Top 10 greatest Ford Mustangs of all time

The Mustang has been around since 1964 and the 10 millionth example has just been built. That's a lot of Mustangs... Here's our top 10 greatest examples of the pony car

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1964 1/2 Ford Mustang

The Mustang story began in 1964 with very early cars being produced just before the 1965 model year began. Despite this, Ford advertised the Mustang as a ’65 car and, officially speaking, that’s when the first Mustangs were introduced.

The Mustang was originally planned to be a two-seat sports car, but this idea was shelved as such a car would tread on the toes of its Thunderbird sibling. A four-seat arrangement was decided on with a 'fastback' roofline inspired by the Jaguar E-type being added shortly after the convertible was launched.

A very early Mustang was handed to the producers of Goldfinger for the car’s first ever on-screen appearance. The lure of the new car appearing in a James Bond film was too tempting for Ford executives to resist.

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1985 Ford Mustang SVO

What? Wait a minute! How did one of the most controversial generations of Mustang make it onto this list? The AutoClassics office broke into chaos at the mere mention of the ugly and frequently underpowered third-generation car making the top 10, but it’s undeniable that it does have a cult following.

In the 1970s the rising cost of fuel and a shift in public focus to more economic cars meant the traditional American muscle cars went the way of the dinosaurs. The Mustang was to live on, but it would have to drastically reinvent itself.

The most potent 'fox-body' Mustang was the SVO, a car that was meant to compete with European sports cars of the time. It went without the traditional naturally aspirated V8 engine and instead featured a turbocharged 2.3-litre unit. It was introduced in 1984 with 175bhp, rising to 205bhp in late 1985. While it lacked the character of older Mustangs, its lack of weight over the front wheels enabled sharper handling.

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1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1 Diamonds Are Forever

This was the second Mustang to receive the Mach 1 treatment, with the Fastback models endowed with a series of high performance V8 engines. It was also the second Mustang to feature in a 007 epic after a prototype car starred in a Goldfinger scene.

It’s unclear if the car in the film belong to character Tiffany Case or was hired, but Bond certainly treated it like the latter. A chase through the streets of Las Vegas ends with the British spy driving on two wheels through a narrow alleyway. This lead to one of the most iconic cinematic continuity errors when this Mustang emerged at the other end on the opposite set of wheels.

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Shelby Mustang GT500KR K.I.T.T

It might not have pleased hardcore Knight Rider fans when the rebooted TV series cast a Mustang as the new Knight Industries Three Thousand, but there is no denying the on-screen presence of the Shelby GT500KR.

Based on a 2008 Ford Mustang, Shelby supercharged the V8 to give it 540bhp and then applied a mean bodykit. 1712 units were produced to match the original Shelby KR cars of the late 60s. Paint it in jet black, add a light bar inside those nostrils, and witty quips from none other than Val Kilmer and you have the latest incarnation of K.I.T.T.

The new series started well with the pilot being well received, however, a poor story ark means that Knight Rider was decommissioned after just one complete series.

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2000 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra R

Ford’s Special Vehicle Team revived the Cobra R nameplate in 2000 for a limited run of just 300 cars. A 385bhp 5.4-litre V8 engine was placed in the nose of the fourth generation Mustang with cylinder heads that would later find a home in the 2005 Ford GT supercar. Every example was painted red and featured extenuative bodywork modifications including a splitter, enlarged intakes, and a substantial rear wing.

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1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302

The Chevrolet saw that Ford was on to a winner with the Mustang and so introduced its Camaro in 1967. This iconic rivalry lives on today, but in 1969 it caused Ford to retaliate with the Boss 302.

The small-block V8 was developed for the Trans-Am road racing cars, but was made available to the public to homologate the racer and dethrone the Camaro. This car also could be enhanced with additional bodywork that included a bonnet scoop and rear wing.

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1965 Shelby GT350

Carroll Shelby’s affiliation with Ford is the stuff of legend with the pair winning Le Mans, creating one of the most iconic two-seat sports cars, and pushing the Mustang to its limits. Shelby’s first Mustang was the GT350.

Ford would ship Shelby 'body in white' Mustangs for his team to modify and boost performance to 306bhp. While Carroll would race the hardcore GT350R, the marketing department pushed the road-going variant. It was a huge success and became a performance partnership that still exists today.

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1966 Shelby Mustang GT350H

Rental cars are usually boring economy vehicles with about as much soul as a concrete post. However, in 1966 hire company Hertz Rent-A-Car procured a handful of Shelby Mustangs and painted them black and gold. For just $17 a day you could pretend to be Carroll Shelby and Rent-A-Racer.

These cars are now highly collectable, but Hertz repeated the feat in 2006 and most recently in 2016 with a specially prepared Shelby GT-H for hire.

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Gone in 60 Seconds Eleanor Mustang

Gone in 60 Seconds is a car enthusiast's dream movie with an eclectic mix of exotic and classic motors. The star car is a Mustang, lovingly called Eleanor, that the film’s car thief star has always had trouble pilfering. Nicolas Cage has great onscreen chemistry with the troublesome muscle car, which adds to drama of a daring escape.

The car itself was a 1967 Shelby GT500, although it was modified with a customised body kit designed by Steve Stanford. A couple have since been sold at auction, but the popularity of the star car has lead to many recreations.

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Bullitt Ford Mustang Fastback GT 309

Arguably the most iconic Mustang of them all, the Highland Green star of Bullitt is part of cinema culture. A chase through the streets of San Fransisco involving a Dodge Charger R/T as the 'baddie' car delighted moviegoers. With Steve McQueen behind the wheel, this sequence it still one of the coolest things to feature on the big screen.

One of the two original Bullitt Mustangs was recently rediscovered and we got the chance to take it up the hill at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

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