In the 51 years since Ford first debuted the original Mustang back in 1964, some pretty amazing cars have hit the road...and some not-so-amazing ones. Hey, when you've been making some of the world's most popular cars for over half a century, not every one is going to be perfect, right? For example, Mustang fans generally try to forget anything that came out in the late 1970s. Then, there are these Mustangs. They're still awesome, but perhaps not quite as awesome as the legends they've built up.
10. 1984 GT350
Originally thought up as a 20th anniversary package, the 1984 GT350 is like its Shelby predecessor in stripes only. It makes the list because some elevate it to the level of being an actual Shelby. Some styling tweaks on the inside, along with those stripes, formed a neat appearance package, but a legit Shelby it wasn't.
9. The SN-95 Era
The 1994 Mustang brought with it a lot of promise. It was a fairly radical redesign that even seemed somewhat retro at the time. Under the skin, though, it was still essentially the same Mustang that had been rolling down the road since 1979.
8. The "7-Up" and 1992-1993 limited edition "Feature" convertibles
Ford made a series of limited edition convertibles starting in 1989 with an ill-fated ad coordination with 7-Up. A series of green and white cars was supposed to correspond with some TV spots that never materialized. A few years later, a trio of "Feature" cars were made in red, white, and yellow. Beyond some unique color combinations, none of these cars had any mechanical differences.
7. 1987-1993 Fox Body GTs
For a while, the car known simply as "The 5.0" was a truly revered car that developed an almost cultish following as it aged into the late 1990s...until Vanilla Ice's affinity for it kinda made Fox Bodies uncool. The thing is, the GT package was just a body kit, and the cheaper LXs (especially the non-hatchback versions) were quite a bit faster.
6. The Mach 3 Concept
In 1993, this two-seater with a 450 hp supercharged engine was supposed to be a glimpse into the near future of Mustangs. Instead, a similar engine didn't come to fruition until nearly a decade later, and obviously no Mustang will ever be a true roadster like the Mach 3.
5. 1996 Mystic Cobra
In general, the 1996 Cobra came with plenty to be desired, due in large part to a partially hand-built engine pumping out over 300 hp, and the option to buy color-shifting paint for the first time ever on a Mustang. In theory, Mystic paint shifts between hues of purple and green depending on how the light strikes it. In reality, those hues tend to blend together into a sort of shimmery brown unless the light is just perfect.
4. 1968 California Special convertible
The GT/CS, as it's often referred to, is a special package designed purely for Californians (though you could also order it as a "High Country Special" in Colorado). Today, it commands a premium above many other Mustangs, because the body is as close as you'll get in appearance to a Shelby without being a Shelby. Under the skin, though, it's just like any other Mustang.
3. 1971-1973 "Windsor" Mach 1
The 1971-1973 Mach 1s are legendary...with either a 351 "Cleveland" V8 or a 429 monster under the hood. You could, however, get them with a 302 Windsor, which is a vastly different engine that barely produced 200 hp. A Mach 1 with this engine isn't exactly bad, but it is trading off the good name of its bigger brothers, who rightly earned their laurels.
2. The 1964.5 Mustang*
From a historical standpoint, the car is epic, and the one shown is one of two considered to be the very first ever sold (Yeah, two. That's a whole other story). From a performance standpoint, though, the infant ponycar had a long ways to go. As Carroll Shelby said when Lee Iacocca (a.k.a. The Father of the Mustang) told him to make a sportier version, "Lee, you can't make a race horse out of a mule. I don't want to do it."
*Technically, there's no such thing as a 1964.5 Mustang. There's a certain coolness factor in saying "sixty four and a half," because it debuted in mid-1964, but all of the VINs show 1965.
1. Shelby GT500 KR
Unlike its GT350 sibling, the GT500 wasn't built to dominate on race tracks. Instead, the GT500 was built to look cool while driving down the road—hence its King of the Road (KR) moniker. While there's no denying the awesome sound of the engine, it's a car that didn't have the same global impact of the GT350. Incidentally, it wasn't the original Eleanor. Ultimately, it took quite a few years before the GT500 KR achieved its collector car status.