports combined.

But they were starting to make there presence known; the drive for fuel economy had started. Chevy had the Corvair, and Ford the Falcon, but the Falcon lacked sex appeal.

And then Lee Iaccoca showed off the Mustang. Basically a Falcon with a new body shape; it did exactly what Ford wanted it to do; sell over half a million cars a year. Ford hadn't had a sales demon like this since the introduction of the Model A back in 1928; almost 50 years earlier.

And 50 years later those cars are still desirable. I have known 2 of the original '64-1/2 - 66 model Mustangs.

My Uncle had a '66 Fastback 2+2; V-8 powered and that reddish-orange color that looks so good on a Mustang of that vintage; similar to the one above. But his had hubcaps with spinners, not the factory sport wheels. It had a black interior, and he took my cousin and I (both of us his 6 year old nephews) a ride in it one Sunday. I remember taking the ride, and being in the car, but the ride itself is a blur. I don't know if it is a blur because of the speed we were traveling at, or because it was 50 years ago and I was only 6.

But I do remember that car.

Another was a '65 model my Aunt (my Uncle's sister) had for a while. I was 14 or 15 at the time, so it would have been a 10 year old car at the time. And it was not what some would have considered collectable. Unlike the car in the article- with the convertible, V-8 and sport options, my Aunt's car was a 6 cylinder and a three speed column shift with a bench seat. It looked like a Mustang on the outside, but the inside was still straight Falcon. The color didn't help either. Instead of Baby Blue, it was brown, inside and out.

Of course, I would give almost anything to have either one of them today. My Uncle died in '68 and I have no idea what happened to his car. My Aunt's was the same way; it was there for a year or so, but one visit it was gone.

It takes a special person to keep a car for 50 years.

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