Tuesday March 9, 2021’s Smile of the Day: The Ford Mustang

On this Day:

In 1964, the 1st Ford Mustang rolled off the assembly line from the Ford Motor Company.

The Ford Mustang is a series of American automobiles manufactured by Ford. In continuous production since 1964, the Mustang is currently the longest-produced Ford car nameplate. Currently in its sixth generation, it is the fifth-best selling Ford car nameplate. The namesake of the “pony car” automobile segment, the Mustang was developed as a highly styled line of sporty coupes and convertibles derived from existing model lines, initially distinguished by “long hood, short deck” proportions.

Originally predicted to sell 100,000 vehicles yearly, the 1965 Mustang became the most successful vehicle launch since the 1927 Model A. Introduced on April 17, 1964 (16 days after the Plymouth Barracuda), over 400,000 units in its first year; the one-millionth Mustang was sold within two years of its launch. In August 2018, Ford produced the 10-millionth Mustang; matching the first 1965 Mustang, the vehicle was a 2019 Wimbledon White convertible with a V8 engine.

The success of the Mustang launch would lead to multiple competitors from other American manufacturers, including the Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird (1967), AMC Javelin (1968), and Dodge Challenger (1970). The Mustang would also have an effect on designs of coupés worldwide, leading to the marketing of the Toyota Celica and Ford Capri in the United States (the latter, by Lincoln-Mercury). The Mercury Cougar was launched in 1967 as a higher-trim version of the Mustang; during the 1970s, it was repackaged as a personal luxury car.

For 1965 to 2004, the Mustang shared chassis commonality with other Ford model lines, staying rear-wheel drive throughout its production. From 1965 to 1973, the Mustang was derived from the 1960 Ford Falcon compact. From 1974 to 1978, the Mustang (denoted Mustang II) was a longer-wheelbase version of the Ford Pinto. From 1979 to 2004, the Mustang shared its Fox platform chassis with 14 other Ford vehicles (becoming the final one to use the Fox architecture). Since 2005, Ford has produced two generations of the Mustang, each using a distinct platform unique to the model line.

Through its production, multiple nameplates have been associated with the Ford Mustang series, including GT, Mach 1, Boss 302/429, Cobra (separate from Shelby Cobra), and Bullitt, along with “5.0” fender badging (denoting 4.9 L OHV or 5.0 L DOHC V8 engines).

Lee Iacocca’s assistant general manager and chief engineer, Donald N. Frey was the head engineer for the T-5 project—supervising the overall development of the car in a record 18 months—while Iacocca himself championed the project as Ford Division general manager. The T-5 prototype was a two-seat, mid-mounted engine roadster. This vehicle employed the German Ford Taunus V4 engine.

The original 1962 Ford Mustang I two-seater concept car had evolved into the 1963 Mustang II four-seater concept car which Ford used to pretest how the public would take interest in the first production Mustang. The 1963 Mustang II concept car was designed with a variation of the production model’s front and rear ends with a roof that was 2.7 in (69 mm) lower. It was originally based on the platform of the second-generation North American Ford Falcon, a compact car.

The Ford Mustang began production five months before the normal start of the 1965 production year. The early production versions are often referred to as “1964½ models” but all Mustangs were advertised, VIN coded and titled by Ford as 1965 models, though minor design updates in August 1964 at the formal start of the 1965 production year contribute to tracking 1964½ production data separately from 1965 data (see data below). with production beginning in Dearborn, Michigan, on March 9, 1964; the new car was introduced to the public on April 17, 1964 at the New York World’s Fair. A white convertible with red interior was used as product placement when the James Bond movie Goldfinger was released 17 September 1964 at its London premiere, where Bond girl Tilly Masterson was in a spirited chase with James driving an Aston Martin DB5 in the Swiss Alps. A turquoise coupe was again used in the next film Thunderball at its Tokyo premiere 9 December 1965 with Bond Girl Fiona Volpe as she drives James to meet the villain Emilio Largo at his compound at a very high rate of speed across The Bahamas.

Favorable publicity articles appeared in 2,600 newspapers the next morning, the day the car was “officially” revealed. A four-seat car with full space for the front bucket seats and a rear bench seat was standard. A “Fastback 2+2”, first manufactured on August 17, 1964, enclosed the trunk space under a sweeping exterior line similar to the second series Corvette Sting Ray and European sports cars such as the Jaguar E-Type coupe.

To achieve an advertised list price of US$2,368, the Mustang was based heavily on familiar yet simple components, many of which were already in production for other Ford models. Many (if not most) of the interior, chassis, suspension, and drivetrain components were derived from those used on Ford’s Falcon and Fairlane. This use of common components also shortened the learning curve for assembly and repair workers, while at the same time allowing dealers to pick up the Mustang without also having to invest in additional spare parts inventory to support the new car line. Original sales forecasts projected less than 100,000 units for the first year. This mark was surpassed in three months from rollout. Another 318,000 would be sold during the model year (a record), and in its first eighteen months, more than one million Mustangs were built.

On November 17, 2019, Ford announced the Ford Mustang Mach-E. Unrelated to any of the pony car Mustang versions, it is an electric crossover with rear-wheel and all-wheel drive. It has 210–375 miles (340–605 km) of range and an updated Ford Sync system with a 15.5 inch display. The Mustang Mach-E comes in several different trims including First Edition, Select, Premium, California Route 1, and GT. The Mach-E Mustang also offers “regular and extended-range batteries”.

The 1965 Mustang won the Tiffany Gold Medal for excellence in American design, the first automobile ever to do so.

The Mustang was on the Car and Driver Ten Best list in 1983, 1987, 1988, 2005, 2006, 2011, and 2016. It won the Motor Trend Car of the Year award in 1974 and 1994 (per Wikipedia).

First, a Story:

Two friends were walking when one received a call on his cell phone.  He ended the call and said: “My wife just crashed my Mustang!”

His friend replied: “OMG is she okay??”

The other fellow replied: “Well she may need some body work, buffering and new coat of paint but she should be alright.”

Second, a Song:

Charles Edward Anderson Berry (October 18, 1926 – March 18, 2017) was an American singer, songwriter and guitarist, and one of the pioneers of rock and roll music. Nicknamed the “Father of Rock and Roll”, Berry refined and developed rhythm and blues into the major elements that made rock and roll distinctive with songs such as “Maybellene” (1955), “Roll Over Beethoven” (1956), “Rock and Roll Music” (1957) and “Johnny B. Goode” (1958). Writing lyrics that focused on teen life and consumerism, and developing a music style that included guitar solos and showmanship, Berry was a major influence on subsequent rock music.

Born into a middle-class African-American family in St. Louis, Berry had an interest in music from an early age and gave his first public performance at Sumner High School. While still a high school student he was convicted of armed robbery and was sent to a reformatory, where he was held from 1944 to 1947. After his release, Berry settled into married life and worked at an automobile assembly plant. By early 1953, influenced by the guitar riffs and showmanship techniques of the blues musician T-Bone Walker, Berry began performing with the Johnnie Johnson Trio. His break came when he traveled to Chicago in May 1955 and met Muddy Waters, who suggested he contact Leonard Chess, of Chess Records. With Chess, he recorded “Maybellene”—Berry’s adaptation of the country song “Ida Red”—which sold over a million copies, reaching number one on Billboard magazine’s rhythm and blues chart.

By the end of the 1950s, Berry was an established star, with several hit records and film appearances and a lucrative touring career. He had also established his own St. Louis nightclub, Berry’s Club Bandstand. He was sentenced to three years in prison in January 1962 for offenses under the Mann Act—he had transported a 14-year-old girl across state lines. After his release in 1963, Berry had several more hits, including “No Particular Place to Go”, “You Never Can Tell”, and “Nadine”. But these did not achieve the same success, or lasting impact, of his 1950s songs, and by the 1970s he was more in demand as a nostalgic performer, playing his past hits with local backup bands of variable quality. In 1972 he reached a new level of achievement when a rendition of “My Ding-a-Ling” became his only record to top the charts. His insistence on being paid in cash led in 1979 to a four-month jail sentence and community service, for tax evasion.

Berry was among the first musicians to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on its opening in 1986; he was cited for having “laid the groundwork for not only a rock and roll sound but a rock and roll stance.” Berry is included in several of Rolling Stone magazine’s “greatest of all time” lists; he was ranked fifth on its 2004 and 2011 lists of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll includes three of Berry’s: “Johnny B. Goode”, “Maybellene”, and “Rock and Roll Music”. Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” is the only rock-and-roll song included on the Voyager Golden Record.

A pioneer of rock and roll, Berry was a significant influence on the development of both the music and the attitude associated with the rock music lifestyle. With songs such as “Maybellene” (1955), “Roll Over Beethoven” (1956), “Rock and Roll Music” (1957) and “Johnny B. Goode” (1958), Berry refined and developed rhythm and blues into the major elements that made rock and roll distinctive, with lyrics successfully aimed to appeal to the early teenage market by using graphic and humorous descriptions of teen dances, fast cars, high school life, and consumer culture, and utilizing guitar solos and showmanship that would be a major influence on subsequent rock music. Thus Berry, the songwriter, according to critic Jon Pareles, invented rock as “a music of teenage wishes fulfilled and good times (even with cops in pursuit).” Berry contributed three things to rock music: an irresistible swagger, a focus on the guitar riff as the primary melodic element and an emphasis on songwriting as storytelling. His records are a rich storehouse of the essential lyrical, showmanship and musical components of rock and roll. 

In addition to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, a large number of significant popular-music performers have recorded Berry’s songs. Although not technically accomplished, his guitar style is distinctive—he incorporated electronic effects to mimic the sound of bottleneck blues guitarists and drew on the influence of guitar players such as Carl Hogan, and T-Bone Walker to produce a clear and exciting sound that many later guitarists would acknowledge as an influence in their own style. Berry’s showmanship has been influential on other rock guitarists, particularly his one-legged hop routine, and the “duck walk”, which he first used as a child when he walked “stooping with full-bended knees, but with my back and head vertical” under a table to retrieve a ball and his family found it entertaining; he used it when “performing in New York for the first time and some journalist branded it the duck walk.”

The rock critic Robert Christgau considers Berry “the greatest of the rock and rollers”, and John Lennon said, “if you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry’.” Ted Nugent said, “If you don’t know every Chuck Berry lick, you can’t play rock guitar.” Bob Dylan called Berry “the Shakespeare of rock ‘n’ roll”. Bruce Springsteen tweeted, “Chuck Berry was rock’s greatest practitioner, guitarist, and the greatest pure rock ‘n’ roll writer who ever lived.”

Among the honors Berry received were the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1984 and the Kennedy Center Honors in 2000. He was ranked seventh on Time magazine’s 2009 list of the 10 best electric guitar players of all time. On May 14, 2002, Berry was honored as one of the first BMI Icons at the 50th annual BMI Pop Awards. He was presented the award along with BMI affiliates Bo Diddley and Little Richard. In August 2014, Berry was made a laureate of the Polar Music Prize.

Berry is included in several of Rolling Stone magazine’s “Greatest of All Time” lists. In September 2003, the magazine ranked him number 6 in its list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”. In November his compilation album The Great Twenty-Eight was ranked 21st in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. In March 2004, Berry was ranked fifth on the list of “The Immortals – The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time”. In December 2004, six of his songs were included in “Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”: “Johnny B. Goode” (#7), “Maybellene” (#18), “Roll Over Beethoven” (#97), “Rock and Roll Music” (#128), “Sweet Little Sixteen” (#272) and “Brown Eyed Handsome Man” (#374). In June 2008, his song “Johnny B. Goode” was ranked first in the “100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time”.

The journalist Chuck Klosterman has argued that in 300 years Berry will still be remembered as the rock musician who most closely captured the essence of rock and roll. Time magazine stated, “There was no one like Elvis. But there was ‘definitely’ no one like Chuck Berry.” Rolling Stone magazine called him “the father of rock & roll” who “gave the music its sound and its attitude, even as he battled racism – and his own misdeeds – all the way,” reporting that Leonard Cohen said, “All of us are footnotes to the words of Chuck Berry.” Kevin Strait, curator of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC, said that Berry is “one of the primary sonic architects of rock and roll.”

According to Cleveland.com, “Chuck Berry didn’t invent rock and roll all by his lonesome. But he was the man who took rhythm and blues and transformed it into a new genre that would ever change popular music. Songs like “Maybellene,” “Johnny B. Goode,” “Roll Over Beethoven” and “Rock and Roll Music” would showcase the core elements of what rock and roll would become. The sound, the format and the style were built on the music Berry created. To some extent, everyone who followed was a copycat” (per Wikipedia).

Here is Chuck Berry performing his song: “My Mustang Ford”.  I hope you enjoy this!

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoY11PSPSUo)

Thought for the Day:

“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” – Henry Ford

In response to the British North American Act Smile:

John Zeleznikow of Melbourne, Australia writes:

“Thanks David

The Australian colonies did not merge into a country until 1901. But then we had total control except for Appeals to the House of Lords. These were abolished in 1984. At the same time UK citizens lost many other additional rights they previously had.

I trust you and your family are well

John”

and Carol Burman of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada writes:

“Loved the Canada YouTube. Thanks. Have a great day” – Carol

Have a great day

© 2021 David J. Bilinsky and Colleen E. Bilinsky

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