Though more or less a mundane Falcon beneath its sporty skin, Ford's new Mustang still looked like nothing ever seen before when it burst onto the scene in April 1964. More than 417,000 were sold within a year, a new Detroit record. Bucket seats and a floor shifter were standard, and either six-cylinder or 289-cid V-8 power was available under that long hood. Ford's K-code High Performance 289, rated at 271 horsepower, remained the hottest optional engine up through 1966.
Unveiled right after the so-called “1964½” run morphed into the traditional 1965 model year, the even sportier 2+2 fastback pushed the Mustang's body count to three, joining the carryover coupe and convertible. Another choice, the Mustang GT offered in all three shapes, debuted in April 1965 to help mark the “pony car's” first birthday. Various details set a 1965 Mustang apart from its 1964½ predecessor; the easiest to remember was Ford's switch from archaic generator to a modern alternator.