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The Ford Mustang has been cruising American roads for nearly 60 years. In that time, the venerable pony car evolved from a first-generation cruiser to an incipient seventh-gen sports car. Check out a brief breakdown of Mustang by generation, from the first generation, Mustang 2, and Fox Body to the latest S550 and S650 cars. 

What are the generations of the Ford Mustang?

  • First generation- 1964 to 1973
  • Second generation (Mustang 2)- 1974 to 1978
  • Third generation (Fox Body)- 1979 to 1993
  • Fourth generation (SN95)- 1994 to 2004
  • Fifth generation (S197)- 2005 to 2014
  • Sixth generation (S550)- 2015 to 2023
  • Seventh generation (S650)- Beginning 2024

First-generation Ford Mustang: 1964 to 1973

When Ford unveiled the “1964 ½” Mustang at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, the public received it with open arms. In fact, Ford sold about 419,000 Mustangs by the end of its first year. 

Fast forward a few years, and the pony car became larger and more powerful. Moreover, some of the most beloved Mustangs of all time came out of the first generation, like the Shelby GT 350 or the GT 390 from the cult film Bullitt.  

Why was Mustang 2 controversial?

The Ford Mustang 2, or Mustang II, ran from 1974 to 1978. However, it is a controversial chapter in the pony car saga due to its styling, short wheelbase, and anemic engine options. 

A Mustang II shows off its King livery.
1978 Ford Mustang II King | Ford

Of course, the second-generation car arrived on the heels of the 1973 oil crisis. Consequently, many enthusiasts consider the “Malaise era” an extinction-level event for muscle cars, as it wiped out some of the many beloved V8-powered vehicles of the day, like the Pontiac GTO. Still, without the polarizing little pony car, the Mustang wouldn’t have the incredible tenure it has today. 

What does Fox Body Mustang mean?

Fox Body” refers to the third-generation Ford Mustang, which the Blue Oval produced on the Fox platform. In addition to being the longest-running generation (1979 to 1993), the third-gen pony car was an important evolutionary step, as it reintroduced horsepower to the namesake after the Malaise era second-gen ‘Stang. 

A white Fox Body shows off its convertible top.
A white Fox Body Convertible | Ford

What are the fourth-gen Mustangs called?

Fourth-generation Mustangs are called “SN95” models. The fourth-gen car ran from 1994 to 2004 on the Fox-4 platform. Like the first-gen car, the SN95 enjoyed a design refresh during its tenure, marking what fans refer to as the “New Edge” cars. 

An SN95 Mustang poses with a series of first-gen Mustangs.
A yellow SN95 poses with first-gen pony cars | Ford

What does S197 mean for a Mustang?

“S197” is the code for the fifth-generation Ford Mustang. The S197 ditched the New Edge styling for a retro aesthetic, calling back the angular lines of the first-generation Ford Mustang. The S197 also hosted some of the first asphalt-cracking supercharged Shelby cars fans know and love, like the 662-horsepower 2013 Shelby GT500

What years are from the S550 generation?

The sixth generation Ford Mustang, or S550, spans 2015 to 2023. It ditched the retro styling of the S197 for a modern grand tourer look. However, the update wasn’t just for looks; the S550 Mustang dropped the live rear axle for independent rear suspension. 

A red S550-generation pony car cruises back roads.
A red S550 | Ford

After 2018, Ford updated the sixth-gen ‘Stang again, adding power, an optional 10-speed automatic transmission, and special editions like the Bullitt and Mach 1. 

What is an S650 Mustang?

The S650 Mustang is the seventh generation of Ford’s beloved pony car. It will start sales in 2024. Check out our coverage of the new S650 Mustang below!


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