Ford Mustang Turns 45 With a Giant Birthday Bash

By Editors on April 24, 2009 11:37 AM

Today marks the official 45th anniversary of Ford's original "pony car" and kicks off the start of a four-day celebration that's expected to draw over 2,000 Mustangs and their owners plus several hundred thousand fans to Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. Among the many in attendance with thoroughbred credentials will be no less than nine original owners of the original 1964 1/2 models. The timing couldn't be much better for Ford, which has just launched the new, heavily redesigned and massively improved 2010 version of this automotive legend to overwhelming accolades from its legion of devoted fans -- and grudging respect even from those whose badge loyalties favor Bow Ties over Blue Ovals.

Named after the famed World War II fighter, the original Mustang was an instant market success. By 1966, it had already sold a million units and seen the rise of the GT350, the first of many V-8 performance models to benefit from the high-output magic of another automotive legend, Carroll Shelby. Through the years, the Mustang has undergone numerous reincarnations, adding names like Boss 302, 429 Super Cobra Jet, Mach 1, SVO and Bullitt GT to its lexicon en route to racking up its nine-millionth unit sale back in 2008. This latest Mustang is set to resurrect another of those fabled tags when the 2010 version of the Shelby GT500 makes its rousing 540-horsepower return next month.

Perhaps the coolest part of the 45th Anniversary festivities is a corollary promotional campaign called "10 Unleashed", which will give 10 lucky Mustang enthusiasts a chance to literally turn their Mustang dreams into reality. From now until August 15, Ford is inviting interested parties to submit their Mustang fantasies -- in 250 words or less -- to "The Unleashed" website: These submissions will be judged on "creativity, uniqueness and execution of idea," and every few weeks a winner will be selected until 10 individuals have been given the opportunity to indulge their secret desires behind the wheel of a 2010 Mustang.