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Ford’s Mustang turns 50

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It was 50 years ago that Ford Motor Co. debuted a new coupe model at the New York World’s Fair. While the reception it received from the public, according to accounts from the fair was ‘enthusiastic’, who could have known the impact that first Mustang would have on the car-buying public decades later.

In December, Ford unveiled the sixth generation Mustang as part of a global public relations plan to make the 2015 Mustang launch as impressive as it was more than 50 years ago.

With 9 million Mustangs sold across five decades, there are more than a few fans of the brand interested in an all-new Pony car hitting the pavement. The Mustang has been the heart and soul of Ford through good and bad times. The Mustang’s legacy has been a commitment to thrilling performance and an attraction to sleek, powerful exteriors that look as good as coupes — as they do going topless.

Looking at the new 2015 exterior styling, there is an immediate kinship apparent that draws fans to the 1969 model. The 2015 Mustang looks like nothing other than a Mustang — the elongated lines running down the hood tuck into the signature shark nose grille (featuring the original Mustang logo) while the short rear deck finishes the ‘Stang profile.

The sloping fast-back roofline is another signature styling cue that leaves no doubt you are gazing upon a Mustang, albeit a modern 21st-Century version.

That meshing of historical styling cues with modern performance and high-tech gadgetry has been the challenge for every Pony car that reemerges from the midst of time. The Dodge Challenger and Chevrolet Camaro have managed to stay in step with one another and the new Ford Mustang simply raises the bar a bit higher.

The new Mustang has three engine options: An updated version of the current 3.7-liter V6, which gets a projected 300 horsepower, and 5.0-liter V8, with 420 horsepower, as well as a new 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder that gets a projected 305 horsepower.

The 2015 model will feature Mustang’s first independent rear suspension. This will add an additional element of excitement to handling as all the wheels operate independently. Engines will be paired with six-speed manual or automatic transmissions.

According to Ford, they listened closely to Mustang feedback from consumers over the years and they have made some improvements they feel will widen the appeal of their 50-year-old Pony car. So much change, that they will take the new Mustang global.

Improvements such as increased seating comfort, more hip and shoulder room, as well as storage space in the trunk for two golf bags make this coupe a bit more functional without damaging the fun factor it establishes on the exterior.

The most obvious design cue for the new 2015 Mustang’s exterior is without a doubt the reintroduction of the fastback style. This is Mustang’s first full redesign since 2005 and the design crew at Ford said they were well aware of the legions of fans and countless Mustang fan clubs to satisfy.

Ford invented the Pony car segment in 1964 and it is considered their most valuable brand, one that resonates with deep emotional connections to consumers of all ages. A 21st-Century Mustang must include a bevvy of technical improvements and safety features, and this 2015 version does not disappoint. Mustang’s new options include a unique toggle-switch steering adjustment, stability control and blind-spot indicators.

Mustang goes on sale in the fall in North America, a convertible will also be available, and it will arrive later in Europe and Asia. Check out the new Mustang at the Chicago Auto Show February 8-17.

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