Ford is set to celebrate the 45th Anniversary of the Mustang at the Barber Motorsports Park from April 17-20, coinciding with the second event of the 2009 Mustang Challenge racing series on the 19th and 20th. The occasion of an anniversary is a call to look back at history, so Ford has provided a series of facts about the Mustang. Today, here's a quick rundown of the Mustang's first decade, 1964-1974:
MUSTANG FACTS: 1964 - 1974
• The Ford Mustang first debuted on April 17, 1964. Starting price? An ultra-low $2,368.
• The Mustang was incredibly popular and lots of people wanted on. At a dealership in Garland, Texas, bidding was so fierce for one of the cars that a man insisted on sleeping in a Mustang until his deposit check cleared to make sure it wasn’t sold to someone else.
• Original sales estimates were 100,000 cars per year. There were 22,000 orders on the first day, and the first year tallied up 417,000 sales.
• A little over a month after the car’s introduction, the Ford Mustang was in the Indianapolis 500 as the 1964 pace car.
• The early Ford Mustangs got a lot of exposure in movies. One was the James Bond film Goldfinger, where Sean Connery in an Aston Martin DB5 chased down a white Mustang convertible.
• Mustang fever wasn’t just for adults. For Christmas of 1964, there were over 93,000 sales of a pedal-powered children’s Mustang.
• 1965 saw the introduction of the Shelby GT350 Mustang, powered by a V8 engine that produced 306 horsepower.
• In March of 1966, Ford sold its one millionth Mustang.
• The 289 cubic inch “Hi-Po” engine hit the markets, and Mustang sales continued to soar. Carroll Shelby also took his Shelby GT350 design and adapted it for SCCA Racing, winning three straight championships.
• In 1968, the 428 Cobra Jet engine hit the markets in a special option package. The Shelby GT500 became known as King of the Road (KR)
• In 1969, the Mustang lineup was expanded to include 11 powertrain options. New models included the Boss 302, the Boss 429, the Mach 1, and the Grande Luxury.
• The “Shaker” hood scoop was introduced as a by-order part for any V8 Mustang with a displacement of 351 cubic inches or larger.
• In 1971, the Mustang grew a foot longer and gained 600 pounds over the original models. The Boss 351 was also introduced, and the mach 1 was offered with a 370-horsepower 429 Super Cobra Jet engine.
• 1973 was when the original Mustang configuration ran into problems. Stricter emissions standards and a fuel shortage that hiked gas prices meant that the large, fuel-guzzling engines of the original models would need to be overhauled.