The date was April 17, 1964. Intermediate sized muscle cars, with big block engines were gradually replacing the full sized muscle car. Lee Iacocca, Ford’s General Manager, had always envisioned a small sports car to be the next hot item in the street wars. Ford decided that instead of improving their lackluster intermediate, they would do the competition one better and introduce a whole new breed of automobile, the pony car.
Originally designed as a two seater in the European tradition, Iacocca realized that true success depended on volume sales. Therefore the Ford Mustang was introduced as a 1965 model that was based on the compact Falcon to lower production costs. It came with an obligatory back seat and a multitude of options that would give the buyer an opportunity to customize their purchase, and generate extra profits for Ford.
Plymouth faithful stress that their Baracuda beat the Ford Mustang to market by two weeks. But it was the Mustang, which racked up over 22,000 sales its first day and one million sales in its first two years, that turned the market and people’s attention to the pony car. The pony car class that the Ford Mustang helped create is the only class of muscle car that still exists today.