Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Happy Birthday

I am a Volkswagen man. When I was a little kid I told my parents my first car would be a Bug. My teenage finances didn't allow for that to happen, but my love for the cars was still there. Since Ell and I have been married we've owned nine Volkswagens, three currently. Everyone that knows me knows I only drive Volkwagens. We camp at the Volkswagen show in Columbiana every year. I could go on and on. But despite all those things, my favorite car of all time is the Ford Mustang. Not a huge fan of Fords, just the Mustang. And today is its birthday.

The Ford Mustang made its debut on April 17, 1964. Every dealership that had them on the lot sold out almost immediately, and they took orders for hundreds more. It still holds the record for the highest number of opening day sales for any debut vehicle in the United States. The reasons for its success were many. It was a sporty car that still had a back seat. It had what Ford called an "Arm-length list of options." And it was really cheap. Ford wanted it to cost less than a dollar a pound. The original car weighed about 2600 pounds and the base price was under $2300. It also boasted many engine options including a 289 cubic inch V-8 that moved the car down the road faster than anyone expected.

The car single-handedly created a classification of vehicles called Pony Cars (two door, 4 passenger, rear wheel drive, V-8 engine, long hood, short deck) that still carries that name today. Chevrolet created the Camaro and Dodge created the Barracuda with the sole purpose of competing with the Mustang. They never realized Ford's sales numbers though. In fact, few cars in history have sold as well as the Mustang. In 1966, Ford sold over 665,000 Mustangs. That is an astounding number when you remember sales leaders in the past few years (Toyota Camry, Ford Taurus) sales figures were also in the 600-700k range. And the Mustang did it 40 years ago!

In 1994 I traveled with my friend Joe and his Dad to Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina to attend the Mustang 30th Anniversary Celebration. Thousands of Mustangs from all years all in one place. There were cars from all over the world, special seminars with racing legends, concept cars, famous Mustangs from movies, President Clinton was there with his '66 convertible, and there was an open track forum for those with the money to pay and the balls to see how fast their cars would go. I must have taken 10 rolls of pictures. It was an amazing time I'll remember for the rest of my life.

I could go on all day with stories of the Mustang and things I've done and places I've gone. But I'll quit for now and just say... Happy Birthday Mustang. May you last another 43 years!


Blogger kimw said...

I love VWs, too!

10:58 AM  
Blogger Kimmy said...

I've always loved Volkswagens too, but have yet to own one. I've always vowed that someday, I will be the proud owner of a Bug. I'm hoping it'll be my next car;-)

11:17 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

It's crazy how much you know about that car! You forgot to mention the fact that when you were growing up, the room in your parents house was covered from floor to ceiling in mustang pictures and facts. That is one crazy fanatic!

12:24 PM  
Blogger dynamiteterri said...

Tom drove a 1972 superbeetle convertable. I remember back in 79 when we started dating, I would get so excited to hear his car coming down the hill. It sounded as if it were running on a rubber band. It heater would not shut off in the summer, and would not come on in the winter. We had many times where I was in the drivers seat and Tom would be outside pushing so we could jump start it. Wow those were good memories and great times.

4:38 PM  
Blogger Sweet Peripety said...

Rich owned a VW bus for awhile. He sold it right when we started to date, so I never got to ride it!!!

4:40 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

On the Mustang chat...my Uncle Howard has a 1965 white Mustang with red racing stripes that he worked on for YEARS! I mean YEARS! For the longest time it was in his garage "being worked on" as I was little. Finally, by the time I was a jr. in High School he had it done and he promised to pick me up at school in. Sure enough, one day I came out to find him standing there with his arms crossed leaning up against the beautiful car. Of course it was an awesome feeling watching the kids faces as I walked over and climbed in. I only wish I'd remembered his offer when we got married. He'd offered to drive us around after our wedding in it and I completely forgot. How could you forget such a thing?! My brother got us a limo for our wedding and honestly...just between you and I (and all of the interent!) I would have rather had the Mustang!!

4:49 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

wonderful buddy, my wife and i just obtained a Passat! we love it.

11:16 AM  

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