Watch CBS News

This day in history: First Ford Mustang rolls off assembly line in 1964

(CBS DETROIT) - On March 9, 1964, the Ford Mustang rolled off the assembly line for the first time.

Promotional Shot Of Red 1964 Ford Mustang Convertible
Promotional shot of a red 1964 Ford Mustang convertible parked in a forest clearing with a couple sitting by a pinetree, 1964. This first series of the popular pony car is generally referred to as '1964 1/2 Mustangs,' because they were not rolled out in October of 1963 with the rest of the new 1964 Ford cars. / Getty Images

Lee Iacocca, the vice president and general manager of Ford Division, had the idea for the Mustang in 1961.

His idea was for a four-seater vehicle with bucket seats, a floor-mounted shifter, that would weigh less than 2,500 pounds and be sold for less than $2,500, according to Mustang Specs, a Mustang research website. 

After many meetings, funding was approved in September 1962, and 18 months later, the first Mustang came off the assembly line in March 1964.

The Mustang's components were "borrowed" from the Falcon so that the company could keep production costs low, according to Mustang Specs.

"With a multitude of different interior, exterior, and drivetrain options, the Mustang would be able to be ordered as plain, or as fancy, as economical, or as fast, as the buyer wanted," according to Mustang Specs. "In general, the Mustang was designed for everyone and was advertised as "the car to be designed by you." The Mustang was heavily advertised during the latter part of its development."

On April 16, 1964, Ford simultaneously ran commercials on all three of the major television networks, and the next day, on April 17, the vehicle was released. 

On its first day, 22,000 Mustangs were sold, and by the end of 1964, Ford sold 263,434 Mustangs. 

By the first anniversary of its release, 418,812 Mustangs had been sold. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.