The Ford Mustang is a series of American automobiles manufactured by Ford. In continuous production since 1964, the Mustang is currently the longest-produced Ford car nameplate. Currently in its sixth generation, it is the fifth-best selling Ford car nameplate. The namesake of the "pony car" automobile segment, the Mustang was developed as a highly styled line of sporty coupes and convertibles derived from existing model lines, initially distinguished by "long hood, short deck" proportions.
Originally predicted to sell 100,000 vehicles yearly, the 1965 Mustang became the most successful vehicle launch since the 1927 Model A.Introduced on April 17, 1964 (16 days after the Plymouth Barracuda), over 400,000 units in its first year; the one-millionth Mustang was sold within two years of its launch. In August 2018, Ford produced the 10-millionth Mustang; matching the first 1965 Mustang, the vehicle was a 2019 Wimbledon White convertible with a V8 engine.
The success of the Mustang launch would lead to multiple competitors from other American manufacturers, including the Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird (1967), AMC Javelin (1968), and Dodge Challenger(1970). The Mustang would also have an effect on designs of coupés worldwide, leading to the marketing of the Toyota Celica and Ford Capri in the United States (the latter, by Lincoln-Mercury). The Mercury Cougar was launched in 1967 as a higher-trim version of the Mustang; during the 1970s, it was repackaged as a personal luxury car.
For 1965 to 2004, the Mustang shared chassis commonality with other Ford model lines, staying rear-wheel drive throughout its production. From 1965 to 1973, the Mustang was derived from the 1960 Ford Falcon compact. From 1974 to 1978, the Mustang (denoted Mustang II) was a longer-wheelbase version of the Ford Pinto. From 1979 to 2004, the Mustang shared its Fox platform chassis with 14 other Ford vehicles (becoming the final one to use the Fox architecture). Since 2005, Ford has produced two generations of the Mustang, each using a distinct platform unique to the model line.
Through its production, multiple nameplates have been associated with the Ford Mustang series, including GT, Mach 1, Boss 302/429, Cobra (separate from Shelby Cobra), and Bullitt, along with "5.0" fender badging.
Executive stylist John Najjar, who was a fan of the World War II P-51 Mustang fighter plane, is credited by Ford to have suggested the name. Najjar co-designed the first prototype of the Ford Mustang known as Ford Mustang I in 1961, working jointly with fellow Ford stylist Philip T. Clark. The Mustang I made its formal debut at the United States Grand Prix in Watkins Glen, New York, on October 7, 1962, where test driver and contemporary Formula One race driver Dan Gurney lapped the track in a demonstration using the second "race" prototype. His lap times were only slightly off the pace of the F1 race cars.
An alternative view was that Robert J. Eggert, Ford Division market research manager, first suggested the Mustang name. Eggert, a breeder of quarterhorses, received a birthday present from his wife of the book, The Mustangs by J. Frank Dobie in 1960. Later, the book's title gave him the idea of adding the "Mustang" name for Ford's new concept car. The designer preferred Cougar (early styling bucks can be seen wearing a Cougar grille emblem) or Torino (an advertising campaign using the Torino name was actually prepared), while Henry Ford II wanted T-bird II. As the person responsible for Ford's research on potential names, Eggert added "Mustang" to the list to be tested by focus groups; "Mustang," by a wide margin, came out on top under the heading: "Suitability as Name for the Special Car."The name could not be used in Germany, however, because it was owned by Krupp, which had manufactured trucks between 1951 and 1964 with the name Mustang. Ford refused to buy the name for about US$10,000 from Krupp at the time. Kreidler, a manufacturer of mopeds, also used the name, so Mustang was sold in Germany as the "T-5" until December 1978.