The Mustang in the Late ‘60sFord's signature pony car hit its peak in 1966, moving over 600,000 units in that year alone. Following that, however, sales began to drop precipitously and anxious executives were eager to try anything to revive the brand's flagging fortunes.
A number of regional special editions were introduced to selected markets. The California Special was the most notable, and it is one of the most sought-after first generation pony cars to this day. Other attempts at expanding the Mustang's customer base included the fuel-efficient Mustang E, which foreshadowed the direction Ford would go a few years later with the introduction of the Mustang II.
With this climate of try-it-and-see-what-sticks experimentation, it's no surprise Ford attempted to introduce a more upscale Mustang in 1969. The original Mustang Grande featured an upgraded interior with imitation wood trim, a smoother, more refined ride and additional sound-deadening materials. Available with any engine and transmission combination, the Grande was popular enough that it continued to be offered throughout the duration of the first gen pony car's run.
The Mustang Grande and the GhiaThe success of the Mustang Grande anticipated the approach Ford would take a few years later when it introduced the top-end Ghia trim for the Mustang II. With input from famous Italian design firm Carrozzeria Ghia, which Ford acquired in 1970, the Ghia Mustang was another attempt to add a more stylish twist to its signature pony car.
Like the Mustang Grande, the Ghia package was a popular upgrade, and it continued to be offered until 1981. Regardless of whether or not you think luxurious options such as faux wood trim have any place in a real Mustang, it’s clear the Grande set the agenda for years to come.