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2024 Ford Mustang honors its iconic muscle car elder

James Raia

Only a few new cars have debuted in half-year models, and it hasn’t occurred in more than 30 years. The most well-known example of a fractured name is the 1964 1/2 Ford Mustang, the iconic muscle car known by a mid-year moniker but never marketed as such by the manufacturer.

The carmaker’s longest-tenure vehicle debuted at the New York World’s Fair as a 1965 model in April 1964. A few months later, the manufacturer made modifications but the updated cars were still 1965 models. The changes eventually prompted experts to designate the differences with the earlier model acquiring the half-year qualifier.

The 2024 Ford Mustang has new interior and exterior design. Photo by Michael Kahn © 2024.
The 2024 Ford Mustang has a new interior and exterior design. Photo © Michael Kahn/2024.

The 2024 Mustang, available since the summer of 2023, marks the first year of the car’s seventh generation. Date nuances aside, the so-called Pony car is 60 years old. It’s had work done, some good, some bad. But like many aging stars, the icon remains robust and unmistakable.

Available in five trims, the 2024 Ford Mustang ranges from the base EcoBoost (MSRP, $32,515.00) to the Dark Horse (MSRP, $60,865.00) The reviewed EcoBoost Premium Convertible (MSRP, $43,540.00) is equipped with a turbocharged 2.3-liter inline four-cylinder engine. It has 315 horsepower (five more horsepower than the 2023 model) and a standard 10-speed automatic transmission. The six-speed manual transition from previous EcoBoost models is defunct.

A 1964 1/2 Ford Mustang, the iconic muscle car's debut.
A 1964 1/2 Ford Mustang, the iconic muscle car’s debut. Image courtesy of the manufacturer.

With its loud exhaust growl and appearance, the new Mustang sounds and looks like a performance car should. It accelerates accordingly, completing the 0-60 miles per hour plateau in 4.5 seconds.

Like all Ford Mustangs, the new edition is all about driver involvement. It’s a muscle car, with a wide stance, a long snout, big tires and attitude while powering down the road. The Mustang features nothing subtle.

2024 Ford Mustang honors its iconic muscle car elder 1
The 2024 Ford Mustang has a straightforward, modern design. Photo © Michael Kahn/2023.

The convertible retains several signatures from the original, including a red (Rapid Red Metallic with a tinted clear coat) exterior and its contrasting Onyx black interior and ragtop. One popular 1965 edition featured a Poppy Red exterior, a black interior and a black cloth top. The original convertible was manually operated, of course. For 2024, it’s automated and operates smoothly, up or down, in a few seconds.

Some remembrances of yesteryear remain, notably vast Mustang badging throughout the car. It’s also featured in a projected format as night safety lighting on the ground outside both doors.

But modernization reigns, dominated by the 12.4-inch digital instrument panel that extends to a 13.2-inch infotainment screen. Combined, all prompts originate on the horizontal monitors. Cloth upholstery is standard, with vinyl, contrasting stitching and leather seat inserts available as upgrades.

The 2024 Ford Mustang is the debut of muscle car's seventh generation.
The 2024 Ford Mustang is the debut of muscle car’s seventh generation. Image © Michael Kahn/2024.

Safety features are extensive. The new Mustang, in all trim levels, includes the Ford Co-Pilot360 system as standard equipment. It features automatic emergency with pedestrian detection, blind-spot warning, forward collision warning, lane-centering assistance, rear automatic emergency braking and rear cross-traffic warning. Adaptive cruise control and speed sign recognition are available.

An active suspension feature, available on some models, is worthy. It mitigates potholes, with the vehicle minimizing how much the tires drop when negotiating road obstacles.

Comfort and convenience features include six-way power lumber seating for the driver and a four-way setting for the passenger. Ambient lighting, automatic climate control, heated and cooled seating, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel and two smart charging USB ports add to the well-stocked vehicle’s offerings.

The mix includes push button and remote starts, nearly a half-dozen driving modes, rearview camera, a universal garage door opener and a wireless charging pad. The Bang & Olufsen sound system includes 12 speakers.

With its options, the 2024 Ford Mustang, in its EcoBoost Premium Convertible format, costs about $50,000. A pristine offering from 1964 1/2 or 1965 can be purchased for the same amount. What’s old often remains coveted or maybe more desirable, particularly in enduring automobiles.

Article Last Updated: October 16, 2023.

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