October 21, 2015 – In 1964, Ford put out the original Mustang, a two-seater with a long hood and a short deck, which gave it a sporty look. No one at Ford was sure how the public would take to the innovative design. An original roll-out of 100,000 units was ordered for the first year. By the time the dust settled, more than 415,000 would be sold. Within 18 months, more than one million had been ordered.
The first large-scale launch, which came in 1965, was the car maker’s most successful launch since the Model A in 1927. Its popularity was immense and spawned a whole new generation of so-called “pony cars,” like the Camaro, the Javelin, the Firebird, the Barracuda and the Challenger. However, of all of the pony cars, only the Mustang has remained in production throughout the five decades since it was introduced.
It was featured in the movie Goldfinger, and was the car Steve McQueen drove in the famous car chase in the movie Bullitt. It was featured in the movie Gone in 60 Seconds — in both the 1974 version and the re-make — and actually received star-billing in the original.
The car has gone through numerous changes, however. The design has been reworked virtually every decade. But the latest changes would be part of the revamping scheduled for the car’s 50th anniversary. The process would take 6 years, from design to testing and eventual launch. In those years, the economy went in to the Great Recession.
The Michigan car industry, once one of America’s greatest manufacturing successes, had fallen into disarray and disrepute. But it was important for Ford to make the new Mustang in Michigan. It was tested on the streets of Dearborn (camouflaged, to keep the new design a secret).
The Mustang had become part of the American psyche.
FilmRise will be distributing A Faster Horse, a documentary by David Gelb (director of Jiro Dreams of Sushi) detailing the latest incarnation of the American prototype. The film chronicles the car’s history and the steps involved in bringing this newest version to the American public.
The film debuted at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival.