When Ford released the Mustang in 1964, no one could have foreseen—not in their wildest dreams—just how successful the model would become over the next half-century. The current generation of Mustang includes some of the most potent performers that the model has ever seen, though there were a few Shelby iterations along the way that inspired today's stellar design and performance standards.
The Mustang has definitely had its downswings over the years, though. The second-generation is universally reviled and there was even a misguided attempt to turn the Mustang into a front-wheel-drive commuter car, which thankfully never happened even if the experiment was later released as the Probe.
Even the most ardent Mustang fans have to turn a blind eye to some strange facts about their favorite car. Keep scrolling for 15 disturbing details about the Ford Mustang.
15 Manifest Destiny
The Ford Mustang logo is iconic in its own right. Chevy even essentially cooked up the Camaro moniker hoping to keep up with the Mustang's awesome name. But less awesome is the concept that the Mustang is running to the left in an homage to manifest destiny, a term used historically to justify American expansion across the continent using racial stereotypes as its basis.
14 The Pinto Engine
The second-generation Ford Mustang has gone down as one of the most disappointing revamps of any car in the history of the automotive industry. One reason it proved so abysmal was the use of a four-cylinder engine that was shared with the notorious Pinto. At least the Mustang didn't have the same explosive tendencies, though.
13 Fox Body Turbo
These days, it's hard to find a car on the market that doesn't have some kind of forced induction—by way of turbos and slightly rarer superchargers—or a hybrid electric system. But few Mustang fans realize that there was a turbocharged Fox Body 'Stang way back in the 1980s, though it was really just a weak attempt to bump up a four-banger.
12 Pushrod Until 1996
The V8 engine and the Ford Mustang go together like white on rice. It's almost sacrilegious to contemplate owning, much less building, a Mustang without V8 power. But one strange detail about the Mustang's V8 is its use of pushrods rather than double overhead cams, a relic of the past that endured until 1996.
11 1964.5 Model Year
Plenty of Mustang snobs go out and find themselves what they think is a "1964.5" model year car. But the truth of the matter is that, as much as owning an early-as-possible Mustang might sound appealing, every example sold in 1964 was a 1965 model year car. Plus, there's the fact that oftentimes, manufacturers need a bit of time to work out the kinks.
10 1965 Model Year
The Ford Mustang is one of the longest-tenured cars on the market, having been under constant production since 1964 (though those cars were really all 1965 model years). But the sad truth of such a long production run is that 1965 was the best year for Mustang sales of all, meaning the entire run has been one slow decline.
9 The 1966 Model Year
To reinforce the concept that the Ford Mustang's long-term production run has really been a slow decline from day one, the next disappointing fact is that 1966 was the second-best-selling year for the Mustang. Of course, there have been ups and downs since then, but it seems unlikely Ford will ever get back to the level of success it enjoyed in the first two years.
8 Iacocca Wanted To Sell To Women
The late Lee Iacocca was a business genius who rammed the Mustang into production almost through sheer force of will. Though he also spearheaded the doomed Pinto, he will forever go down in history connected to the Mustang. But as much as he might sound like a macho guy loving muscle cars, he actually thought the Mustang would be a best-seller among women.
7 Built To Beat The Corvair
Chevrolet's rivalry with Ford goes back to the earliest days of the auto industry, though most people today would probably think of the F-150 competing against the Silverado and the Mustang competing against the Camaro. But a strange fact many people don't realize is that the Mustang was actually intended to compete with Chevy's rear-engined Corvair.
6 The McLaren Mustang
McLaren is almost as famous a name in the automotive world as Mustang. So when the two names combined on a special-edition Fox Body Mustang, it must have been great, right? Well, it turns out this McLaren wasn't the famous McLaren and these McLaren Mustangs didn't have any kind of drivetrain modifications to make them worthy of Bruce McLaren's name.
5 Door Hinge Problems
Everyone knows that they have to change their engine oil to keep their car happy—even if they don't actually do it very often. After all, automobiles of every kind (even electric cars like Teslas) suffer from wear and tear. But Mustangs, especially from the early years, have a special kind of fun tendency to suffer from sagging and deteriorating door hinges.
4 Rust For Life
With over 300 million Mustangs built in the past 55 years, there are enough used examples out there for anyone who wants one to find their perfect baby. But care must be used when trying to find a classic Mustang—their rust issues are just as bad, if not worse, than any early steel car on the used market.
3 A Mule Into A Racehorse
Carroll Shelby is one of the most legendary names in the automotive industry, and for good reason. More than 50 years after his Cobra and GT40 projects took the world by storm, Shelby's name is still affixed to today's high-end performance Mustangs. But the chicken farmer from Texas wasn't always a Mustang fan, having famously compared his early Mustang undertakings to "turning a mule into a racehorse."
2 Mustang Number 1 Sold To A Canadian
It would seem like a car as important as the Mustang has been for Ford would have had some huge fanfare upon its release—and indeed, there was plenty of hoopla around the Mustang in 1964. But the very first Mustang off the line was actually sold to a man from Canada, something Ford had to work very hard to undo in order to get the car back for their museum.
1 You're Not Special
Anyone who grows up loving every generation of the Ford Mustang is in a good place these days. The current iteration is arguably the best ever—from a performance standpoint, there's no doubt. But with over 300 million units sold and counting, don't expect to feel special when driving in a Ford Mustang.
Sources: Autoblog, Hot Rod Network, and Wikipedia.