February 1, 2020 | By Ted Kade

Over the decades since it was introduced in April 1964, the Ford Mustang has undergone numerous changes in looks and personality.

When it first arrived, it was a small, sporty-looking coupe based on Falcon underpinnings and often powered by an inline six fed through an automatic transmission. For added performance, you could move up to a 260 cid and shortly thereafter a 289 cid V-8. As Ford Motor had intended, young people were instantly attracted to the styling, size and easy handling of the Mustang and they turned it into an instant hit.

But then for ’65 Ford and Carroll Shelby introduced the Shelby GT 350, a vehicle built for sports car racing with a 306-horsepower V-8.

And as the ’60s progressed, the Mustang grew in size and larger, more powerful engines were offered, such as the 390 cid V-8 found in the Mustang GT that gained attention when one was raced through the streets of San Francisco in the 1968 movie “Bullitt” with Steve McQueen as a detective who used his high-performance pony to chase down a couple of bad guys in a 440 Dodge Charger. And if that wasn’t enough to make your heart pump faster, Ford offered pony cars such as the 1968 Mustang 428 Cobra Jet with a 428 cid V-8 that reportedly turned out 410 horsepower.

Then, with the downsizing of the 1970s, Ford introduced the Mustang II for the 1974 model year, a car that was nearly 500 pounds lighter and 19 inches shorter than the 1973 Mustang and based on the subcompact Pinto platform.

The Mustang grew again for 1979 and continued to add power and options over the past 41 years but it always remained true to one basic aspect…at its roots, it was a sporty coupe.

Moving Into a New Era

Now, for the first time in 55 years, Ford says it’s “expanding the Mustang family, bringing the famous pony into the electric age with Mustang Mach-E,” an all-electric SUV/crossover “born of the same allAmerican ideals that inspired the bestselling sports coupe in the world.”

Commenting on this all-new vehicle, Bill Ford, the company’s executive chairman said: “At the first-ever Detroit auto show (in 1907), Henry Ford said he was working on something that would strike like forked lightning. That was the Model T. Today, the Ford Motor Company is proud to unveil a car that strikes like forked lightning all over again. The allnew, all-electric Mustang Mach-E. It’s fast. It’s fun. It’s freedom. For a new generation of Mustang owners.”

The company states in no uncertain terms that its “Mach-E is instantly recognizable as a Mustang, thanks to signature elements such as its long, powerful hood, rear haunch design, aggressive headlights and trademark tri-bar taillamps.”

Ford also asserts that this is no ordinary SUV/crossover, but one that truly includes the sporty spirit of the company’s iconic Mustang. As Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s chief product development and purchasing officer put it: “The Mustang Mach-E wholeheartedly rejects the notion that electric vehicles are only good at reducing gas consumption. People want a car that’s thrilling to drive, that looks gorgeous and that can easily adapt to their lifestyle and the Mustang Mach-E delivers all of this in unmatched style.”

As with Mustang over the years, the Mach-E will be available with different levels and types of equipment, starting late this year with a basic rear-wheel drive version that’s “targeted” to have a range of 300 miles between charges and priced at around $45,000. There also will be an extended-range all-wheel-drive version which Ford says is targeted for 332 horsepower and 417 lb.-ft. of torque. Then in the spring of 2021 Ford plans to introduce a GT version that’s “targeting” 0-60 mph acceleration under 4 seconds and a GT Performance Edition with a 0-60 time in the mid-3-second range.

But since this is an SUV/crossover, performance is only part of the picture and passenger and storage space are of equal importance. Ford says the Mach-E has what it takes in that area as well.

The company states that the Mach-E is “Designed with SUV-size proportions to seat five adults comfortably” and therefore has “plenty of space for friends, kids and cargo.”

The vehicle’s rear trunk has 29 cubic feet of space and with the rear seats down that grows to 59.6 cubic feet which Ford says is “more than enough room for luggage, camping gear or whatever else you may want to move around.” And since there’s no engine up front, there’s another 4.8 cubic feet of space there. Furthermore, that front trunk is lined with plastic and is drainable so folks “can easily pack it full of ice and keep their favorite beverages cold—perfect for that pre-game tailgate or trip to the beach.”

Still, do styling details, along with the pony’s famous “Mach” designation that’s been used over the years truly make this a Mustang? How about it, readers, what do you think? –Ted Kade, Editor