Nobody knows how to throw a party quite like the powers that be at the Ford Motor Company!
It hasn’t always been smooth sailing in the Motor City, but the team at Ford knows how to build up hype for big events like no other, highlighted by those celebrating the iconic pony car.
On April 17, 1964, Henry Ford II, Lee Iaccoca , and company introduced the all-new Ford Mustang to a crowd of eager onlookers and curious media members alike at the annual World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York. Unlike most American vehicles that quietly debut in showrooms or “soft openings,” the Mustang grabbed the attention of the masses from the moment that it was first unveiled.
The festivities at the 1964 World’s Fair set the tone for a wild and exciting ride which millions of Mustang fans around the globe were eager to strap in for. Over the next five decades, the Mustang evolved to meet the appearance and performance standards of the given time period, and the Ford Motor Company proudly touted its muscle car’s many successes along the way.
The Mustang’s popularity continued to grow in the 21st Century, and in April 2014, 50 years after it all began, Ford celebrated the pony car’s anniversary in the only way in which it knew how- by introducing a special edition vehicle, the 50th Anniversary Mustang.
With a great deal of excitement already surrounding the release of the 2015 Mustang, Ford parlayed the anticipation with a recognition of the pony car turning a-half-a-century years old. The limited edition concept car offered everything that the 2015 Mustang GT Performance Package did, with a number of special modifications that helped distinguish the 50th Anniversary Mustang from any other S550.
The 50th Anniversary Ford Mustang was a perfect marriage of the past and the present, as the vehicle featured all of the modern amenities of the upcoming S550 GT Performance Pack, with a heavy dose of nostalgia sprinkled through the unique build.
Here's how the 2015 50th Anniversary Mustang came to be, its specs/performance numbers, and how Ford masterfully paid homage to the famed 1964.5 pony car in the modern era.
50th Anniversary Mustang Debut and Celebration
The decision makers at Ford have always had a flair for the dramatic and a sense of history to go along with it, and its executive team managed to combine both traits for the 2014 New York International Auto Show.
During the extravaganza, company chairman Bill Ford traveled to the Empire State Building’s observation deck on the 86th floor, but he did not go alone. The great-grandson of Henry Ford brought along a bright yellow 2015 Mustang for all of the world to see, and the excitement for the upcoming Sixth Generation pony car reached a fever pitch.
A little closer to the ground, inside the Jacob Javits Convention Center in Manhattan, the team at Ford also revealed the special 50th Anniversary Mustang to much fanfare. One of the rarest special edition Mustangs ever made, the Ford Motor Company produced only 1,964 units. In an effort to pay tribute to the very first mustangs, the 50th Anniversary editions were only available in a pair of 1964.5 paint codes: Wimbledon White and Kona Blue.
In addition to the pair of color options, the 2015 50th Anniversary Mustang was sold in either manual or automatic transmission options. The GT Performance Package was only manufactured with manual transmission, making the anniversary edition the only 2015 Mustang with the Performance Package to be available with auto.
There was no shortage of excitement when a Wimbledon White 50th Anniversary Mustang drove through the curtain at the New York Auto Show for the first time, and the enthusiasm soon spread from coast to coast. On the heels of what was transpiring in New York, thousands of muscle car enthusiasts traveled to Las Vegas for a gathering held by the Mustang Club of America.
The four-day event at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway brought together Ford fans from all walks of life that were more than eager to celebrate the golden anniversary of their favorite car. A similar event took place back east in the Queen City, as Mustang aficionados commemorated the 50th anniversary by swapping war stories and comparing cars at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Celebrations for the big anniversary had been planned for several years, but the excitement reached another level when images of the upcoming S550 body style leaked on the internet and details began to surface about the one-of-a-kind Performance Package. Before we delve into what makes the 50th Anniversary Mustang so special, let’s take a closer look at what every 2015 Performance Pack featured.
2015 Mustang GT Performance Package
Less than 2,000 50th Anniversary Mustangs were produced, but Ford fans that were looking for a little bit more could always purchase a 2015 Mustang Performance Package. The special 2015 Mustang GT Premium coupe had the look of a high-performance machine from head-to-toe, and the horsepower and torque numbers certainly did not lie.
Powered by a mean 5.0L Coyote V8 motor, the 2015 Performance Packs (and 50th Anniversary Mustangs) could put down more than 420 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque. All of that horsepower and torque could meet the pavement thanks to the 19” wheels and Brembo Six-Piston Front Brake Calipers with larger rotors. Equipped with a strut tower brace that added stability and a distinct front spoiler that helped direct cool air, there was no shortage of performance upgrades.
The S550 GT Performance Packs had a distinct ride to them thanks to the unique suspension tune and heavy duty springs. The newly introduced independent rear suspension received an even bigger boost thanks to the GT Performance Pack’s larger rear sway bar and 3.73 rear axle. The 2015 GT Performance Pack was ideal for racing enthusiasts, but the aesthetic changes were popular for daily drivers as well.
Not only did the larger brakes increase stopping power, but they also created an aggressive look when combined with the standard black wheels. Additionally, the rear spoiler delete and the gauge panel helped distinguish 2015 GT Performance Package Mustangs from other S550s, and there was palpable buzz from the moment that they were first introduced to the public.
The 2015 Mustang GT Performance packages represented all of the modern innovations of the time and all that the pony car had achieved heading into its Sixth Generation. As had been the case throughout the Ford Motor Company’s history, however, fans were eager for just a little more. In order to satisfy those special auto collectors that wish to honor both the past and present, Ford decided that its 50th Anniversary Mustang would be a very special edition of the GT Performance Package!
50th Anniversary Mustang Specs and Details
Aside from the limited edition color options, the 50th Anniversary Ford Mustang closely resembles a regular GT Performance Pack at first glance. However, the Ford Motor Company did not disappoint those wishing to celebrate the historic milestone and introduced a retro flair throughout this special edition muscle car.
Back in the 1960s, chrome was much more common than it is today. With that in mind, Ford added some chrome accents to the Limited Edition 50th Anniversary Mustang to give off an old-school appearance that classic auto fans know and love. The nostalgic touches included chrome highlights around the grille, side glass, and taillights. Speaking of chrome, the 2015 Mustang anniversary wheels closely resemble that of the rims on the 1964.5 pony cars with a unique Y-spoke design.
Additionally, the Limited Edition 50th Anniversary Mustang is the only S550 with rear quarter window louvers installed from the factory. The window louvers were layered glass made to echo the louvers found on the 1964.5 pony cars. Ford also resurrected the faux gas cap for the 50th-anniversary edition, and it shows the GT logo with "50 Years" beneath it. The distinct badge certainly stands out among the black backdrop and lets the masses know that this is, in fact, a special build!
For many Ford owners, the real excitement began as soon as they opened the door to find the custom interior that features Wimbledon White combined with stunning black leather. Keeping with the black-and-white theme, the unique inner cabin features two-toned stitching throughout, which further combines the past and the present. A quartet of extremely comfortable seats immediately catch the eyes. These two-toned seats contain special 50th Anniversary logos embroidered towards the top and on the headrests.
Along with the seats, the 50th Anniversary Mustang interior features an aluminum panel with the build number and "50 Years" logo on the dash. In addition to the vehicle identification info, the plate contains Bill Ford’s signature. When describing the limited-edition pony, Ford famously stated: “If you don’t like this car, you don’t like cars.”
The vintage black and white stitching and chrome accents around the doors and windows mix perfectly well with all of the infotainment and driving modes that are standard in present-day Mustangs. Similarly, the commutative decals and subtle tributes on the exterior blend nicely with the natural lines and curves of the S550.
"If you don’t like this car, you don’t like cars"
In short, the 50th Anniversary Ford Mustang casts a bright eye on the future, while also paying the proper respect to the original pony car that started it all. Here’s to another 50 years of Mustang, and beyond!
Image Credit: The Mustang Source, Car and Driver