On this day in auto history – April 19th

Mon 19th Apr 2021

It was on this day in 1964 that the new Ford Mustang was famously advertised on all three of America’s TV networks, resulting in the most successful product launch in motoring history.

Playing primarily on the Mustang’s striking sports-styling and affordability, the ground-breaking advertising campaign was aimed at the young and created a cultural shockwave in America which led to record sales.

The vehicle sold over 22,000 thousand units on its first day before smashing the one million sales barrier inside 18 months as well as featuring in numerous Hollywood blockbusters and inspiring the enduring R&B classic ‘Mustang Sally’.

The Mustang helped create the ‘Pony car’ craze, a term used to describe the new breed of sporty ‘compacts’ which hit the market in the immediate aftermath, including the Plymouth Barracuda, the Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird.

Sales in the Mustang remained strong into the early 1970’s but the 1973 oil crisis left the bulky pony cars out of step with a new marketplace which craved smaller, compact cars. However - unlike its competitors - the Mustang was able to successfully reinvent itself after a downsized 1974 facelift.

Other higher-powered generations of the Mustang have helped the vehicle sell around 10 million units in total and a UK-spec version of the iconic marque was belatedly introduced to Britain in 2016.