The Mustang is a classic American car. It has been in production since 1964. While its popularity has seen rises and falls, it’s still one of those cars that turn heads.
Whether you’re a collector or in the market for a new vehicle, there’s no denying that the Ford Mustang is something that will catch your eye. The style and grace of this is like no other. It makes the ideal collector’s car, and the new ones aren’t that bad, either.
The Mustang Then and Now
Automobile Magazine reports that the Mustang made its debut on April 17, 1964 at the World’s Fair. On the first day the Mustang was on the market, Ford sold 22,000 of them. The Mustang launched the pony car class of vehicles, making compact sporty cars a huge hit.
In the first generation of Mustangs, Ford made them very accessible. It offered a range of options for customization, so it appealed to everyone. The Mustang could be an economical or high-performance car. The car also came in different body styles to appeal to all types of consumers.
The Mustang outperformed all expectations Ford set for it. By 1966, the company was rolling out the one-millionth Mustang from its factories. Starting in 1967, Ford decided to start revising and making the Mustang bigger with larger engines.
The one major misstep in the Mustang history was in 1970 when Ford changed the styling. It went from an aggressive pony car to something much tamer, which consumers didn’t like. Sales took a downturn, but in 1971, Ford rebounded with the classic look consumers wanted.
In 1974, Ford introduced the Mustang II, which was a subcompact version. It won the Motor Trend’s Car of the Year for 1974. It was a hit due to the oil shortage.
By 1979, Ford was ready to go big again. In 1987, the company introduced the aero styling and flashier models. By 1989, sales were declining somewhat as it seemed the Mustang’s popularity was dipping. It went through some down times, but in 1994, Ford began catering more to traditional fans. The Mustang had a classic look.
The end of the ’90s saw some changes. There was the New Edge styling, but by 2005, the company was back to retro styling again and recapturing the first-generation models’ feel.
For the 50th anniversary, Ford refreshed the styling, and in 2018, the company built the ten-millionth Mustang. Finally, in 2020, the company introduced the first electric model Mustang, the Mach-E.
Why Are Mustangs Collectible?
According to Hemmings, the Ford Mustang is such a collector’s item because many original remain out there for purchase. Ford produced a lot of them. Certain models are rare and hard to find, but in general, if you want a Mustang, especially those from the early years, you shouldn’t have a hard time finding one.
Many of the Mustangs you’ll find are restorations. They make a great project car because they are easy to work on. These are basic cars without all the electric and computer components. They don’t have complex designs, either.
It’s also simple to find parts for classic Mustangs. You can buy them pretty much anywhere. There are tons of reproduction parts out there. Original parts are harder to find, but they are still available, too. There’s a big business providing these parts because they are such a popular car to restore.
In fact, you could build a new Mustang from the ground up if you wanted. You can buy floor plans, shells, sheet metal components, seat risers, and every other part you need to put together your own car. You just need a frame, but be cautious because rust is a huge problem with these cars, especially on the frame’s rear.
Mustangs are also popular because they have a classic look and are still modern enough to keep up with today’s models. Plus, they have a wide appeal, thanks to the various engine options and price points.
Most Popular Mustangs
You’ll usually find there are three segments to the Mustang collectible market. First are the cars from 1964 to 1973. Next are the smaller cars built during Ford’s efforts to downsize due to the 1973 oil crisis. Lastly are the performance-focused V8 models.
Many Mustang models are highly sought-after collector items. The 1969 Mach 1 with a blackout hood and standard 2-barrel 351 V8 is at the top of the list. Following it is the Boss, which is the highest valued of the non-Shelby Mustangs.
The most popular models are those from the 1964 to 1973 era. They come in three body styles: Convertible, Hardtop, and Fastback. The Fastback is the most valuable of the three styles, with the Convertible coming in a close second. Ford didn’t make as many of these, which is why they are higher in value than the Hardtops.
Specifically from this era, the most desired are those from 1965 to 1968. These models were at the peak of Mustang’s popularity.
You’ll find the most valuable cars are those with V8 engines. The most valuable of these is the K-code 271hp 4-barrel 289.
The value of a car also increases with originality. Significant restoration efforts can make changes that can bring down the value.
When it comes to high value but hard to find, you’ll run into this with any Shelby model. Shelby America made some lines for Ford, but the production numbers were quite low. Finding parts for Shelby models is tough, especially parts with the Shelby badges on them.
If you’re wondering about the least collectible model, then that would be the Mustang II. While it did pretty decent when it came out, it just isn’t something people want to collect. The value is low, and parts are just not available.
You can find out more about pricing and availability from a site such as https://revologycars.com/. It’s a great place to start when you want to research Mustangs on the market.
The Most Expensive Mustangs
While you certainly can find cheap models you can work on and restore, if you’re in the market for a fully restored, ready to go model, then you may need to save up your money. The highest-selling Mustangs are typically those that are unique and have some rare qualities about them.
Money Inc. notes that in the top five selling Mustangs, you’ll find a 1969 Shelby GT Convertible once owned by Carroll Shelby and sold in original condition, a 1965 Shelby GT 350R that one of only 34 made and that has a verified racing history, the 1967 Shelby GT500 from the film Gone in 60 Seconds, and a 1967 Shelby GT500 Super Snake that’s the only one of its kind in existence.
At the very top, the highest-selling Mustang is the 1968 Mustang from the 1968 film Bullitt. It sold for over $3 million.
The Mustang is a superior vehicle. It captures the attention and provides a performance unlike any other. It’s no wonder that it attracts collectors, and that the line is still going strong after decades in production.