Ford Mustang hits exclusive 10-million mark, sports car record
Ford Mustang: 54 years of the iconic muscle car
When Samuel Crawford's grade-school teacher asked her students what they wanted to do when they grew up, his classmates said they wanted to be doctors, lawyers and accountants. Sam said he wanted to build Mustangs, and his classmates laughed.
"The '64 Mustang had just come out," Crawford said. "All I could think about was that brand new pony car."
Of his 31 years at Ford's assembly plant in Flat Rock, Michigan, Crawford, has spent the last nine putting racing stripes on Mustangs. Today, he will join thousands of Ford workers celebrating production of the 10 millionth Mustang.
"I do what I said I wanted to do," he said. "I didn't know how they were built, but I knew I wanted to be a part of it. And I have worked on 4,000 or 5,000 Mustangs."
The iconic vehicle has been America's best-selling sports car in the last half century and the world's top-selling sports car three years in a row.
Perhaps the vehicle's greatest endorsement: It will be the only car remaining in the Ford brand lineup after the automaker soon eliminates the rest of the brand's passenger cars, including the Taurus.
"Mustang is the heart and soul of this company," said Jim Farley, Ford president of global markets. "I get the same thrill seeing a Mustang roll down a street in Detroit, London or Beijing that I felt when I bought my first car, a 1966 Mustang coupe that I drove across the country as a teenager."
The 10 millionth Ford Mustang is a high-tech, 460-horsepower 2019 Wimbledon White GT eight-cylinder, six-speed manual convertible equipped with driver assist technology and built in Flat Rock. The first serialized Mustang (VIN 001) produced in 1964 was the same color and model with a three-speed manual transmission and 164-horsepower V8.
'It gives you goosebumps'
Tra Von Palmer, 42, a final area manager at Flat Rock, oversees overall trim and chassis assembly that involves carpet, instrument panels, airbags, tires, seats and fluid fills.
"Honestly, the sound of the engine when they start up the vehicle at the end of the line? It gives you goose bumps. Every time," Palmer said. "It's like a deep growl that settles down in a hum. It's not something you ever get used to."
Palmer owns a black 2000 convertible GT he helped build as an hourly worker.
"We have a sense of pride with this vehicle," said Palmer, a 24-year employee whose father started with Ford as an hourly worker, too.
During its 54-year production history, Mustang has been built in San Jose, California, Metuchen, New Jersey, and the original production facility in Dearborn, Michigan. All Mustangs are built in Flat Rock now.
Mustang is the nation's best-selling sports car, based on Ford's analysis of 1966-2018 total new vehicle cumulative registrations for all sports car segments supplied by IHS Markit.
Chevrolet built more than 1.6 million Corvettes and more than 5.5 million Camaros, which didn't see production between 2003 and 2009.
The most of any car model sold, is the Toyota Corolla, at 44 million in 52 years, said Curtis D. McAllister, a Toyota spokesman.
"Many vehicles have hit the 10 million mark over the years, but they tend to be either practical family cars — like the Volkswagen Passat and Honda Accord — or long-running, utilitarian haulers — like the Ford F-150," said Matt Anderson, curator of transportation at The Henry Ford museum. "Mustang is a fun car — something owners tend to purchase as a second — or maybe third — vehicle rather than a one-and-only daily driver. That makes Mustang’s 10 million milestone all the more impressive."