The Mustang sold in coupé, convertible, and, later, fastback coupé forms, with engines ranging from 3.3-liter straight-six to 4.7-liter V8. This V8 hardtop coupé was by far the most popular. For the eighth year running, the full-size Fords were a totally new looking car. But it was not just the full-size models that were new.
The Falcon, Fairlane and Thunderbird were all given major restyles, and to top it all off at mid-year the sensational new Mustang would hit the dealers' showrooms. All of this excitement led Motor Trend magazine to award the entire Ford line its Car of the Year award. Here's a run-down on the entire line from the bottom up. The Falcon received its first restyling since introduction. The new, more angular and modern looking themes brought the Falcon up to a styling par with the Rambler American and put it ahead of the Chevy II and Valiant. The larger Fairlane's 200 CID 6-cylinder was now offered in the Falcon also. The Sprint package was now a regular model offering, and the 2-Door Station Wagons were dropped in the restyling.
At the World's Fair in New York, on April 17, 1964, Ford created a major sensation with the introduction of the sporty Mustang. The Mustang offered something the up and coming muscle cars couldn't. A relatively simple, straightforward car, easy to drive and easy to work on, it was very stylish, available with just about any option the customer wanted to put on the car, and most importantly very affordable. The Mustang was based upon the Falcon, which helped to keep costs down and provided for the car's simplicity. Powerplants were picked from those already in the Ford line, and initially included the 170 CID 6-cylinder and the 260 CID V8. Initial model offerings included the 2-Door Hardtop and Convertible in base models only. A Mustang 2-Door Convertible was picked to be the Official Pace Car for the 1964 Indianapolis 500 race. For purposes of comparison, the early "1964" Mustang models are listed here with the 1964 models, because Ford kept production and sales records in this manner.
The restyled Fairlane shed its small tail fins and gained a sportier flair in its bodyside styling with a fake louvered vent. Cruise-O-Matic was now available for the mid-sized Ford. The only model change was the discontinuance of the Squire "wood-grained" Station Wagon model. As mentioned previously, the full-size Ford line was given a major overhaul once again. The styling was typical Ford, with more rounded lines as compared to the 1963 models. All hardtop models gained a semi-fastback roofline appearance. Emphasis was placed on quality and ride, giving Ford a slight edge on its competition. To keep up in the horsepower race, a new 427 CID V8 engine was introduced.
As with other companies, the engine was developed on the race track before being offered to the public. Changes to the model line included renaming the 300 and Galaxie base models to Custom and Custom 500. Also, the Galaxie 500 and 500 XL lines dropped their regular 2-Door Hardtop models in favor of the new fastback styling. Finally, the Thunderbird was restyled and given sharper lines that brought it more into line with other Ford models, while still retaining a Thunderbird identity. One departure from past T-Birds was the switch from round taillights to a rectangular shape separated by a backup light in the center. The Sports Roadster model was officially dropped, although the Tonneau cover was listed as an option at $269.