Fifty years after Mustang’s debut, the one-millionth Flat Rock assembled pony car was built today. The potential owner of the Ruby Red 2014 convertible was unknown, as the celebration took place nine years after Mustang final assembly was moved to Flat Rock, Michigan.
Introduced in April 1964 at the New York World’s Fair, Mustang caught GM and Chrysler napping as it proved immensely popular and without competition, creating a new class of vehicles in the process, dubbed pony cars after the original one. Success was so great that it gave rise to the quip at Ford that there were no so many claimed fathers of the Mustang, one would hate to be the mother.
The Rouge assembly plant could not satisfy demand. By early 1965, plants in Metuchen, NJ and San Jose, CA were also building Mustang. Less than two years later, on 2 March1966, the one-millionth Mustang rolled off the line in Dearborn. To date, Ford has produced and sold more than 8.5 million Mustangs.
The Mustang was built at the Rouge, a few minutes from company headquarters, for four decades before moving a few miles south to Flat Rock in 2004. The launch of Mustang production at Flat Rock coincided with introduction of the then all-new fifth-generation model – first in the series to get a dedicated platform and a sign then of Ford’s age-old inability to merge its myriad architectures.
In addition to the standard V6 and the V8-powered GT model, Mustangs out of Flat Rock have included several special editions:
- In 2006 Flat Rock built a limited run of black and gold Shelby GT-H coupes for Hertz rental fleets to commemorate the 1966 Shelby GT350H rental car
- In 2007 the debut of the SVT Shelby GT500 with a supercharged 5.4-liter V8 rated at 500 horsepower, the most ever for a Mustang
- For the 2008 and 2009 model years, the Mustang lineup included the Bullitt, after the car driven by the title character in the 1968 film
- For the 2012 and 2013 model years, Flat Rock built the track-optimized Boss 302
- Flat Rock produced numerous competition versions of Mustang, including the FR500, Boss 302R and the Cobra Jet drag racer
Flat Rock factory has made vehicles since 1987, when it opened as Mazda Motor Manufacturing USA and built the Mazda MX-6. In 1992 Ford purchased a 50% share in the plant and it was renamed AutoAlliance International. Flat Rock has produced the Mazda 626, Mazda6, Mercury Cougar and Ford Probe. In addition to Mustang, Flat Rock will add production of the Fusion sedan later this year.