‘Ford Mustang 60 Years - Celebrating The Golden Sixties'

Autoworld is highlighting the 60th anniversary of the iconic Ford Mustang between May 3rd and June 30th with the temporary exhibition ‘Ford Mustang 60 Years: Celebrating the Golden Sixties.’ Besides the temporary exhibition featuring some very exclusive Mustangs, we will also showcase a vast collection of miniature Mustangs by Eric Janssen."

Mustang Boom

The Ford Mustang was launched in 1964 with sky-high expectations by “the Blue Oval. The Ford Mustang would exceed all expectations. The 1966 Ford Mustang that Autoworld will use as a promo car harkens back to those golden days. The baby-boom generation fell like a log for the Mustang and converted the optimistic zeitgeist of the time into Mustang orders. Expected sales of 100,000 in 1964 became 400,000. Two years later, already the millionth Mustangs rolled off the production line. Of course, a copy of the very first production year will be present at Autoworld.


In no time, the ‘stang became an icon, with popular culture lending a hand. 'Mustang Sally' was sung by Wilson Pickett, while Martha Reeves And The Vandellas canned the music video for 'Nowhere To Run' on the Ford Mustang's production line. And films like 'Le Gendarme de Saint-Tropez,' the Mustang's worldwide film debut, but certainly 'Bullit' and 'Goldfinger,' contributed to the model's popularity. The Mustang that featured in the cult movie ‘Un Homme et Une Femme,’ will also feature during the exhibition. 


Along the sporty side, the legendary Carroll Shelby got involved with the Shelby Mustang GT350 and GT500 serving the most hardcore, sporty customers. The GT500 would later become world-famous as 'Eleanor' in the remake of 'Gone In 60 Seconds.' 'Eleanor' will also be present at Autoworld. In the 1960s, rental company Hertz would deploy a fleet of Shelby GT350s in their 'Rent-a-Racer' program. Many amateur racers took that literally and rented GT350s for the weekend to actually participate in amateur races with them. Both a Shelby GT 350 and a 'Rent-a-Racer' will be on display. Ford did still build its own sporty versions, such as the Mach 1, which became immortal through James Bond in 'Diamonds Are Forever' and is also being honoured at Autoworld.

Mustang II Monroe Handler

From 1974 came the second generation ‘Pony Car,’ that had a hard time equaling the iconic status of the first generation due to increased competition, emissions standards, but most importantly, the outbreak of the oil crisis. Lee Iacocca, meanwhile president of the Ford Motor Company, sensed the zeitgeist perfectly and asked for a smaller, more fuel-efficient variant of the Mustang, but without concessions in terms of build quality. Even a four-cylinder version was on offer. The care free days of ‘60’s excess were over, also for the Mustang. Nevertheless a broadly smiling Farah Fawcett made the Mustang II immensely popular in Charlie's Angels. Despite the disappearance of the convertible and less sporty versions, the Mustang remained a sales hit. Perhaps the most distinctive Mustang II was the Monroe Handler, with powerful racing engine and an extra distinctive body kit. Only eight were built, only one of which had a T-roof. That car too will be on show at Autoworld, thanks to owner Adelbert Engler, the Mustang expert in Belgium and far beyond.

Pace Car

The third generation arrived in 1979, which was produced until 1993 due to a styling update. The Mustang grew in size again, with an eye on even more comfort. The fastback style was no longer offered, but the convertible did return after nine years. The Mustang also became the official Pace Car for the famous 1979 Indy 500 race. Ford unfolded plans to offer the Mustang in a front-wheel-drive variant for a next generation, but die-hard Mustang fans protested and stuck to the values that had once made the Mustang so iconic.


Ford listened carefully and with the fourth generation, launched 30 years after the original Mustang and the first major styling update in 15 years, the Mustang returned to a more sporty design. And with the fifth generation in 2005, all the more so. Not coincidentally, it went back to the design of the first generation. The link with the first generation was immediately noticeable and Mustang fans all over the world took the Mustang to their hearts again. While new fans were also created, whether or not through cameos in well-known movies like 'I Am Legend'. And the Highland Green 'Bullit' Mustang was a reference to the famous GT390 Steve McQueen used in the movie 'Bullit.'Shelby was also consulted again for the more sporty models.


For the sixth generation, launched with the 50th anniversary of the Mustang, Ford continued on that classic momentum and with success. The model became wider and lower which gave it an even sportier look, while innovative engines such as the 2.3-litre Ecoboost four-cylinder alongside the earlier V6 and V8 engines also made the Mustang attractive to a wider audience and in markets that were less open to heavy engines due to increased environmental standards. 2021 also saw the launch of the first electric Mustang, the Mach-E, a so-called Cross Over, rather than a pure sports car, but with the same iconic styling elements of the first generation. And recently the seventh generation Ford Mustang was introduced. So the 'Pony Car' is guaranteed ride on in the future.