Fifty years ago, Henry Ford II unveiled the first Ford Mustang at the World's Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York.
Fairgoers saw the sleek and practical design of a four-passenger sports car. Its long hood, short rear deck, room for four and $2,300 price tag made it one of the best-selling cars of its time, as reported by NBC News. A total of 73,112 Mustang convertibles and 409,260 coupes flew off the showroom floor within the first year.
The Mustang's popularity began making news across the country. Reuters reports that a Texas dealer had 15 buyers for the only Mustang he had in stock, so he sold the car to the highest bidder, who slept in the Ford showroom to make sure no one else got it.
There are also reports that a cement truck driver lost control of his vehicle in Seattle after gawking at a Mustang in a Ford dealership.
Ford said the Mustang was conceived as "the working man's Thunderbird," according to The History Channel. Yet the car could also be seen being driven alongside renowned British super spy James Bond in 1964's 'Goldfinger'.
It became even more famous when the Mustang was disassembled into four sections and reassembled at the top of the Empire State Building in a 1965 publicity stunt, as reported by NBC News. Ford reenacted the same stunt on Wednesday, April 16, for the Mustang's 50th anniversary with a 2015 Ford Mustang, as reported by CBS News. However, the car had to be cut into even smaller pieces to fit within the building's 36-inch wide elevators, according to Mashable.
Reuter's Paul Ingrassia writes that the first Mustang's 50th anniversary brings back memories of a time when a car could muster as much excitement in America as the latest Apple product.
"It was really in many ways the first American sports car, and it came onto the scene just as music was changing, filmmaking was changing," Ford Motor Company CEO Bill Ford Jr. said in an interview with CBS News. "I really think its timing was important cementing Mustang as a legend."
"It's sort of the ultimate American sports car."
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