60th anniversary: See the Ford Mustang through the years

The Ford Mustang marked its 60th anniversary on Wednesday

Ford Motor Co. celebrated the Mustang's 60th anniversary on Wednesday with the pony car now in its seventh generation, having become an icon of the American auto industry.

The Ford Mustang debuted April 17, 1964, at the New York World's Fair and has carved out a unique legacy in the decades since its launch, even as its features have changed over time.

"Mustang has stylistically and performance-wise been a vehicle that appealed to the masses — anybody who wants a cool-looking car that goes fast, Mustang is there for you," Ford Heritage Brand Manager Ted Ryan told FOX Business.

Here's a look at the Mustang's evolution since its debut 60 years ago:


1965 Ford Mustang convertible
A 1965 Ford Mustang convertible. (Courtesy of Ford / Fox News)
1965-1973 First Gen

"Out of the first million that were sold, 43% were sold to women because, as Carroll Shelby derisively said, 'It's a secretary's car.' Well, it could be — you could put a little 289 engine in and have a three-speed automatic, but you could also go up to the V8. You could turn the Mustang into whatever you want it to be, and it's really reaching back into its DNA today," Ryan said.
1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 Fastback
The 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 Fastback. (Courtesy of Ford / Fox News)

"We know so much about the audience that we were catering to," Ryan said. "From [late Ford exec Lee] Iacocca's speech that night when it premiered to the media, he talks about building a car for the baby boomer generation. Our marketing had failed so miserably with the Edsel, but on this one we got it right."
1965 Ford Mustang hardtop
1965 Ford Mustang hardtop. (Courtesy of Ford / Fox News)
Ryan noted that Ford has a significant amount of documents from the era in its archives that shed light on the automaker's intent with the Mustang.
"The code name of the project was the 'Special Falcon Project,' and throughout those notes it would say 'a sporty, stylish vehicle that will appeal to a younger buyer,'" Ryan explained. 
"In a lot of cases, first-time buyers, because suddenly we know there were more college-educated buyers because of the GI Bill, more double incomes because of women entering the workforce, which spells out the fact that 43% were sold to women. So they were looking for a car for a new generation."
1974-1978 Second Gen
1976 Ford Mustang Cobra II1976 Ford Mustang Cobra II concept car. (Courtesy of Ford / Fox News)
1979-1993 Third Gen
Ryan noted that although the third-generation Fox Body Mustangs, which were built on the chassis of Ford's Fox platform, were "much-maligned," they marked an era "where Mustang really kind of rediscovered its groove with increased horsepower and the ability to go fast."
1985 Ford Mustang GT convertible
1985 Ford Mustang GT convertible. (Courtesy of Ford / Fox News)
1994-2004 Fourth Gen
1995 Ford Mustang convertible1995 Ford Mustang convertible. (Courtesy of Ford / Fox News)
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2002 Ford Mustang GT premium convertible
2002 Ford Mustang GT premium convertible. (Courtesy of Ford / Fox News)
2005-2014 Fifth Gen
2007 Ford Shelby GT Mustang
2007 Ford Shelby GT Mustang. (Courtesy of Ford / Fox News)

"Mustang's a core part of the lineup, it's a halo product for the brand, it draws people into Ford," Ford Mustang Brand Manager Joe Bellino told FOX Business. 
"Whether you're racing a Mustang and you need to tow it to the track, you're using a Super Duty or F-150, or your second car is an Explorer," he added. "It's grown with families, it transcends families — my dad had a Mustang, I have a Mustang — it kind of gets passed down from generation to generation."

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