By Jim Farley, Executive Vice President and President, Global Markets, Ford Motor Company
In 1964, a Canadian pilot named Stanley Tucker took the very first Ford Mustang ever made out for a test drive. He never brought it back.
The vehicle — in perfect “Wimbledon White” — was never meant to be sold. It was a show car for test drives only. But Stanley loved it so much that he simply said, “no thanks” for two years until Ford promised him Mustang No. 1,000,001 in exchange for the original. (Stanley’s car now resides safe and sound at the Henry Ford Museum.)
Stanley wasn’t the only one who fell in love with the Mustang at first sight: On the day it debuted at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, over 22,000 people purchased a Mustang without even getting behind the wheel.
It was an instant classic. And the sexiest car on the market.
In fact, the Ford Mustang created a whole new class of vehicle, becoming the world’s first pony car — despite not actually being named after the animal. Designer John Najjar suggested the name Mustang after the World War II P-51 Mustang fighter plane (though the plane was named after the horse so it’s probably fine). Since its release, it has made appearances in over 500 movies to date, from Sean-Connery-as-James-Bond’s car in Goldfinger, to the star of the most memorable car chase scene in cinematic history in Steve McQueen’s Bullitt.
It’s been the subject of dozens of popular songs, including multiple love songs where the object of desire was the car itself. And while it’s impossible to put a price on everything the Mustang has come to represent, a 1967 Shelby GT500 Super Snake model once sold at auction for $1.3 million.
I’m familiar with the kind of devotion Mustang inspires. My first Mustang was a ’66 coupe I bought for $500 with money from my first job in California. When it came time to visit my family in Michigan, there was absolutely no way I was leaving that car — no way. So I drove it there — underage, without a driver’s license. While I certainly can’t condone that, I couldn’t look you in the eye and say I regret it either. Why?
Because Mustang. To this day, the Ford Mustang remains the international symbol of American cool, the patron saint of steamy windows everywhere. It’s the official car of heartthrobs, the one that you want to drive but also want to be driven in.
It evokes emotion, pride, swagger. The name, the look, the sound — all instantly recognizable. Now we’re building on that as we shape our future at Ford. We’re taking that success — that swagger — and infusing it in our upcoming silhouettes and a Mustang-inspired exciting electric utility coming in 2020. These new vehicles are ones that people will feel connected to and passionate about — just like they do with Mustang today.
Yesterday, Ford officially produced its 10 millionth Mustang. A parade of Mustangs representing all 54 model years roared from Dearborn to our Flat Rock Assembly Plant where our amazing team celebrated this achievement. A trio of P-51 fighter planes streaked overhead, and “Mustang Sally” pumped from the speakers. Mr. Tucker’s Wimbledon White Mustang was on display — right next to the 10 millionth Mustang — also white! Where else would you rather be?
Ten million — can you believe it? Ten million cars that have turned heads on every road they’ve touched. Ten million memories. I could not have been more proud. And there’s so much more to come.