How many ponies are under your hood is a favorite conversation topic of Mustang aficionados. There are a lot of muscle cars out there, but this is the original Pony Car that has been constantly evolving, changing, and developing for nearly fifty years. The very first “1964 ½ Mustang,” which came out six months before the official 1965 cars could be released, had 101 horsepower. The 2013 Shelby GT500 gets over 600 horsepower. That’s a lot of extra pony power and impressive Mustang parts in the mix.
Second gen Mustangs, beginning in 1967, had competition not only from Corvettes but from Chevrolet, too. A variety of horsepower options were available with Ford Mustang parts including a new 6.4 liter 315 horsepower monster. A year later in 1968, the most popular options for buyers were the 220 and 230 horsepower models but there was also room for an amped up 335 and 390 horsepower option. These two powerful options were rare and served as a preview for what’s ahead.
The “Cobra Jet,” released in 1969, offered a 335 horsepower option of a “Super Cobra Jet” that dished up a devilish 360 horsepower. The Boss 429 was built for racing and boasted 375 horsepower. This Boss has become a hot collector since only 429 were built during the inaugural 1969 year. The decade of disco is not a favorite for many Mustang enthusiasts since the 429 was replaced with the 351 which “only” had 330 horsepower.
The Golden Years
The popularity of the car ebbed and flowed throughout the 70’s and 80’s with some quantifiable successes and other turnouts that are best left forgotten. However, any vehicle that has been successful for twenty years has a great shot at a comeback. By the time 1996 rolled around, gone were the days of sub-par horsepower and the Pony was back on the tracks. Cobra R and SVT models featured over 300 horsepower for the first time since the early 70’s.
The initiation into the “aughts” included the 2000 Cobra R with an astounding 385 horsepower, which quickly sold out. That wasn’t quite enough and by 2003 it was up to 390 horsepower. It’s now been over a decade since Mustang came back at (literally) full speed and it’s only looking up from here.
The Next Generation
The 2013 Shelby GT500 was impressive when it boasted just over 600 horsepower. One of the most powerful machines in existence, it sated the appetite of even the most hard-core Pony enthusiast. Power, speed, beauty, and a strong peppering of all-American flavor has long been a staple of Mustangs. What a difference reaching the golden years can make, and who knows what’s in store by the 2020 mark.