All of these were VIN-identified as 1965 models, but several changes were made at the traditional opening of the new model year (beginning August 1964), including the addition of back-up lights on some models, the introduction of alternators to replace generators, and an upgrade of the V8 engine from 260 cu in to 289 cu in. In the case of at least some six-cylinder Mustangs fitted with the 101 hp 170 cu in Falcon engine, the rush into production included some unusual quirks, such as a horn ring bearing the Ford Falcon logo beneath a trim ring emblazoned with Ford Mustang. These characteristics made enough difference to warrant designation of the 121,538 earlier ones as "1964½" model-year Mustangs, a distinction that has endured with purists.
Iacocca joined the Ford organization in 1946. Although trained as an engineer, he soon realized his personal passion and future was in sales. Iacocca spent years as a field manager helping dealers promote and sell some of Fords most undesirable products.
But, the embargo didnt prevent them from filling pages and pages of their publications with speculation about how the new Mustang would be equipped or what it might look like. It was all part of the auto makers plan to build buyer anticipation and excitement to a feverish pitch during the three months prior the Mustangs launch.
Iacocca, however, wanted a more practical vehicle, one that would be cheap to produce and generate volume sales. Based on his time in the field as a Ford district manager, he knew its ultimate success would depend on three things: great styling, strong performance and a low price.
Ford also leaked information to some major publications. In early March, the Detroit Free Press received an anonymous tip that Walter Buhl Ford II, nephew of chairman Henry Ford II, was seen driving a prototype Mustang convertible to a luncheon in downtown Detroit. Photos soon appeared in the newspaper, as well as in Time and Newsweek.
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