With the 2014 Ford Mustang marking the 50th anniversary of the country's favorite pony car, many Mustang-minded readers probably know that the vehicle's official birthday falls on April 17. But here's a surprise: That is indeed the date on which Mustang No. 100001 was sold, jump-starting the creation of an American icon, yet that sale actually came at a Ford dealership located in Canada—George Parsons Ford, in St. Johns, Newfoundland, to be exact.
The story behind the story is among the many interesting factoids found in "Mustang Fifty Years," written by Donald Farr and kindly sent to me for review by the folks at Motorbooks (www.Motorbooks.com).
Much like the 2014 Ford Mustang itself, the book has the official Blue Oval seal of approval, along with a foreward by Edsel B. Ford II, but it's not straight-up hot-rod hagiography. For example, as regards the naming process behind the vehicle, Farr reports that one of the first choices was "Torino," selected in a nod toward European sports cars. That lasted until a member of the Ford PR team became worried that the public might connect a car with an Italian name to the fact that Edsel's father, Henry II, was having an affair at the time with an "Italian divorce é."
That’s not the kind of nugget often unearthed when reading about the 2014 Ford Mustang, but …
"Mustang Fifty Years": The Journey to the 2014 Ford Mustang
Don’t worry, "Mustang Fifty Years" isn't some TMZ-style expose, either. The massive marketing campaign that was a key to the car's early success does get its share of pages, but then again, Ford is still using the same blueprint, right down to photographing a 2015 Mustang atop the Empire State Building with Bill Ford Jr. And there are separate sections for the Mustang as a pop-culture phenomenon, too. However, the core of the book is a look at the car itself, with plenty of archival photos, including some unpublished images and some from private collections.
Now, frankly, there's no need to re-hash all 50 years of that history, right up to the 2014 Ford Mustang, in this review. Let's just say that Farr does an excellent job of it, not excluding sidebars on the evolution of the Ford SVT operations, tuning gurus like Saleen and Roush—and Shelby, of course—and the Mustang's work as a police pursuit vehicle. There's even a nice case made for the reconsideration of the Mustang II as an attempted return to the car's small-car roots, albeit one that was fatally hampered by the automotive environment of the time.
Looking at the specs for “Mustang Fifty Years,” the book is 256 pages long, in an oversized 10- x 12.25-inch hardcover format, with a nice thick cover but no jacket. Priced at $50, it’s on sale from Motorbooks now. (Autobytel readers who visit the official Mustang 50th anniversary event being held this weekend at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, in North Carolina, also can stop by the Motorbooks books bus and mention the discount code “Charlotte” to get 25 percent off the new Mustang book.)
The 2014 Ford Mustang, of course, is on sale now as well, and priced from $22,510.
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