Ford marked production of the 10 millionth Mustang last week, a mega-threshold only about 25 nameplates have ever crossed. The company invited owners of models from all 54 years of Mustang output to its Dearborn, Mich., headquarters and then to the Flat Rock plant, where the car has been built since the fifth generation debuted in 2004.
Everyone was in a celebratory mood.
"Mustang is the heart and soul of this company," said Jim Farley, Ford's president of global markets.
The 10 millionth to come off the line was a lot like the first: a Wimbledon white convertible GT. The 2019 model comes with a 5.0-liter V-8 making 460 hp while the original, with its three-speed manual, put down 164 horses.
When that first Mustang debuted in April 1964, expectations were moderate to good. But not great.
"The financial guys said, 'We'll give you $75 million to do the car,' " Lee Iacocca, head of Ford Division in the mid-1960s, once told us. "But we already had all the powertrains [from the Falcon]. And you know, the Mustang was bare-bones stuff. They based the financial planning money on 75,000 units a year. ... We sold 500,000 the first year. They couldn't count the money fast enough."
Actually, Ford sold nearly 525,000 Mustangs in its first full year. It took 22,000 orders the very first day, well on its way to last week's milestone.