It’s not easy to follow a legend, as this Ford Mustang I found at a local grocery store demonstrates (obviously not this exact Mustang; I didn’t have a camera on me). It’s the 1971-1973 fastback that succeeded the legendary 1960s ‘Stangs.
The Mustang launched midway through 1964 and a spectacular hit parade followed. There were Shelby GT350s and GT500s, Boss 302s and 429s, and the Mach 1. All were clothed in sheetmetal that has become so iconic that Ford revived it in 2005.
The 1971 Mustang wasn’t that successful. It was considered too ungainly, and perhaps its styling was a little too forward-thinking. Still, as the ‘60s wound down, the first few iterations of Mustang style were popular, but not the hallowed legends they are today. It’s hard to blame Ford for trying something new.
This less-loved Mustang had its good points, too. Like its predecessors, there were performance versions (Mach 1, Boss 351), and it starred in the original Gone in 60 Seconds. Also, it was infinitely better than the Pinto-based Mustang II that succeeded it.
Ford is getting ready to roll out a new Mustang for the 2015 model year and, as in 1971, there’s talk of radically new styling. Will it become a new Mustang icon or fade away like this grocery getter? That all depends on what it looks like.