51 Years of Mustang: A Look Back

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The iconic Ford Mustang turned 51 today. On April 17, 1964, the Ford Mustang debuted at New York’s World’s Fair. It was so well-received that nearly 22,000 of them were sold that very day – a sentiment that would follow it through the next 51 years.

Before Jack Roush created ROUSH Industries, Inc., he was an employee of Ford Motor Company. He had received his mathematics degree with a minor in physics from Berea College in 1964 and moved to Detroit to work for Ford that same year – the year of the Mustang’s birth.

It was during his time at Ford that Roush was drawn to the company’s extensive motorsports activities. In 1966, he joined a group of racing enthusiasts called “The Fastbacks.” After leaving Ford, he partnered with Wayne Gapp in 1970 in a racing venture that would see the duo attract national attention by winning many national events and one championship each in NHRA, IHRA and AHRA with their Pro Stock race cars (including a 1969 Ford Mustang and 1974 Mustang II). He went on to earn his Master’s Degree in Mathematics from Eastern Michigan University in 1970. Six years later, Jack Roush Performance Engineering was born from Roush’s track success and reputation as a knowledgeable performance engineer – it thrived. Although he gave up operating a race team in the late ‘70’s, the company stayed very much involved and built engines for other teams into the early ‘80’s.NB_25JackRoush

Roush returned to racing in the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) road racing series in 1984 at the encouragement of Ford. After claiming 24 national championships and titles in the two series (including 12 manufacturer’s championships) and winning 119 races, he captured 10 consecutive sedan class championships at 24 Hours of Daytona. He launched his first NASCAR Cup team in 1988 (again, with Ford’s encouragement), before joining forces with Robert and Doug Yates to form Roush Yates Engines in 2005, and two years later joining Roush Racing with Fenway Sports Group to form Roush Fenway Racing.

You can see that Ford and the Mustang both played a huge part in the way Jack Roush’s empire was formed. Starting in 1995, Roush joined with Ford to crank out ROUSH Mustangs, and the tradition continues to this day, with the 2015 RS, Stage 1, Stage 2, and Stage 3 Mustangs.

Today, you can’t drive down the street without seeing at least one Mustang – whether it be a four-cylinder, V6, V8, or one of our very own ROUSH Mustangs. We’re excited to continue the tradition of producing incredible cars for the world to enjoy. Here’s to another 51 years!

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