Forty-five years ago today, Ford Motor Co. introduced the Mustang -- one of the most iconic cars in American history -- at the World's Fair in New York. The company expected to sell 100,000 Mustangs the first year, but sold 417,000. On the very first day the car was shown, 22,000 orders were taken, with a price tag of $2,368. Today, the Mustang starts at $20,995 and sales have passed the 9 million mark.
Birmingham, Ala., will play host today to one of the biggest Mustang rallies to celebrate the car's birthday. Ford predicts more than 2,500 enthusiasts will be on hand to mark the occasion, including nine original owners of the first production Mustangs.
1964 1/2 or 1965?
Just when you thought it was settled.
Purists refer to Mustangs built between April and August 1964 as the model year 1964 1/2. Sorry, they are wrong; there is no 1964 1/2 model year. If you check the Vehicle Identification Number, it's a 1965 model.
But there's no reason to let facts get in the way of a classic. There are differences between the first Mustangs built between April and August 1964 and those built afterward and through July 1965 -- the traditional time frame for 1965 models. The first Mustangs used a generator instead of an alternator and the originals came with a 260-cubic-inch V-8 instead of the 289-cubic-inch V-8 that went under the hood of true 1965 models.
Mustang in the movies
"Goldfinger," 1964: A beautiful woman assassin drives a white 1964 convertible Mustang in this James Bond film starring Sean Connery.
"Bullitt," 1968: Steve McQueen is a hardened police detective who chases killers in a 1968 Mustang GT390.
"Diamonds Are Forever," 1971: Sean Connery eludes police in a 1971 Mustang Mach I in this James Bond film.
"Gone in 60 Seconds," 1974: A 1973 Mustang Mach I is the getaway vehicle in 40-minute chase that destroys 93 cars.
"Bull Durham," 1988: Fading ballplayer Kevin Costner picks up a 1968 Shelby Mustang GT350.
"Gone in Sixty Seconds," 2000: In this remake, retired car thief Nicolas Cage goes after the ultimate prize, a black 1967 Shelby GT500 styled by car designer Chip Foose.
"I Am Legend," 2007: Will Smith, the sole survivor of an apocalypse, races around the deserted streets of New York in a 2007 Shelby Mustang GT500.