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The 17th of April has a special meaning for Ford Mustang fans. Before the 1965 Mustang’s unveiling, the American sports car conversation started and stopped with icons like the Chevrolet Corvette and Ford Thunderbird. However, Lee Iacocca and Ford’s creatives broke the mold with an affordable, seductive pony car at the New York World’s Fair on April 17th, 1964. Now that it’s the 59th anniversary of the unveiling, the Ford Mustang continues to earn its relevance. 

How did Ford unveil the Mustang?

Lee Iacocca and Ford’s creative minds unveiled the first “1964 ½” Ford Mustang to a captivated public at the 1964 New York World’s Fair on April 17th, 1964. The untapped market was a gamble for the automaker, but it was one of the most successful vehicle launches in American history. 

The pomp of the launch paved the way for the model’s phenomenal sales figures in its first year. According to CBS News, Ford sold 22,000 Mustangs on its first day. Moreover, by the anniversary of its release, the Blue Oval had sold 418,812 pony cars. That’s much more than modern interest in the model; Ford sold 47,566 units in 2022

A black 1965 Ford Mustang Convertible on the anniversary of its release.
A 1965 Mustang Convertible | FPG via Getty Images

What is special about a 1965 Mustang?

Although the unveiling earned the pony car its unofficial “1964 ½” prefix, the first Ford Mustangs were 1965 models. The first Mustang model year was successful; only the 1966 coupe outsold it, per CJ Pony Parts

What is the longest-running Mustang generation?

In its 59 years of existence, the Ford Mustang has evolved from generation to generation, culminating in the upcoming S650 (seventh generation). The longest-running Mustang generation, the third generation “Fox Body,” ran from 1979 to 1993.  

Visitors ride in a convertible 1965 Ford Mustang for the unveiling at the World's Fair.
Visitors in a 1965 Mustang Convertible at the World’s Fair | Ben Martin via Getty Images

Unlike its closest competitor, the Chevrolet Camaro, the Ford model will continue to a seventh generation after uninterrupted production for decades. Conversely, both the Dodge Challenger and Chevrolet Camaro will head out to pasture after 2023 and 2024, respectively.   

What’s next for the Ford Mustang?

The Ford Mustang will boast an all-new look for 2024. While the aesthetic and performance differences aren’t quite as dramatic as the shift from the S197 to the S550, it’s a welcome chapter in the Mustang story that includes a powerful Coyote V8 engine, optional manual transmissions, and no electrification.   

A black and white image shows Henry Ford II at the unveiling of the first 1965 Ford Mustang.
Henry Ford II at the World’s Fair | Ford

What will Ford do for the 60th anniversary of the Mustang?

Considering the 60th anniversary of the Mustang’s unveiling will coincide with the first model years of the S650 generation, the Blue Oval will likely release an anniversary edition. Ford released a 50th-anniversary edition on the pre-facelift S550 platform, so it stands to reason that the new generation would host an anniversary edition, too.


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