50 is a milestone for a gentleman. It’s the age when people not only acknowledge but also respect your opinion, the age to seriously consider that Antarctic cruise you’ve been pondering and, more importantly, the age when you can legitimately purchase a sportscar under the age-old guise of a ‘mid-life crisis’. If, like us at The Gentleman’s Journal, you’ve given this some serious thought, then look no further as may have found you the perfect partner in crime.
As luck would have it, the Ford Mustang is also blowing out the candles this year to celebrate 50 years in continuous production since the first model rolled off the line in 1964. Made famous by its staring role in films such as Bullitt and Gone in Sixty Seconds, this all-American hero has become a symbol of the muscle car scene and a staple on any petrolhead’s wish list.
Like all great things, the Mustang came from humble beginnings. Initially based on the platform of Ford’s family compact car the Falcon, the Mustang pioneered a new class of American automobiles nicknamed ‘pony cars’ – affordable, highly styled cars with sporty looks. At it’s debut at the World’s Fair in New York in 1964, the Mustang was offered with a wheezy Six Engine producing 101bhp at the bottom of the spectrum and a High Performance V8 producing 312bhp at the top. Costing just short of $2,400 in 1964, Ford had sold over 1 million Mustangs within two years of the car being released.
Alongside fashion, architecture and facial hair, the Mustang started to go rapidly down hill in the early 1970s. Piling on pounds, the Mustang found itself helplessly overweight and underpowered in the wake of an oil crisis. Over the following decades, various interpretations of the Mustang emerged, some of which were almost unrecognisable from its handsome grandfather. Regardless, the people’s loyalty to Ford endured and in 2004, the automaker produced its 300 millionth car, which, coincidentally, happened to be a Mustang GT Convertible.
Ten years later, Ford launched the latest incarnation of the pony car at the New York Auto Show earlier this year, named the Mustang 50 Year Limited Edition. The Limited Edition builds on the forthcoming 2015 Mustang GT Fastback with customers getting a choice of just two colours (white or blue) and either an automatic or manual transmission. Powered by a 5.0-litre V8 producing over 420hp, only 1,964 Limited Editions will be built making it a fitting and coveted tribute to the original muscle car. If the Mustang 50 Year Limited Edition is anything to go by, then the future of Ford’s iconic cruiser looks set to last for years to come.
By Rory FH Smith