The factory-built Ford Mustangs that will go on sale in New Zealand in 2015 will kick off the car’s 51st year of production.
Mustang turns 50 in April next year and already Ford is celebrating five decades of production with “Mustang Countdown”, an online video series spotlighting the legendary two-door.
The so-called US “pony car” – sports car-like coupes with long bonnets and short rears – has always been a left-hooker and never officially sold in New Zealand, although many have been imported privately. Right-hand-drive examples were converted after they left the factory.
Now factory-built right-hookers will be available. The world car market is split roughly 23 per cent right-hand drive, 77 per cent left-hand drive.
Ford executive vice-president Jim Farley this week confirmed right-hand-drive production for New Zealand and Australia.
“Performance car buyers will be able to get behind the wheel of the legendary Mustang in right-hand drive,” he told a company event in Sydney.
Since 1964, more than 9.2 million Mustangs have been built. The car established an entirely new class of American car, resulting in a worldwide following, these days including more than 5 million on Facebook.
• More than 22,000 Mustangs were sold on the first day and more than one million in the first two years.
• The car was named after the World War II fighter plane the P51 Mustang, although some historians say it came from a book on horses.
• Mustang appeared in the James Bond movie Goldfinger in 1964.
• The name could not be used in Germany because it was owned by industrial giant Krupp, which made Mustang trucks between 1951 and 1964. Ford refused to buy the name from Krupp for US$10,000, Until 1978, Mustangs sold in Germany were called the “T-5.”
• Ford divisional manager Lee Iacocca championed the Mustang project. Iacocca became Ford president in 1970.
• A Mustang 1 racing prototype guested at the 1962 United States GP, driven by Dan Gurney.
• A 1968 Mustang Fastback starred in the famous chase sequence in the film Bullitt, with Steve McQueen.
• The 1974 film Gone in 60 Seconds featured Elenora, a 1973 yellow Mustang Fastback.