Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration – Charlotte Motor Speedway
Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or under your car) for the past few months, you know that Ford Mustang celebrated its 50th birthday on April 17, 2014. The Mustang Club of America, together with the Ford Motor Company, threw two big concurrent “birthday parties” for the iconic Pony Car, one in Las Vegas and one at Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina. MotoIQ and the grey Project Mustang 5.0 made a pilgrimage to Charlotte to partake in the festivities.
A Brief History of Mustang
First introduced on April 17, 1964 at the New York World’s Fair, Mustang was one of Ford’s most successful cars of all time, selling over one million vehicles in its first eighteen months of production. Its popularity created an entire class of vehicles—called “Pony Cars”—that included its bitter rival, the Chevy Camaro, and other cars including the Pontiac Firebird, the Plymouth Barracuda, and the AMC Javelin. It even influenced the first designs of several iconic Japanese cars, such as the Toyota Celica. Mustang has been in uninterrupted production ever since 1964—one of the longest-running automobile nameplates of all time—and has to date sold a combined total of over nine million Mustangs.
The original Ford Mustang was designed to be an affordable, practical, and customizable sports car that could be used as both a comfortable daily driver and a fun car to take on spirited drives on the weekends—or to the local race track. Even five decades later, the Ford Mustang is still the benchmark for affordable performance mixed with practicality. It is also a car strongly associated around the world with the United States: Mustang is about as “American” as a car can get.
Opening Ceremonies and the Reveal of the 50th Anniversary S550 Mustang
The Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration in Charlotte was kicked off on April 17, 2014 (the actual 50th birthday of Mustang) with a recorded presentation by Lee Iacocca on the story of the dream and design of Mustang. Following some words from the Mustang Club of America leadership and a few FoMoCo executives, the official 50th Anniversary Edition Mustang was revealed.
Climbing out of the passenger side of the vehicle, Bill Ford, Jr. talked about some of its features (mainly aesthetics) and said that production of the 50th Anniversary model would be limited to only 1,964 vehicles, in honor of Mustang’s first year of production. He closed by imploring those who were lucky enough to get one of those limited production vehicles to actually drive them as they were intended to be, instead of letting them languish in a garage.
During a press conference afterwards, it was revealed that at least some option levels of the new Mustang would be equipped with line lock from the factory, the better for smoky burnouts to warm the rear tires before a drag launch!
Later in the day, a special presentation was given in the media center of a selection of television commercials from Mustang’s first three years of production.