The Ford Mustang and the 1960s

When you take a look at the changes that take place decade to decade, you generally see a rather gradual alteration of the national landscape. However, the pace of the changes that took place during the decade of the 1960s in particularly profound, and they occurred across every aspect of society. From civil rights, women’s liberation, the Viet Nam war and a shifting economy to fashion, art, and music, the sixties were a quantum leap out of the attitudes of the previous decade.

The automotive industry changed along with the times as well, and the Ford Mustang is a case in point. This car, which is one of the most successful of all time, changed the face of the industry as it ushered in the phenomena of the “pony car.” The first Mustang was unveiled at the World’s Fair in New York City in 1964, and by the time the first two model years were out the door, over one million Mustangs had been sold.

The design chief at Ford who was placed in charge of the development of the car we now know as the Mustang was Donald Frey, who worked under Lee Iacocca at the time. The company was looking for a car that would appeal to women but not alienate male buyers, and they wanted something that was vaguely patterned after the sleek and sexy European roadsters like the Ferrari and Maserati.

Words are just that and a picture is worth a thousand of them, so when you look at the appearance of a 1959 Ford versus the 1967 Ford Mustang depicted on this page, you get a very good idea of how rapidly the sensibilities of the country changed during the decade of the 1960s. And as a testament to the brilliance of the Mustang design, it is still in production today, some 45 years after its celebrated debut.

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