The Mustang Phenomenon
Most people hear the year 1964, and it means absolutely nothing to them, except for the occasional birthday, but to any Ford Mustang owner, 1964 was the year that started a car revolution. It was the year that birthed the first Mustang, changing the car world forever.
Lee Iacocca’s vision of a sporty, stream-lined car with power and looks combined would turn out to be one of the most recognizable, critically-acclaimed vehicles ever made. It was so successful that on his fortieth birthday, he was named Ford’s Division President.
But what made the Mustang so successful? Almost 50 years after the first production, what has made this car last for so long? Ask any Mustang owner and the answer is simple, or rather, the answers are many.
Every time I get inside of my car and turn the key, even my two-mile drive to work is one that I look forward to. Everything else in my life, no matter what problems or how bad things could be, just simply getting into my car helps them disappear. When all else seems to be going wrong, my Mustang makes them vanish. In the summer months, it is always nice to get into my car, put both windows down, and just cruise. Somehow I always start with no destination in mind, but always end up at the beach, one of the few advantages of living near the shore. The ability to be a stress-relief is not my main reason for my car though. I remember seeing it across the lot at the dealership, bright with its unique Competition Orange color (one only released in 2004) and it was love at first sight. Ask any Mustang owner, and many of them will have a similar story, but what has really kept this classic around for so many years?
Unlike the Chevrolet Camaro, the Mustang has been able to stick around, through thick and thin, and maintain sales from day one. The Camaro went on hiatus for almost a decade only to come back to life only in the last few years. There has been controversy about whether or not the Camaro will bring the Mustang down, but how can an American Classic that has been strong for so long disappear? The answer is simple. It won’t. It is an affordable, fuel-efficient sports car that has had dependability no matter what year. I recently asked several Mustang owners what their favorite thing was about their mustang. Not one person could pinpoint one thing specifically that they enjoyed the most. Mike Oldham of Saint Joseph, Missouri says “Everything! I can’t really narrow down anything in particular.” Oldham currently owns a 1993 SVT Cobra, his forth mustang over several years. Many Mustang owners are similar to Oldham where once they buy one, they are hooked for life. Amie Williams of St. Augustine, Florida who owns a 2004 Sonic Blue V6, says “I love the color and the way she handles after the pro-kit; I love how one mod bites you and turns into many.” Williams is much like the majority of Mustang owners, where the ease of modification can turn into an addiction. One modification can turn into many, making the Mustang one of the most easily customizable cars of all times. Each car becomes unique to their owner, where it has become nearly impossible to find two mustangs identical to each other, unless they are sitting brand new on a dealer’s lot.
Many other Mustang owners are all about the power that their vehicle provides. In 2011, Ford rereleased the monster 5.0L V8 after years of fans pressuring Ford to do so. This amazing engine produces a stock 412 horsepower with the affordable GT (MSRP around $29K). More than just the power, the looks alone have made the Mustang so recognizable to almost everyone. Some people who have no idea about anything car related, are still able to recognize a mustang when they see one. This car is not only one that passes for looks and power, it is an American Icon. One of the top domestic sports cars ever made, the Mustang itself is a piece of history, revolutionizing the car industry. Other manufactures have tried to replicate, or create their own domestic sports car, but none have been able to maintain sales, resale value, quality and stability for almost a half-century as the Mustang has. Even the car itself has created a sort of “phenomenon” in the way that the car itself has brought people together all over the world. From Mustang sites such as mustangevolution.com to car clubs as famous as the Mustang Club of America, enthusiasts have the opportunity to meet people from around the globe with the same obsession as themselves. Many people will tell you that they have meet some of their best friends or even in some cases, their significant others thanks to their car. It always amazes me when I meet a couple that met because their cars brought them together, and I am no exception to this rule.
The Mustang is not just a car, it has become a way of life. Even some have tattooed the famous running pony symbol somewhere on their body, forever showing their passion for the Mustang. It is not just a car anymore; it is a hobby, an obsession, something that will be around for the next fifty years. It has evolved from just a car, to a sleek, high powered, longstanding monster of a machine. Ford wanted a sports car in 1964, but what they created was a masterpiece, the most beautiful and powerful work-of-art that has ever graced the car world.