The Mustang: True American Muscle

10:16:00 AM

Photos and Words by Rachel File

In some, the Mustang evokes passion; in others, fear. Desire, lust, love.… envy. All of these things can be said to possess the heart of those who encounter her. An animal of undomesticated beauty, her beckoning purr is intoxicating and possessive, attracting her prey before she unleashes her unmistakable roar as she leaves you in the dust. Some have tried conquering her, others have joined her, but there is one thing everyone who comes across her path has quickly learned: she cannot be tamed. There are few experiences that can top the feeling of becoming one with a powerful car; the stick shift in your hand, knuckles white, right foot to the floor, left foot at the ready. You literally become a part of the car. Without you, it can do nothing. But together? You become an unstoppable force of pure adrenaline. The Boss is no exception. You begin to feel the rumble of her idle through your bones up into your heart. You feel her anticipation as you both wait for that green light. Driving her is like that of a choreographed ballet. Graceful, yet demanding. Powerful. Emotional. Flowing. Working together to create a masterpiece. That is what the Mustang is about. Connection.

April 17th, 2014 will be the official 50 year mark for the Ford Mustang. Plenty of people have their pony car of choice, whether it be Camaro or Challenger or Mustang. But there is one undeniable fact that anyone with any taste of car can understand: the story of the Mustang and its inception is an inspiring story that touches your heart and brings back the love for the automobile that posses all of us, something that seems to be so easily lost in this day and age. It’s a story of connection and passion. The Mustang brought about a whole new perspective for the car world and influenced its direction towards where we are now. In a society torn by war and prejudice, the Mustang brought a sort of community to the vastly divided nation and to this day continues to unite men and women alike, of all ages and ethnicities.

Lee Iacocca is a name who, for Mustang enthusiasts, is a true pioneer of the pony car genre and the inspirator for the most well-known and loved car of the past 50 years. He came to the Ford board members with the idea of a compact car that would be both practical for the everyday, yet fun to drive when the desire so arose. He wanted it to appeal to baby-boomers, be cost-effective and customizable to fit anyone’s lifestyle. Based off the Ford Falcon platform, the Mustang became just that. With a base price of $2368, and a myriad of standard features and options, it was an instant hit and on the first day alone, dealers had orders of around 22,000 cars. In Garland, Texas, there was an instance where 15 customers came to bid on one car. After the initial win, the customer even slept in the car overnight to ensure that it was not sold out from under him before his check cleared. While Ford had expected an annual sales figure of around 100,000 vehicles, the final figure reached over 417,000, well exceeding the sales records of any one model since the automobile’s birth. After a full two years, sales were in the one millions.

Brain Candy: The Mustangs produced for the first 6 months were referred to as 1964 ½ due to an unusual launch date during the year. You can tell a ‘64 ½ Mustang from a ‘65 by the front edge of the hood. The 1965’s edge was rolled under; the 64 ½s were not.


Much controversy has arisen over the new design of the 2015 Mustang on the S550 chassis. Smaller, more narrow, lighter, independent rear suspension,  etc… Sounds more like a European sportscar rather than an American muscle car. But, if you get into specifics, this new Mustang is more “retro” than the 2005 body style. When the car was first under conception, the whole idea was to have a “European sportscar” by design. Ford has gone back to the roots of the Mustang with this new bodystyle. Much more lean than the S197, more predictable driving, and faster.

“But the whole point of a Mustang is the raw, rugged, unpredictability of it, by nature.”

Very much so. But this new car is just a part of automotive evolution. Give it a chance. Besides- there’s nothing Mustang owners love to hear more than the whining of a Camaro owner (besides seeing it in the rearview mirror). You can bet there will be plenty of that on the track after this baby hits the streets. With tuners like SVT, Saleen and Roush, to name a few, there won’t be much in the way of disappointment for performance. Plus, a plethora of new engine options makes for a fun time under the hood. You still have the 3.7L V6, but with a new Ecoboost 4 putting out 300+ horses and even more power in the already potent Coyote motor, there won’t be much to complain about.

One model we won’t be seeing, however, is the Boss 302. Sticking to its heritage, Ford only produced the Boss in 2012 and 13 year models. The Boss 302 is the quintessential track car. Designed with as little “fluff” as possible, the Boss boasts 444 horsepower, 380 ft/lbs of torque and 9.5 inches of rubber in the rear to annihilate the asphalt. For ‘13, they wanted to celebrate the Boss’s history by paying homage to the 1970 Boss. Hockey stick stripes and single center hood stripe, as well as the addition of School Bus Yellow (remember Parnelli Jones’ 1970 Trans-Am championship car?) bring back memories of the good ole days. So until Ford generously rewards us with a Mach 1 for 2015 (fingers crossed!) we can only scour the interweb for those who were not man enough to handle their Boss-clad Coyotes and anxiously await the day we are blessed with another track-worthy pony car from the Blue Oval. Here’s to 50 years of kicking bowtie butt, eating catfish for dinner and the hope of 50 more to come!

About Rachel & Rush Hour Photography

"I've loved cars as long as I can remember. I also had a keen interest in photography for just as long. Then one day, those two passions merged to become Rush Hour Photography. Originally starting out to shoot automotive photography only, I quickly branched out realizing I had much more to offer. I love working with people and learning about them. I love it even more when I get to show their story through photography. I hope to one day make this my full-time career, but in the meantime, I work for a Mercedes-Benz dealership which continues to grow my love for cars and the stories and people behind them."

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