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Ford Mustang Turns 50

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Today marks the anniversary of one of America's most iconic cars.

The Ford Mustang debuted 50 years ago, and it's been running strong ever since.

Dianna Wheeler is the co-owner of RDW Automotive, a shop that has restored and maintained Mustangs for 23 years. She says the rumbling of a Mustang's engine puts the sports car in a class of its own. "They have a unique sound and the minute you hear it, you know it's a Mustang," Wheeler said.

The Mustang debuted at the World's Fair, in New York. The starting price was $2,300. More than 400,000 sold within the first year of production. "Ford hit a home run when they pulled out the Ford Mustang, in 1964," Jackie Frady, President and Executive Director of the National Automobile Museum said. "It was this incredible sports car that came out with a design we hadn't ever seen before."

"When it came out, it kind of lit the world on fire," Richard West, Used Car Manager at Jones West Ford said.

Since then, the muscle car has been featured in more than 3,000 TV shows and films.

Wheeler says the cars also receive lots of attention off the big screen. "People either just stop and stare or their mouth drops open, or if they're in what they consider a fast car, they want to race," Wheeler said.

After five decades, the Mustang is still known for its versatility. "If you were that young guy, you could get this sporty Ford Mustang that was so cool-looking and have the performance package on it," Frady said. "But if you were that young family, you could still get that great-looking sports car that had a back seat for the children, a trunk for the groceries."

Whether it's a 1965 Fastback, or a 2014 5.0, the more the Mustang changes, the more it stay the same. "It's still a muscle car," West said. "A lot of car companies have gone away from that muscle car and the Mustang still is, and people like that about it."

"It's definitely an American car," Frady said. "Ford Mustang speaks to America."

Frady says these cars appeal to a wide audience, saying Baby Boomers tend to be more nostalgic, and the younger generation that just really likes the muscle of the Mustang.

The 2015 model will come out in July.

Written by Paul Nelson

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