1965 Ford Mustang 2+2 Fastback
Two occasions made 1964 a very significant year for North American baby boomers. First was the arrival of the “British Invasion”. The Beatles made their Ed Sullivan appearance in New York. And just as important to many, the Ford Mustang made its first public appearance at the New York World’s Fair on April 17, 1964. Its long hood and short deck created an instant sensation and spawned a stream of imitators that continue today. On its first day of sales Ford sold over 22,000 Mustangs. Not bad! It also became the pace car for the 1964 Indianapolis 500 race. Pretty good start to life!
These “early ‘65s” were offered as a notch back hardtop or convertible, with the 2+2 fastback arriving a little later. Standard equipment on the initial launch included adjustable bucket seats, front seat belts, floor mounted gearshift, AM radio, padded dash and a glove box light. Unlike the Model T, the Mustang came with a variety of colour options. Three different body styles, and a host of interior and drivetrain options allowed for a fully customizable vehicle, with the 1965 2 + 2 fastback initiating the storied Mustang Shelby series, starting with the Shelby GT350.
Ford Vice President & General Manager Lee Iacocca had a vision of a light, compact, bucket seated 4-seater under $2500. The original inspiration for the Mustang nameplate was derived from the P-51 Mustang fighter jet, though today all brand imagery is of the equine genre. Iacocca’s concept was on the money, so to speak. As a predictor of the future of the “Pony Car” revolution, the V8 offerings outsold the sixes being offered 3 to 1, a little scary considering the performance of the standard drum brakes on offer…
Though most people seem to equate Mustang’s movie stardom to the incredible performance of the 1968 GT 390 in the movie “Bullitt” starring Steve McQueen, its first starring roll was in the 1964 James Bond movie “Goldfinger”, with Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 being chased by a white Mustang convertible.
My first exposure to the Mustang was the 1965 hardtop. Friends of my parents caught the bug and bought one. Interestingly, they lived in Italy at the time and shipped it to Rome, an unusual sight on the Roman streets. For whatever reason, these cars remind me of a sunny optimistic time that was great to experience.
For some reason, I always see the Mustang Fastback as red. That shows up in my illustration, as well as the symbolic “Pony Car” horse symbolism. Couldn’t resist…
Prints of this painting are available at www.thedrawingroomgallery.com.