Production of the Mustang began in Dearborn, Michigan on March 9, 1964 and the car was introduced to the public on April 17, 1964 at the New York World's Fair. It is Ford's third oldest nameplate currently in production next to the F-Series pickup truck line (which has undergone major nameplate changes over the years) and the Falcon which is still in production in Australia.
Executive stylist Pres Harris, who was a fan of the World War II P-51 Mustang fighter plane, is believed by many to have suggested the name and designed the body. An alternative view was that the Mustang name was first suggested by Robert J. Eggert, Ford Division market research manager. 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 or Torino (and 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 cannot be used in Germany, however, since it belongs to a lawnmower manufacturer; there, Mustangs are called T-5s.)
Mustangs grew larger and heavier with each model year until, in response to the 1971-1973 models, fans of the original 1964 design wrote to Ford urging a return to its size and concept. It has since seen several platform generations and designs. Although some other pony cars have seen a revival, the Mustang is the only original pony car to remain in uninterrupted production over four decades of development and revision.
Continued: The evolution of