Last updated: May 13. 2014 9:36AM - 1007 Views

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It hardly seems possible that the iconic Ford Mustang has turned 50 years old. Even more impossible to imagine is that there is anyone of any age who couldn’t come up with a vision of what the original classic American muscle car looked like.

The car was the 1960s brainchild of a young Ford executive by the name of Lee Iacocca, initially conceived as a compact car that just oozed style and flair. When it left the assembly line, the Mustang was sporty and included a V-8 engine — and immediately blazed a new automotive trail that sparked responses from competitors.

America owes Iacocca a debt of gratitude for the powerful pony, and his “baby” can be found scattered across Bladen County and the country.

The Mustang was the reason they ever built the Camaro and the Challenger. The Mustang is the reason they stopped building the Camaro and the Challenger. The Mustang is the reason they started building the Camaro and the Challenger again.

The Mustang debuted at the World’s Fair in New York 50 years ago, on April 17, 1964. The design was an instant hit with the public, making Mustang one of the most successful product launches of all time. Over the years, Ford’s iconic thoroughbred has remained a uniquely American car that continues to offer power and panache.

Unfortunately, Iacooa’s legacy — at least with the Ford Motor Company — wasn’t as long-lived.

Iacocca was let go by Ford in the 1980s, and he went on to revive the Chrysler Corporation. One of his most hard and fast management rules was: “Start with good people, lay out the rules, communicate with your employees, motivate them and reward them. If you do all those things effectively, you can’t miss.”

But the success of his baby, the Mustang, has continued to outshine every other aspect of Iacocca’s career. Beyond the ingenuity behind its original launch, Mustangs have remained just plain cool, classy vehicles.

There is little doubt in our mind that the Mustang will continue to be one of America’s most popular sports cars, and will enjoy another 50 years of iconic success.

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