The Ford Mustang is an automobile manufactured by the Ford Motor Company. It was initially based on the platform of the second generation North American Ford Falcon, a compact car. Introduced early on April 17, 1964, and thus dubbed as a "1964½" model by Mustang fans, the 1965 Mustang was the automaker's most successful launch since the Model A. The Mustang has undergone several transformations to its current fifth generation.
The Mustang created the "pony car" class of American automobiles—sports car-like coupes with long hoods and short rear decks—and gave rise to competitors such as the Chevrolet Camaro, and Pontiac Firebird, AMC Javelin, as well as Chrysler's revamped Plymouth Barracuda and the first generation Dodge Challenger. The Mustang is also credited for inspiring the designs of coupés such as the Toyota Celica and Ford Capri, which were imported to the United States.
Muscle car is a term used to refer to a variety of high-performance automobiles. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines muscle cars as "any of a group of American-made 2-door sports coupes with powerful engines designed for high-performance driving." A large V8 engine is fitted in a 2-door, rear wheel drive, family-style mid-size or full-size car designed for four or more passengers. Sold at an affordable price, muscle cars are intended for mainly street use and occasional drag racing. They are distinct from two-seat sports cars and expensive 2+2 GTs intended for high-speed touring and road racing. Developed simultaneously in their own markets, muscle cars also emerged from manufacturers in Australia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere.
A sports car (sportscar) is a small, usually two seat, two door automobile designed for spirited performance and nimble handling. Sports cars may be spartan or luxurious but high maneuverability and minimum weight are requisite.
The Shelby is a higher performance variant of the Ford Mustang which was built by Shelby American from 1965 through 1967, and Shelby Automotive from 1968 through 1970. Following the introduction of the fifth generation Ford Mustang, the Shelby nameplate was revived in 2007 for new high performance versions of the Mustang.