1964. The Beatles had kicked off the musical British Invasion. LBJ was president. The Cold War was heating up in places like Vietnam. A World’s Fair in New York City was promising a new tomorrow of technology and wonder.  And on January 23 of that year the Smithsonian opened the Museum of American History.

Today, all of the above are gone with the exception of the History Museum. To celebrate its founding year, in 2014 the renown facility showcased 3 exhibits dealing with the time of its early 1960s establishment.

In April of 1964, the Ford Motor Company debuted its Ford Mustang at its pavilion at the New York World’s Fair, 6 months before it normally would. The company promised that this was a new type of car for a new generation.

It had a sporty look, a compact size, and, for the time, a low price. It evoked the spirit and the excitement of the open road. Unlike Ford’s actual sports car. the T-Bird, it could seat 4 people.

Immediately the 1964 car seen in the picture above did live up to its trendsetting pledge. By 1966, more than 1 million Mustangs had been sold. It had even become the subject of a top-selling record by Wilson Pickett.

The Mustang was shepherded through production by a young man who himself would become quiet a name in the auto industry. That man was Lee Iacocca.