This 12-minute Ford film from the spring of 1964 provides the blueprint for the car—and the marketing campaign—that changed the Motor City forever.
Released in the spring of 1964 and originally intended for dealer and factory personnel, this old Ford film prefigures one of the most successful product launches in Motor City history. “Here is a completely new breed of car,” says the announcer. But the Mustang was far more than that. Here was also a new way to market the automobile.
Critics were quick to point out than in many ways, the Mustang was not much more than a repackaged Falcon—a dowdy economy sedan with its components moved around to create a sporty coupe (or convertible). True enough, but with its long hood, short deck, and vibrant styling, the Mustang projected an entirely new and different image to buyers. And with its nearly endless list of appearance, comfort, and performance options, the Mustang could be most anything its owner wanted it to be—from a cute six-cylinder commuter to a V8, four-speed street racer.
Lee Iacocca, often called the father of the Mustang, and his crack Ford product team didn’t stumble across this marketing plan by accident. It was the strategy from the start. At the two-minute mark in our film, the blueprint is unrolled and laid out before us. “Here is a completely new concept in cars,” the narrator reports, “designed to appeal to all classes and income brackets.” In 1964 this was a revolutionary concept in selling cars, and the market answered back with a roar. Ford was hoping to sell 100,000 Mustangs the first year, but instead sold one million in the first 18 months, and a Motor City legend was born. Video below.