The 10 Best Mustangs of All Time

Over the years, many Mustangs have come and gone. A few of them, however, remain in the hearts and minds (and possibly driveways) of Mustang enthusiasts around the world. These are the icons, the movers and shakers, the Mustangs that moved the world.

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The Boss 302 Mustang

1969 Boss 302
1969 Boss 302. Photo Courtesy of Ford Motor Company & David Newhardt/ Mustang - Forty Years

When it comes to automotive icons, 1969 and 1970 Boss 302 Mustangs rank high on the list. The car, which was designed by Larry Shinoda, a former GM employee, featured a 302 cubic inch V8 engine, a blackout hood, front spoiler, and rear deck wing.

The 1970 model featured the ever so popular “hockey stick” stripes, and a Hurst shifter. The car was so popular Ford brought it back for the 2012-2013 model years.

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The Boss 429

mustang boss 429
Car Culture, Inc./Getty Images

As with the Boss 302 Mustang, the Boss 429 was a legend in its own time. The car, which is considered to be one of the rarest classic Muscle cars out there, was produced from 1969-1970. In all, only 859 originals Boss 429 Mustangs were ever created.

Ford created 499 Boss 429 Mustangs for the 1970 model year. The Boss 429 was easily identifiable with its large factory hood scoop covering up its 429 cubic inch 7.0L Semi-Hemi V8 Boss 429 engine.

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Shelby GT350

Shelby GT350 Mustang
Shelby GT350 Mustang. Photo Courtesy of Barrett-Jackson

Carroll Shelby’s first performance Mustang was the 1965 Shelby GT350. No doubt, the car is one of the most identifiable performance Mustangs of all time.

The original 1965 year cars all featured Wimbledon White exteriors with Guardsman Blue rocker stripes. They were powered by a K-Code 289 cubic inch 4.7L engine producing an estimated 271 horsepower.

Original Shelby GT350 production continued until 1968. Shelby American brought the GT350 Mustang back in 2011. 

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1966 Shelby GT350H “Rent-A-Racer”

1966 Shelby GT350H
Sicnag/ Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

Who would have thought that Hertz Rent-A-Car would rent out Shelby GT350 Mustangs? Well, they did, back in 1966, and yes, it was pretty cool. For around $17 a day, and 17 cents a mile, you could get behind the wheel of a 306 horsepower Shelby Mustang.

As you can imagine, these cars, which were later sold off by Hertz, are now highly sought after by collectors. Hertz returned to renting Shelby Mustangs with their 2006 Shelby GT-H Mustang.

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Mach 1 Mustang

1969 Mach 1 390 S Code
1969 Mach 1 390 S Code. Photo Courtesy of Barrett-Jackson

Ford’s Mach 1 Mustang, designed for all-out performance, first appeared back in August 1968 as a 1969 model year package. Numerous engine options were available, including the ever popular 428 cubic inch 7.0L Super Cobra Jet. Production of the package continued through 1978.

The 1971 model featured a fresh look, including a two-tone paint scheme, and a NACA (NASA) hood with dual scoops. The Mach 1 package returned to the Ford lineup in 2003 and 2004.

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Shelby GT500

Shelby GT500
Car Culture/Getty Images

In keeping with the tradition of Shelby Performance, the Shelby GT500 Mustang is one iconic ride. First appearing in 1967, the original GT500 featured a 428 cubic inch V8 engine.

In addition, the car sported fiberglass body pieces, high-beam lamps in the center of the grille, and twin “Le Mans” stripes. The car returned to the Shelby lineup in 2007.

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1968 Shelby GT500 KR

1968 Shelby GT500 KR Mustang
1968 Shelby GT500 KR Mustang. Photo Courtesy of Legendary Motorcar Company

Shelby’s “King of the Road” Mustang was one serious piece of automotive machinery. With its 428 Cobra Jet engine option, featuring Ram Air Induction, it was one powerful pony.

In addition to power, the car featured a traction-lock 3.50 rear end as standard equipment, and was available in coupe or convertible versions.

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1968 GT390 Mustang
The 1968 Mustang Fastback GT 390 that co-starred with Steve McQueen in the movie Bullitt appeared in one of greatest movie chase scenes ever. Photo Courtesy of Barrett-Jackson

Ford's Mustang has been in many movies. The 1968 Warner Bros. film “Bullitt” featured a 1968 GT 390 Ford Mustang chasing a 1968 Dodge Charger R/T down the streets of San Francisco in, what many believe to be, the best car chase scene of all time.

The car, which sported a Highland Green exterior, was void of any Ford badging or emblems. Ford created a special-edition Bullitt Mustang for the 2001 model year. It was so popular the company brought it back for the 2008 and 2009 model years.

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1964 ½ Ford Mustang

1964 1/2 Mustang on Display
A 1964 1/2 Mustang on display at the World's Fair in 1964. Photo Courtesy of Ford Motor Company

There’s something special about the firsts. First loves, first glances, first model years. The 1964 ½ Ford Mustang is no exception.

The car, which first debuted on April 17, 1964, is still going strong some 50 years later. “1964 ½ Mustangs”, as they’re coined, were produced between March 9th and July 31st of 1964. These cars feature unique characteristics that set them apart from those produced after July 31st, 1964.

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2000 Cobra R Mustang

2000 Cobra R Mustang
Only 300 of the Mustangs were produced, each featuring an MSRP of $54,995. Photo Courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Back in 2000, Ford’s Special Vehicle Engineering Manager, John Coletti, had a dream. The end result was The 2000 Cobra R Mustang, a naturally aspirated 5.4L V8 powered Mustang capable of producing 385 horsepower and 385 lbs·ft. of torque.

It had a top speed of 175.3 mph and could do the quarter mile in 12.9 seconds. No doubt, it was one fast ride. In all, only 300 were produced.