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The 25 Greatest Mustangs

The Mustang contains multitudes. Although it’s never radically departed from Lee Iacocca and Donald Frey’s original formula, it has managed, over the decades, to spawn endless variants and attract loyalists of all ages and from all walks of life. Every Mustang lover has their favorite. These are the 25 that matter most to us.

 

Read the full article at Hagerty.com: https://www.hagerty.com/media/automotive-history/25-greatest-mustangs/

Replies (22)

Replies (22)

Let me get this straight.  This article was featured on the cover of the magazine for this issue, provided a nice run-down of Mustangs over the years, yet was written to tell us that "Mustangs are awful"?  That's a big slap in the face to all Mustang owners, including myself, that saw this cover and were excited to read an article about their favorite car.  I agree with the points made that the Camaro pushed Mustang to be better, but why couldn't this article just focus on the 25 greatest Mustangs?  You can have your turn to write about the 25 greatest Camaros over the years and I, along with everyone else, would be just fine reading that article.    

Passenger

Seriously? "Actually, the Best Mustang is a Camero?"  Are you trying to pick a fight with your loyal car loving insurance clients?  I really didn't see the humor in the article and I hope to see "Actually, the Best Camero is a Mustang" in your next article.  BTW, you have a picture of a 73 fastback on page 75 and not a 1971 "Eleanor" Mustang (Vertical Blinkers on the grill...to name one obvious difference.  You're welcome.)   

Passenger

The article is heavy with modified Mustangs as opposed to factory. I was going to purchase a 2011, but was not ready to open the wallet. In 2012, GT horsepower increased over 100, without an engine upgrade in price, just the normal increase for the next year. What a bargain. I have plenty of HP To spare with my 2012, GT, daily driver!

Passenger

OK, I'll say at first, not a bad list.  Although, I do see a few areas that can be "tidied up" to allow for more inclusions. First, 01-02. Just combine those into one 65 Mustang-the fastback K code. That neatly represents the first year entry.  Next, 04. I feel the Hertz Mustang can easily be grouped with the other Shelbys as other than paint and a history of rental abuse, they are the same car. Call that entry "the 65-66 Shelby Mustang".  Number 10. This car is easily forgettable and can be removed.  Yes it was a movie car, but not from that memorable of a movie, and it's not particularly a great example of the 71-73 breed. Finally, I would replace 18 with a car more deserved of that spot-the 96 Mustang Cobra(preferably in Mystic Purple). This represents the best of the jelly bean SN95 cars. OR if so inclined, the 1995 SVT Cobra R. Also, a worthy choice and even more rare.

 

Now that we've made some breathing room, here's a few great ones that are sorely missing.  The 69 Mach 1. Legendary first year of the Mach and a special Mustang. Perhaps a shaker 390 or 428.  Next, the 69-70 Shelby GT350/GT500.  This car had  unique styling, Shelby cache, and (in my opinion) is probably one of the best looking Mustangs ever made. Finally, a 72-73 Mach 1 would slot in nicely as a replacement for the 60 seconds car.  With its killer looks and legendary name, it would make a much better addition.

 

A couple of other areas of note. The fact that the 4.6 mod motor is ill represented and utterly dismissed in number 19 is as a disappointment to me. This is a motor, that offered roughly the same performance as the outgoing 5.0 in 96, and saw an evolution over the next 15 years that gave it a 100 hp increase and fair amount of street cred as a fast Mustang power plant.  Yes, its easily forgotten since the rebirth of the Coyote, but like any engine before the most current, its just a victim of advancement in technology.

 

Finally, the Camaro blurb at the end is completely unnecessary and full of falsehoods. This has been an ongoing arms race between these two cars for over 50 years with no clear winner. Some years/generations the Mustang is better, some the Camaro. And that last bit is a little subjective as well. Which is faster?, Which handles better?, Which is a better daily driver?, Which gets more looks?, etc.  Case in point, I've owned Thirdgen F-bodies, and Fox bodies.  My 85 GT would roast my 85 Trans AM from a stoplight, but the TA outhandled it and had a nicer body style and interior.  Yet the 85 GT was more comfortable to drive.  So who's to say which is the better car?  But I'll give the author one point-the Firebird is the best Camaro!

Pit Crew

The "original" Mustang certainly changed the automotive world with its simple design and at a time when young people were able to afford a "new" car with limited resources. The later 60's Muscle Mustangs certainly upped the performance. To me I would want a 68 Cobra Jet with the 428 (for dragstrip purposes),. In my youth I lived a mile from Lebanon Valley Dragstrip so I witnessed the many 60's and early 70's factory showdowns. My Dad dragged a 69 Hurst SC/Rambler there. The Boss 429's that I saw never were much for drag racing, a Boss 302 was much better. 

Some may scoff at the Mustang II, but sales don't lie, they may have saved the marque. I own a 1984 20th Anniversary Mustang (bought new) so I know what Fox body Mustangs did for the brand. The new Mustangs are just great. Unfortunately to buy a GT350 or 500 is just too much for me at this point in life. I do believe you had a very comprehensive and worthy list. Now, get out and DRIVE them.

New Driver

Are you just out to insult and drive off business? That's exactly what you have done with letting Davie Zenlea write that hack piece on #26 trashing the heritage  of the Mustang. I guess you really dont want Mustang owners business. I will start looking for options when my policy is about to renew. This is becoming quite a sore spot online with the Mustang community.

Bad move Hagerty.  

Navigator

OK, first things first. The Camaro is not the best anything. To even mention it at the end of a great article is unnecessary. They have been trying for years to be better and it has yet to happen. Second, if I was a Chevy guy I would be extremely upset that they posted a IROC-Z to bolster their case. Thanks for ranking it 26th though proving that Chevy folk still aren't super smart. If it was the best Mustang it would be number 1. Sorry math not Camaro fans strong suit and I get it. Camaro drivers have also been known to mistake a garage pull down as a noose. So there is that. Keep writing good stuff and just to be safe I would fire David Zenlea I am sure he can get a job writing bios for Camaro guys looking for love on tinder.

Passenger

“Greatest“ is relative... here’s a few notables you missed: the 66 Shelby GT350 convertible (6 produced), the 67 restyled Mustang, the 68 specials (California, High Country, etc), the 68 Shelby EXP500 couple “Green Hornet” (w/ fuel injected, independent rear suspension), the 83 Mustang convertible (the return of the convertible) in a decade, the Fox bodied specials (Maclaren, Dech, etc), the 87-93 Mustang LX 5.0 Sport - voted “best bang for the buck” Hot Rod Magazine, the 03-04 Mach 1, the 03 and (04) SVT Cobra (Terminator),  the 03 Cobra SVT 10th Anniversary Edition, the 07 Shelby GT500, the 2011 Shelby GT500 (aluminum block)... I’m missing lots of others for sure 😉

Passenger

I thought my 1967 Mustang was pretty studly back in high school. A special order car by a owner/dealer in Maryland, he sold it to me on a Wednesday night (cash) in 1969. He had the new Torino (429?)  that he had just bought next to it. He had on a gold badge on the Mustang's dash "This car specially made for (his name)" from the Ford factory. First thing I removed.

Red convertible, Boss decal above the GT side stripe, cobra snake on console and gas cap, 390 engine w/4 bbl carb, 4 speed stick, black Cragar Mags, 8 track tape, bucket seats, red interior, white top. All Factory. I could beat most anything off the line, including the hot Camaros, GTO's, Nova's. I just could not catch the Vette's, **bleep** them.

Maybe in the top 26 Mustangs of all time. Well, to me anyway.

 

Passenger

As a family that owns a number of classics, all insured by Hagerty and including a 1992 Mustang LX and a 1967 El Camino, we were enjoying the article on the top 25 Mustangs, until my wife (the owner of the LX) read the page on #26 "Actually, the best Mustang is a Camero" aloud to everyone. Not impressed!  What was David Zenlea trying to accomplish with this supposed "tongue-in-cheek" piece, ending with "Mustangs are awful"?   To alienate the Mustang crowd and reduce Hagerty's insurance customer base?  All classics are amazing and precious to their owners - we should celebrate each others' vehicles versus slam them.  While our collection is mostly Fords, we love our El Camino (tongue-in-cheek, "despite it being a Chevy") as a beautiful, powerful vehicle that proudly turns heads whenever we show her or go for a cruise.  As does our 92 LX.  Last week, our body shop did some maintenance on a 1984 Dodge Spirit for a customer - yeah, a Dodge Spirit.  Not to our taste, but the owner loves the car - it is in absolutely mint condition. So there is a car for everyone, and we respect that, not criticize it.  

 

And we agree with other community members about the absence of the LX on the list.  Proven on the track time and time again!

Passenger

So one of my Mustangs-a 69 428SCJ 4 speed Mustang Mach1 - isn't on the list? I think Hagerty's valuation on this car is proof enough it is one of the best. I tire of these BS lists. My 70 GT350 Shelby vert never makes these lists but to me it is one of the best of all time for a variety of reasons. I've owned many Mustangs including Boss 429s and 302s and this one has been a staple for 35 years with me. Opinions... everyone has one...

New Driver

Biggest missing of all the 1987-93 Mustang LX. The car that gave all the performance of the GT with a lower price and was actually faster due to lower weight. These are by far more popular than any drop top GT. Very disappointing by Hagerty. 

Passenger

Having owned a number of Mustangs since 1972, I feel that you really did do your homework.  I especially liked the mentions of the King Cobra, 82 GT, SVO and Saleen Mustangs, all of which carried the flag through the late seventies and 80's.  I have also owned a number of Camaros as well, and many other American performance cars too.  They were all unique in some ways, and I liked them all.  They all still bring back great memories of times that weren't, umm, so stressful.  I also appreciated David Zenlea's tongue-in-cheek article about the Camaro and didn't take offense since I have frequently made similar comments in past.  All you have to do is substitute "Mustang" and "Camaro" for any competing cars past and present and you have the narrative of brand loyal gearheads for decades.  Finally, I think the Camaro's best days are behind it--the Mustang's?  Not so much.  And let's face it, competition does make the products better.

Navigator

WAIT.... Wha ???  The 2001 Bullet... over the 2000 SVT Mustang Cobra R model ??  Blasphemy ! 

New Driver

Great to see the '68 Cobra Jet get some recognition.

It was a major milestone in Mustang history.

Passenger

The Mustang is certainly an icon. Drove our first born home from the hospital in a 66 coupe, owned a new 71 sportroof, a new 75 Mach1 and later restored a 66 convertible with A code V8 and 4 speed. The current New Mustang is the best looking, performing Mustang yet. Ford has done a great job keeping the Mustang alive and making it the best selling sports car!

New Driver

Let’s get the Camaro thing out of the way the Firebird was the best Camaro. Pontiac always was more creative than Chevy. GTO? Lemans? 1969-70 Grand Prix

now for the Mustang missed? 1999 SVT Cobra first independent rear suspension handles very well on the street in emergency maneuvers and the Tail of the Dragon!

as for interesting landmark recall due to intake manifold casting. Didn’t make horsepower and caused no 2000 Cobra made. However spawned the Terminator!

no Camaro other than the Z28 has the creed or legend attached. Cadillac did all the development for the Camaro and borrowed the rest from the Corvettes parts bin.   

Passenger

You forgot the greatest Mustang ever!  My '69 Meadowlark Yellow convertible with a black top and interior.  It was a relatively stock car when I bought it in 1998 from an elderly lady.  Someone had installed full dual exhausts on the car but it still had its original engine/transmission/rear end.  I restored the car to its original appearance, added some factory/dealer available options like dual racing mirrors, chrome rallye wheels and an original luggage rack.  The 302 got rebuilt right at 100K miles and is now a .040 over 308.  The engine has a 351W cam, changing the firing order, JB flat top pistons, an Edelbrock aluminum intake, a Barry Grant Road Demon 4V carb, a pair of Ford GT40P heads, Ford Motorsport roller rockers, anti-pump up lifters, custom tri-Y headers and the greatest sounding set of electric cutouts you ever heard right behind the collectors.  The C4 transmission has a shift kit installed.  The rear gears were 2.79s and are now 3.55s.  Its best pass at the local drag strip was a 14.308 @ 99.1 mph.  Besides all this, it has won 31 trophies and plaques in the 21 years I have owned and showed it.  I love this car!  Since I've owned it I have bought and sold a couple of 4th gen Z28 Camaros, a '69 L36 427 Corvette coupe,an '09 C6 Corvette coupe and a '95 Bronco XLT.  Actually I still have the C6 and the XLT, but I would sell them well before I would consider selling my little standard Mustang vert.

Pit Crew

Top 25 Mustangs could include Carroll Shelby's 2006 Mustang Terlingua.  This little known Shelby was not a production car, but built @ Carroll's factory in Vegas.  It is a 3.8 V-6, but with a Paxton Supercharger, it puts out over 375 HP.  I have a 2013 Terlingua and it could be one of a kind.

New Driver

Interesting article. I've owned 10 Mustangs, including a '65 GT350, '66 GT350H 4 speed, a '65 GT 289 HP K-code GT fastback, a '66 289 C-code fastback, several '65 & '66 convertibles, and a 2009 GT500 convertible. I always swore my first car would be a 1966 Fastback, and it was-a crappy Michigan rust bucket, missing 6" of each fender, but it was what I could afford as an out-of-state student at U of M. From there it has been upward and onward, to the GT500 I own now. Most of them have been great cars. I've only had 1 Camaro-a new 1983 Z-28-white with two-tone blue trim-a great looking car but the transmission was needing a rebuild at 12000 miles and it broke alternator belts once a month. So no more Camaros, but the SS and the Eco Mustang I recently rented, were quite an eye opener due to these new 10 speed transmissions. The Mustangs keep getting better and better. Too bad its the only car Ford makes now.

New Driver

2019 Bullitt,  not only unique,   BUT MOST POWERFUL NATURALLY ASPIRED 308" Mustangs ever built from factory,  @ 480hp rated.

Many hav been dyno'ing stock at over 430hp too the wheels. @ under $50k dollars out the door.

So on the chassis dyno's , they are closer too 440 whl/

500hp stock @ crankshaft,   

real world.

All for way under $50k.

Seen several brand new 2019's recently under $42k out the door. 

480+hp under $42k ???

Um.  YEAH... Clearly  OF THE GREATEST MUSTANGS EVER TO BE MADE AVAILABLE TO PUBLIC, &  NO TURBOS TO FLY APART,

or Supercharger systems to wear out the Eng @ under 50-60k miles. 

 

 An All motor @500hp, &

should be rated ABOVE Almost all but the BOSS 429.

'19 with its MAGnetic ride 4 corner Shocks, 

Active Exhaust system w/ 4 settings, burnout Line Loc, Rpm preset Launch Controller, 

Several active Temp monitors on Eng, Cyl Head, Rearend Diff, w/real 2" gauges in dash for oil pressure, & other features like Eng Vacuum, to monitor things like ring seal variations,  &  performance output monitoring via eng Delta P's..

 

Yes, the Boss 9 is the Baddest of the bad,  but could not hold a candle to this New,

"Nod too Steve McQueen",

in its 50th anniversary edition to the iconic actors Movie,  and 1 of his all time fav cars,

( 390GT rigged his way for film)

As he hand picked that green fastback, for the movie. 

 

Then tried to buy it bk in '77,

3 yrs before he died of cancer.

Recently sold @ Over 3+ million,  (for a 390GT W/not enuff hp to keep up with the Dodge Charger)

in the movie,  while shoot scenes that were off camera, edited out.

 

  Of coarse on camera, it (GT390) kept up W/440. 

 

Now, that '19 Bullitt,  would run circles around both the GT390,

& the 440 Charger today, everyday!

 

If you dont believe it.  Just go test drive a new Bullitt. 

It Revs to 7400. 

Peak 480hp rated @ 7000rpms. 

All N/A, no power adders.

 

You guys here @ Hagerty do a great job on these lists,  and nearly all on it are deserved.  Even Cobra II sold a ton, why we hav no idea but cuz Charlie's Anglels show..lol..

 

But to list the '01 Bullitt, on here,

  and leave off the most powerful NA 5.0L Bullitt car ever built, 

& @ under $50k for 480+??

 

&  Way under that 50k price,  if u wheel/deal on it.  No other car can compare for the money !@!@!@

 

U gotta draw the line in sand somewhere,   so it might as well be in the pocket book part,

  cause otherwise we would all own GT 500's w/ Blowers,  @ over $100k+..

 

or the out of production GT350 @ over $60k, w/526hp.

Put headers & E85 tune on that 480hp Bullitt,  & your at the same hp ++,  as the gt350,

but @1000+ rpms less,& $20K less.

 

"RPM" on Gt350/500s,  stand for

'R-uins P-eoples M-otors'

 

"Bite the Bullet,  & Buy the Bullitt"

Wont regret it, nor will ur pocket book!

Redo the list, drop the 4.6L plug spitting 2001 Stang,

& put the real deal Bullitt McQueen, would, WITHOUT DOUBT,  drive today on that list of yours, GUYS !@!@! 

The 480hp '19 VERSION,  on the LIST Now !@!@! 

Nuff said!

     

.  Btw, owned a few Stangs myself...

'71, Mach 1, 351C 4 bbl, Steering/Brakes/AC car,  w/factory Hood Locks, & more. 

Fast,  and awesome driver.

 

Also we owned the,

'1st Ever, Fox Body car that had many options,   like rear posi, factory sway bars, and perf pk - Alum wheels, in a

1979 model,  Cobra Turbo Mustang.

Rare find they are these days.. 

   

Oh, yeah. & we got a '19 Bullitt,

(Obviously)

$41,305 OTD,  during covid.

  Almost @ $40k @ nearly 500hp

Bought it New, off lot, 

w/21 miles, all w/480 Factory Rated ponies.

More like 495+hp factory. 

Total blast to corner carve

w/4 diff driving modes, & power EVERYTHING, beat in class  in a Sport Cruiser 6 spd Row boat !@! @ this price point.  PERIOD!@!

New Driver

Last one. Is that a jab, or a complement? 

Intermediate Driver