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Ford Mustang Roundup

HorsePlay Published: 23rd Jun 2011 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Ford Mustang Roundup
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There’s four generations of the Ford Mustang to go for but what’s the right one for you?

The Mustang is indisputably one of the most iconic cars to emerge on the world stage during the last 50 years. The fastest selling model of all time, a car that took the American nation by storm, and paradoxically one which came close to being moribund with the second generation, but after that, gradually picked up momentum to enjoy today’s extremely avid following, be it current production cars, and just about everything that’s gone before. Mustang ‘fever’ is alive and well! There’s a model to suit you out there, too.

First generation 1964 – 1968: The original and the best

Very much the most pure in form and style, the most sought after and collectable of the genre, the model that started the ‘Pony Car’ wars in the USA. It’s the model everyone easily identifi es as a Mustang, and everyone wants. Bearing in mid these cars are now 35-40 years old, they very much rely on period technology, so don’t expect wonders in the handling and braking department. Some cars were fi tted with discs at the factory, for others its drums all round and non servo assisted. The good news is that upgrades in all departments are available to enhance driving pleasure, but if you are only going to use your Mustang on high days and holidays, there’s nothing wrong with stock, if you have the right attitude to except the car for what it is; a car approaching its 50th! As with all cars, the more options fi tted, the more desirable the car becomes, and Pony interiors with embossed horse logos on the seats is a nice feature. As is the GT package with sports steering wheel, extra instrumentation, aircon, sports wheels, etc. When Carroll Shelby got his hands on a Mustang, a legend was born, First Generation Shelby Mustangs are amongst the most collectable in the world, and also the most expensive, $400,000 plus for certain models. Perhaps the most practical thing about owning a 1964-1968 Mustang is that it’s a compact and will fit in your garage, unlike many other period Yanks. Cars with the 289ci Hi-Po motor with manual shift and GT package are amongst the most sought after. The 1967-1968 Fastbacks with 390ci motors are also highly rated. A few cars had 427ci power. Excellent choice with convertible, coupe and fastback body styles to choose from so take your pick.

Second generation 1974 – 1978: Are they really that bad?

Following all the success of the previous 10 years of the Mustang and the zenith of musclecar wars with Shelby’s and Boss’s and Big Blocks et all, things came crashing down after 1973. It was all about fuel economy, meeting emission requirements and to be fair, all about survival too! The excesses of monster engines and body styles looking like they were bloated on steroids had gone. Mustang II emerged as a ‘compact’ once more, and almost unbelievably a V8 engine wasn’t available until a year later in 1975, halleluya normal service has been resumed! How can you possibly have a Mustang without a V8? Enthusiasts of Mustang musclecars were crestfallen, but the MK2 kept the faith. Ghia models with their velour interiors were very 1970’s kitsch, yet quite nicely appointed. Aesthetic appeal didn’t win any awards for outstanding design, but perhaps surprisingly the model continued to sell rather well. The King Cobra of 1978 jazzed things up a tad with body decals, stripes, spoilers, scoops, Rallye handling package, alloy wheels and raised white letter tyres, but it was more of a cosmetic exercise, rather than performance. The Second Generation cars are without question, the least collectable, but defi nitely the most affordable, and it’s still a Mustang after all and they make good easy to run daily drivers. If your budget is paltry, this is the Mustang for you. Don’t hang around though as prices are rising!

Third generation 1979 – ‘93: The foxy lady comes good

Also commonly referred to as the Fox bodied Mustang, these cars marked the beginnings of a renaissance for the model. It’s true that the styling was still a little reserved, a bit square and boxey, but cars were available in both coupe and the convertible was making a welcome return. The rag top was easy to fold and well built. This totally redesigned Mustang also paced the Indy 500 Race of 1979, a great honour for any manufacturer. Power and performance were making a welcome return too, with 302ci engines up to 225bhp and a turbo charged GT for 1983-84, and 302ci engines had fuel injection from 1986 onwards. Transmissions were fi ve-speed or three-speed automatic and overdrive four-speed from 1985. These Mustangs were noted for their clean interior styling, and easy to read dashboard instrumentation. Most desirable performance Fox bodied Mustang was the 1993 Cobra Coupe. A factory ‘pocket rocket’ with a 5.0 litre 302ci engine rated at 245bhp and revised suspension package Around 5000 were built. It says much about the integrity and design of the basic Fox platform, that it was effectively retained and lived on with the introduction of the Fourth Generation car in 1994.

Fourth generation 1993 – 2003: Ride on!

Okay, now we are getting somewhere, at last a Mustang looking very svelte and attractive, the best for years, why did it take so long? The renaissance had now defi nitely turned full circle and the car was aptly available in coupe and convertible form. Muscle car buffs must have heaved a huge sigh of relief and their hearts must have been beating very hard when they saw what was on offer with the 1994 Cobra with a 302ci 5.0 litre engine rated at 240bhp, but only 1000 were built. A year later saw the arrival of the Cobra R, even rarer with only 250 built with a 351ci 5.8-litre 300bhp motor. They were ostensibly a road legal racecar and all prospective new owners had to produce their race license and competition history in order to purchase one! Once again a kind of ‘Shelby’ inspired racer was back on the streets, with a 20 gallon Kevlar fuel tank, no rear seat, aircon or electric windows here! In 1999 there was a 35th Anniversary model with revised styling and special badging etc. The Mustang performed and handled as good as it looked and was powered by a 282ci V8 engine.


Good fi rst generation V8 powered cars will be upwards of £10,000, you may be able to source a half decent car for less if you look hard enough, although top cars are £20K upwards. Once upon a time you could easily pick up a tidy MK2 for £1000, but now it’s nearer to £1500-£3500. Good Fox bodied third generations cars command £3000 upwards, while entry level for fourth generation cars will be around £4500. So there’s a Mustang to suit all pockets but- just be careful what you buy.


I t ’s pret ty much a case of the old adage, you pay your money and take your choice. If your budget is ‘shot’ them its got to be a MK2 the cheapest ‘Stang you can possible purchase, though having said that, prices are going up. The next cheapest will be a Fox-bodied car which drive reasonably well and have quite a popular following. For many enthusiasts nothing less than a First generation model will suffi ce and you can understand their sentiment. As with agood many marques, fi rst is often the best for some folk! Last but not least is the Fourth line, definitely a good looker, moreref ined and not hugely expensive to purchase either. And the latest car is worth a look at as a modern retro.

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