The legacy of Lee Iacocca was made on this day in 1964, when the Ford Motor Company unveiled its new car, the Mustang at the New York World’s Fair. The new sports car captured the heart and imagination of the American consumer and revolutionized the industry.
"When the product is right, you don't have to be a great marketer," Iacocca said.
Iacocca conceived the idea of the Pony Car, "a poor man's Thunderbird for the working girl" to be compact, modern, and affordable. Created, as engineer Bob Negstad described "from floor sweeping," designers David Ash and Joe Oros based the 1964 1/2 model on the Ford Falcon. They shaped the car with a long, sleek hood, short deck, and forward-leaning grille.
Passion on wheels was born. As Jack Kerouac once said, "Wither goest thou, America, in thy shiny car in the night?"
With a base price was $2,368, the Mustang hit the cover of both Time and Newsweek. Within two years of its 1964 debut, a million mustangs were sold.
And the legend continues in life and in Hollywood with Steve McQueen roaring in the car in Bullitt (1968) and Nicolas Cage in Gone in 60 Seconds (2000).
"If you've got a Mustang, everyone knows what it is," said enthusiast Jack O'Donnell.
Recent mustangs are as marvelous as ever... The paint color of the 2004 SVT Mustang Cobra Mystichrome shifted from green to blue to purple to black, depending on the angle of view. The 2005 Mustang GT featured styling details--like the roofline, trim, and grille--that recalled the '67 and '68 Mustangs.
According to Oregon's 2003 CNW Marketing Research, the majority of Mustangs are driven by women (53.2 percent) in early middle age (43.5 years) who went to college (63 percent) and live in affluent households (average income $76,270).
Build upon your blessings.