Ford Mustang Generations

1966 Shelby GT350H Mustang
The 1966 Shelby GT350H, based on the 1966 GT350, featured a Cobra 289 High Performance V8 engine outputting 306 hp and 329 lb-ft of torque. Photo Courtesy of Hemmings Motor News

The Ford Mustang—a classic American car known for its long hood and sleek silhouette—has been through a number of redesigns since it was first produced in 1964. In total, there are six generations of the vehicle, each one a substantial reimagining of what the car could be.

First Generation (1964-1973)

The Ford Motor Company debuted the Mustang on April 17, 1964, at the New York World's Fair. Production of the first generation ran through 1973. The first generation includes the original model along with varieties such as the classic Shelby Mustang lineup, Boss Mustangs, K-Code Mustangs, and the “Bullitt” Mustang GT-390 Fastback. The original Mustang inspired an entire class of compact, sporty vehicles known as "pony cars." Mustang competitors included the Plymouth Barracuda and the Chevrolet Camaro.

Second Generation (1974-1978)

The second generation of Mustang is often called the “Pintostang” generation because the cars were based on the Ford Pinto platform. Smaller and more fuel efficient than their predecessors (they were introduced a few months before the beginning of the 1973 oil crisis), this generation featured the likes of the Mustang II, the Mustang Cobra II, and the King Cobra Mustang. This was also the first generation of Mustangs to feature a four-cylinder engine.

Third Generation (1979-1993)

This generation of Mustang lasted longer than other iteration of the car. Nicknamed the "Fox Body” Mustang, this car was based on the Fox platform used in the Ford Fairmont and the Mercury Zephyr. The car was light, European in design, and loaded with a powerful 5.0-liter V-8 engine. A high-performance model known as the Ford SVT Mustang Cobra was introduced in 1993.

Fourth Generation (1994-2004)

In 1994, to commemorate the Mustang's 30th anniversary, Ford introduced the SN-95 Mustang. It was based on the SN-95/Fox4 platform. The fourth generation Mustang was larger than the previous generation and was engineered to be stiffer in design. In 1996, the popular 5.0-liter engine was replaced with a 4.6-liter modular V-8 engine. This generation spawned the “New Edge” line of Mustangs in 1999. Although the cars looked different from other Mustangs, they were still based on the SN-95 platform.

Fifth Generation (2005-2014)

In 2005, Ford introduced a new Mustang, based on the D2C platform, that harkened back to the styling cues that adorned the first generation of Mustangs. The new Mustang was longer than the previous generation and featured modern amenities such as GPS navigation, heated leather seats, and satellite radio. This generation also saw the return of the Shelby Mustang when Carroll Shelby brought back the GT500 Mustang and the GT500KR. In 2009, Ford introduced a more powerful 2010 Ford Mustang. Although the car had numerous changes inside and out, it was still based on the D2C platform. In 2011, Ford brought the 5.0-liter engine back in the GT model and produced a 3.7-liter Duratec 24-valve V-6 powered Mustang.

Sixth Generation (2015-Present)

On December 5, 2013, Ford officially revealed the 2015 Ford Mustang. The car, which features a completely revamped design, was inspired by 50 years of Ford Mustang heritage. The new Mustang features an independent rear suspension, push start technology, and a turbocharged 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine option.