The 1964 Ford Mustang

A 1960s Classic Car Icon

1964 1/2 Ford Mustang
Contrary to popular belief, the first model year for the Ford Mustang was 1965. Photo Courtesy of Classic Cars for Sale

The first Ford Mustang rolled off the assembly line on March 9, 1964, and a little over a month later, on April 17, it was introduced to the public at the New York World’s Fair at Flushing Meadows Park in Queens, New York. Before the day was over, Ford had secured 22,000 orders for the vehicle at dealerships across the country. As such, the 1964 Mustang was considered an instant hit with consumers.

Original Production vs. Second Run

Because the Mustang was introduced in 1964 but advertised as an early 1965 model, it is often referred to as the 1964 1/2 Mustang. Initial production of the second round of Mustangs began on August 17, 1964. Production included 92,705 standard coupes that retailed for $2,320 apiece and 28,883 standard convertibles that retailed for $2,557 each. Both the original production Mustangs and the second-run vehicles are technically considered 1965 Mustangs by Ford. That’s not to say there aren’t differences between the two. The first Mustangs produced feature unique characteristics that set them apart from those produced after July 31, 1964.

For instance, the 1964 ½ Mustang featured a generator charging system for the battery as well as a generator charge light. It also featured either a U-Code, F-Code, or D-Code engine. Additional highlights included a horizontal speedometer layout (also found on 1965 models), similar to the one on the Ford Falcon—the Mustang was, after all, based on the Ford Falcon— a brake-light pressure switch on the master cylinder, as well as large horns mounted on the frame behind the radiator.

Additional Signature Features

Another difference between the 1964 and 1965 models can be found on the front hood. The 1965 models, produced after July 31, 1964, featured a rolled front edge. That differed from the 1964 ½ model, which featured angled edges that are not folded.

The 1964 1/2 Mustangs had full wheel covers, a chrome grille with vertical bars, and the famous running horse emblem. They also featured carpeting throughout. Front bucket seats were standard, with a front bench seat optional. Buyers also had the option of three-speed transmission, four-speed transmission, or an automatic transmission.

Engine Offerings

Here are details on the engine of the 1964 1/2 Ford Mustang:

  • Engine Code U: 170 cubic inch V-6 engine @ 101hp
  • Engine Code F: 260 cubic inch V-8 engine @ 164hp
  • Engine Code D: 289 cubic inch V-8 engine @ 210hp

Vehicle Identification Number Decoder

If you want to decode the VIN on a 1964 1/2 Ford Mustang, here's how to do it, using VIN #5F07F100001 as an example:

  • 5=Last digit of Model Year (1965)
  • F=Assembly Plant (F-Dearborn, R-San Jose, T-Metuchen)
  • 08=Body Code (07-coupe, 08-convertible)
  • F=Engine Code
  • 100001=Consecutive unit number

Exterior Colors Available

The 1964 1/2 Mustang came in a variety of colors, which included: Cascade Green, Caspian Blue, Chantilly Beige, Dynasty Green, Guardsman Blue, Pagoda Green, Phoenician Yellow, Poppy Red, Prairie Bronze, Rangoon Red, Raven Black, Silversmoke Gray, Skylight Blue, Sunlight Yellow, Twilight Turquoise, Vintage Burgundy, Wimbledon White, and Pace Car White.

Given all these options, original 1964 1/2 Ford Mustangs remain highly sought after by collectors. While technically not a true Ford model year, these cars are unique in their own right.