14 April 2014

Mustang’s Media Effort: Read Lee Iacocca’s speech to press and the confidential Mustang press packet

In honor of the Mustang’s launch 50 years ago, we thought we’d share some of the documents that accompanied its unveiling to the press – something of a Mustang time capsule harking back to this week in automotive history half a century ago. Below are some real gems, including Lee Iacocca’s speech to press, and the “confidential” press packet and brochure that were distributed to newsmen under embargo, ahead of the car’s official public release.

Lee Iacocca's speech to introduce the Mustang

In his remarks to a packed house during the Mustang National News Conference in New York on April 13, 1964, Lee Iacocca noted that the U.S., Canadian and Puerto Rican newsmen in attendance were actually participating in Ford’s first international press introduction of an automobile, which was also being announced to press, radio and TV newsmen in 11 European capitals — some 2,000 reporters, editors and photographers in all. And the Mustang was, without dispute, worthy of an international effort. As Iacocca himself noted, citing numerous attempts by would-be owners to place an order sight-unseen, the Mustang was the most highly anticipated car in Ford history. Click the image to the right to read Iacocca’s speech in full, in which he reveals what he believes will be the big secret of the Mustang’s success.

1964 Mustang Press Packet

The confidential official press packet bills the Mustang as “a new concept,” and even beyond giving birth to a brand new category of car — the pony car — the Mustang was unique in that it was so customizable. According to the packet, “In the Mustang, Ford actually has created three different ‘personalities’ to make it truly unlike any other production car ever to come off an American assembly line — an economical car … a high-performance car … or a high style luxury car geared either to economy of operation or to sports car performance.” Click the image at right to read all of the options that could be combined to create your perfect pony.

13 Reader Comments

  • 1
    Don Walter San Luis Obispo,ca April 16, 2014 at 13:53
    I am restoring a 1955 chev 210 with post. Do you have any thoughts.
  • 2
    Karl Hanft Holland, Mi. April 16, 2014 at 14:58
    What a great American success story, looking back. The industry today could learn a thing or two from this story. Happy Birthday Mustang!!
  • 3
    John Shoaf Morgantown Wv April 16, 2014 at 19:47
    No mention was made of the RIDE at the World's Fair. Complete MUSTANG bodies INCLUDING INTERIOR (LESS drivetrain) delivered to the FAIR from the FACTORY were assembled in a procession in a THRILL-RIDE sortof like COMBINING the KIDDIE rides at carnivals only FULL-SCALE through a TUNNNEL-OF-LOVE You could RIDE-IN-THE -NEW MUSTANG in 1964 before you could buy a new 64 1/2 at the dealership. I know a friend-of-mine in one DARKENED-SECTION was able to avail-himself of a DIRECTIONAL-SIGNAL-STAFF from one of the MUSTANGS(all he could-get-loose-from-the-dashboard in the hurried-conditions).To this day I believe hew still has it in his possession. Probably quite-a-PRIZE-collectible.
  • 4
    Don Maloney United States April 16, 2014 at 19:52
    Ah, such fond memories in my very first car in high school, a 1965 Mustang FB. The growl of the 289. Such fun!
  • 5
    jerry cooksey rose lodge, oregon April 16, 2014 at 20:06
  • 6
    Greg Desert Arizona April 16, 2014 at 20:33
    Have converted our 1966 coupe into the spirit of Mustang progress over the years. Original body, improved suspension and transmission, upgraded interior and brakes with a high output 347 Stroker under the hood. Original looks plus better tham Shelby GT upgrades in performance Fun as Hell.
  • 7
    Bryan Hirschfield Livonia Mi. April 17, 2014 at 07:11
    Thank you HAGERTY for this historic Press Package and Speach. What a significant aniversary for a truly landmark automobile. An international event!
  • 8
    Paul Slager Holland, Mi April 17, 2014 at 07:20
    I was 16 when the Mustang was introduced and went to the local dealer to see it. They had a promotion you could sign up for to win a mustang for a day, I WON, my Dad had to get it because I was not 18. We drove that 6 stick notchback all day, went to Chicago and back. Great little car, neat memories. Thanks. Happy Birthday Mustang
  • 9
    Dan Davis Oklahoma April 17, 2014 at 20:14
    My parents and I went on vacation to Michigan in 1964, and went through the Rouge Plant. Just what a starry-eyed kid needs to see, all those Mustangs smokin' off the assembly line. I said to my Dad,"I want to work here someday," figuring the plant was all there was. In 10 years, I went through college and was working at Ford. For 28.5 years, I had many great times with Mustangs. That trip really inspired me! Thanks Mustang. PS: Still got the 64-1/2 I drove to college.
  • 10
    Bill Babb Texas April 17, 2014 at 10:01
    The Mustang was introduced my senior of high school. I bought a ragged '65 Mustang convertible in 1983; began disassembly (for restoration); then moved 17 times and raised 2 sons. 30 years later, I finally got the money together to do a 100% restoration on that convertible. I'm now 67 - and it's STILL fun to drive!
  • 11
    Don Warner Hatboro, PA April 18, 2014 at 00:08
    First saw the car at the World's Fair but my ride through the Ford Pavillion was in a Fairlane convertible. I so much wanted to be in the Mustang. The next year, however, my mom and dad went away for a week in the spring and friends came to live at our house to keep an eye on me and my sister. Much to my delight, MR. had a '65 Hi-Po 289, 4-spd fastback and MRS. had a '65 C-code coupe. These cars were in MY DRIVEWAY! (Hey, I was 8 at the time). I told everyone at school that I had not one but 2 Mustangs at my house. I rode with MRS. in the coupe a couple times, but the one ride in the HiPo with MR. is what made my blood run Ford Blue! Today on the 50th anniversary of the debut, I drove my '70 302 Coupe everywhere. This summer I plan to have my '68 289 4-speed on the street. 50 years of F-U-N!
  • 12
    James Ramseyer Colorado April 24, 2014 at 14:10
    I saw my first Mustang while working as a highway patrol on Pikes Peak. The highway superintendent asked me to drive the NBC film crew up the highway, to find spots to film the Race To The Clouds. Much to my surprise, the car I was to drive was a poppy red 64 and 1/2 Mustang convertible. I was in love! I had to sign a purchase list, and was finally called in February of 65. I then became a proud owner of a Silver Smoke gray 1965 Mustang coupe.
  • 13
    MikeW California June 18, 2014 at 18:38
    I was at the unvailing in California in '64, but had to wait till my Birthday in September before I was able to purchase my 65 six coupe. Right afterwards they unvailed the fastback! Dam, I could have had a V8 2+2! Drove it for 10 years, and then family growth had me sell it. Now I have my fastback and a 64½ convertible!

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