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The Mystery of the Ford Mustang

The Ford Mustang came out and 1964, almost instantly becoming an American household name. Almost everyone knows Mustang and what that name represents. The car came out in the midst of Ford desperately trying to take on Ferrari on the largest racing stage in the world, the 24 hours of Le Mans. The Ford GT40, the car that ford entered in Le Mans, was really the father of the Mustang - the race car for the streets. As people saw the Ford GT40 racing all over Europe, the Mustang became the way for Americans to get a taste of racing from their own driveway. Winning races wasn’t only about displaying your machine’s superiority - it was about marketing.

This marketing was the key to the mustang’s success. The car itself was never that much better than its competition, but sold because it was marketed so well. Based purely on statistics, when the Mustang came out it was about average in the sports cars field. But Ford was starting to win races. Winning directly correlated with car sales, because even if you couldn’t buy the race car, you could buy the same brand. In its first three years the Mustang sold over 1.2 Million cars, 610,000 in 1966 alone. There aren’t many other cars that have sold at that rate. But 1966 was a special year, the year that Ford Racing won Le Mans, beating out Ferrari, the king of Le Mans. The win was immediately shown in the show room as people flocked to get their own Ford racing cars.

Mustang has cemented itself at the top of American performance cars. The Mustang is even beating Europe in their own markets, outselling the most popular Porsche 911 and Audi TT. That could easily be explained by the much lower price of the Mustang, even with import costs. The Mustang has only been available in Europe since 2015, but it immediately became one of the top sellers. Over the Mustang’s life it has become one of the most widely used race cars from drag racing and drifting to even a few rally Mustangs out there. This ubiquitous car continues to give Ford a huge amount of exposure. The Mustang is truly an everyman’s car with different models and trims to appeal to everyone: from a pink convertible or a 4 cylinder commuter to a 600 horsepower road racer, there’s a Mustang for everyone.

Marketing for the Mustang has been more valuable than almost any new features or model reworks. The combination between the exposure from winning all these races and the great work from Lee Lacocca, at the time the vice president of Ford, and would later go on to save Chrysler and change the world of the automotive industry, but that’s a story for another time. has made consumers want the Mustang more than any of its competitors. When Shelby created a series of mustang editions specifically designed for racing, the Mustang  became even more appealing to consumers looking for a car that is designed for performance. Shelby proved what the Mustang could be and unleashed its potential. Now in the classic car market, Shelby Mustangs have shot up in value so much that people try to make perfect copies of them out of a regular mustang because of how valuable these cars are.

The best of the best still to this day doesn’t out sell the Mustang. This type of competition has pushed the performance market for cars further and father, making these cars better each year. The Mustang is the “faster horse” and has made the Ford Motor Company one of the best companies when it comes to car design. Many people name the Mustang to be the reason for the company relative success when the economy crashes or sales drop. Because Ford knows the Mustang will never go out of style, it has even started to design an all-electric Mustang so it stays relevant. The Mustang takes the combination of car design and marketing to create a car that has run the market for over 50 years and will continue to for as long as Ford is still operating.


Brooks, Glenn. “Why the Ford Mustang Is so Successful the World Over.” Automotive Industry Analysis | Just-Auto, 27 July 2017,

Bunkley, Nick. “Ford's Worldwide Mustang Is Paying Off.” Automotive News Europe, Automotive News Europe, 9 Sept. 2016,

Stock, Kyle. “Ford's Mustang Has a Problem: The New Mustang.”, Bloomberg, 4 Aug. 2017,

Baime, A. J. Go like Hell: Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans. Mariner Books, 2010.

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