It's an old auto industry cliche -- "you can't sell a young man an old man's car, but you can sell an old man a young man's car." It's also true. The sporty Mustang was a young man's -- and woman's -- car. The under-30 crowd loved it. But older people also bought them, often as a second car. The Mustang hit a sweet spot in the market, appealing to a wide range of buyers.
Within a year of the initial release, 418,812 Mustangs were sold. By the end of the model year, in the fall of 1965, almost 681,000 cars found their way into owners’ garages.
It was an unprecedented smash, and only the beginning of a five-decade run that shows no sign of stopping. What was the secret of the Mustang’s success? It was the right car at the right time. Lee Iacocca’s instincts on the baby boomers were dead on. Young people wanted a car that looked sporty, had a modest price, and could be accessorized to their individual tastes. General Motors, Chrysler and AMC had nothing to match it, giving Ford a lock on an untapped market.