June 14-November 2, 2014

The Ford Mustang is an enduring icon of Americana, with one of the most widely recognized profiles in automotive history. That grille. Those taillights. The long hood. The short deck.

Endlessly customizable, the Mustang appealed to almost everyone in 1964—teenage dreamers, first car buyers, second-car suburbanites, and reinvigorated retirees.

Four seats and a low base price made it practical and affordable, democratizing the sports car spirit. And the Mustang’s runaway popularity inspired the name for an emerging class of sporty compacts: ponycars.

Ford quickly added real muscle and performance to the Mustang lineup. Builder Carroll Shelby turned the Mustang into a Trans-Am championship winner and created a street-legal version, the GT350. And Ford exploited its drag strip supremacy by offering performance junkies muscle-car Mustangs such as the Boss 302, Mach I, and Boss 429 with potent V8s, four-barrel carburetors, racing stripes, and hood vents. Produced in limited numbers, they’re now coveted by collectors.

Like the wild mustang horses that still roam the west, Ford Mustangs have endured changing times and tastes, weathering bad times and good while competitors fell by the wayside. Saratoga Automobile Museum’s special exhibit, [Mustang: 50 Years], will survey the Mustang phenomenon, putting the original pony car in context.

We’ll illustrate the earliest Mustang I concept that made it’s debut in 1962 at New York’s Watkins Glen with racing legend Dan Gurney at the wheel. We’ll recall the production car’s dynamic introduction at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, and explore five decades of Ford’s styling, engineering, racing, and advertising decisions made in response to world events, regulations, tastes, and trends.

But the Mustang phenomenon isn’t just a top-down story. People around the world—even those who never owned a Mustang—have made the car a star of music, movies, racetracks, and drag strips.

Saratoga Automobile Museum, surrounded by a rich tradition of horse racing, arts, and culture, is ideally situated to tell the Mustang story. After all, it’s located in the state Ford chose for the Mustang’s introduction 50 years ago, and for its reintroduction in 2014.  

If you would like to celebrate with us and exhibit your Mustang email pictures and details to brandon.salls@saratogaautomuseum.org