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How the Ford Mustang Became a Cultural Icon

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The Ford Mustang is an essential staple of American manufacturing and the automotive industry. This vehicle passes beyond being merely a classic for vehicle enthusiasts—it has become an iconic part of American culture. The Ford created an important style for American vehicles, and the Mustang’s sleek design and powerful engine made it an obvious choice for American filmmakers and other members of the media to spotlight its breathtaking style.

The Ford Mustang is perhaps the most famous American automobile, and that’s why we’re taking a look back at this timeless beauty and how it became an American icon.

The History of the Ford Mustang

Ford originally developed the Mustang in 1964, but it’s still in production almost sixty years later. The assistant general manager at Ford, Lee Iacocca, and the chief engineer, Donald N. Frey, developed the Mustang over 18 months. Before releasing the first-generation Mustang, Ford developed two concept cars, the 1962 Ford Mustang I and the 1963 Ford Mustang II. The first-generation Mustang was introduced to the public at the New York World’s Fair on April 17th, 1964.

The first-generation Mustang came equipped with a V-8 water-cooled engine, 4-speed manual transmission, and a wheelbase of 108.0 inches. It was 181.6 inches long and had a width of 68.2. Additionally, its height was 51 inches.

Upon the release of the first-generation Mustang, Ford hoped to sell 100,000 units in the first year. The vehicle made such an impression on the public that it sold 22,000 on its first day. Over the course of the first 18 months of the vehicle’s availability, Ford sold one million Mustangs. The car was so popular that numerous imitations followed.

To this day, the Mustang is the longest-produced vehicle in Ford history, and it’s the fifth best-selling Ford vehicle.

The Ford Mustang in Pop Culture

The Mustang was featured on the covers of both Time Magazine and Newsweek in 1964. It became even more popular after it was awarded the 1964 Tiffany Gold Medal for Excellence in American design.

The vehicle went on to be featured in various films, the first of which was the James Bond film Goldfinger released in 1965. The most notable appearance of the Ford Mustang in popular culture was the 1968 film Bullitt. The film starring the iconic Steve McQueen solidified the Mustang’s legacy.

Throughout the film, McQueen operates the Mustang through a series of car chases and exciting sequences that showed the power of Ford’s pony car. After Bullitt, the vehicle became an American icon that everyone—not just vehicle enthusiasts—became aware of. After its glorious performance in Bullitt, the Mustang went on to be used in a number of other films, including Gone in 60 Seconds and Charlie’s Angels.  

Six model generations later, the Ford Mustang remains an important staple for car lovers and an important icon for American manufacturing and culture.

Protect Your Piece of History with Classic Auto Insurance

Whether you’re driving a sleek 1964 Ford Mustang or another sport or luxury vehicle, be sure to insure with Classic Auto Insurance. We offer great coverage on classic, sports, and luxury vehicles at an affordable price.

We’re not like other auto insurance companies—we’ll work with you to determine your car’s worth and will price your insurance accordingly. Here at Classic Auto, we’re more than just insurance providers—we’re also car enthusiasts. We know that every car is different, and we create custom policies to suit the needs of individual cars and their owners.

If you have any questions regarding insuring your classic car or need a quote, contact us here or call 888-901-1338. Our experts will connect with you and help you take the next step towards preserving your luxurious vehicle.


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