Since its mid-1960s debut, the Ford Mustang has gone from a subtle coupe-like appearance to a sleek, scalloped profile evocative of race cars. Over the years, Ford ditched four seats for two in its Mustang and experimented with multiple design platforms, with the sixth-generation Mustang resembling the first generation more than any intervening iteration.
With the first generation, Ford established the Mustang's signature silhouette: a long hood and a short rear deck. This "pony" car had a blunt nose on three body styles, which were fastback, notchback and convertible.
The mid-1970s Mustang II was Pinto-based and available in a coupe, hatchback and special luxury Ghia model. The frameless door glass and leather T-top were defining design innovations, and the actual car was lighter than the Mustang I, owing partly to a smaller engine. Ford momentarily stopped manufacturing the Mustang convertible and abandoned the V8 engine.
The sedan-inspired Mustang III was the boxiest generation. Its wire wheels and whitewall tires bore little resemblance to the Mustang I. However, the leather T-top vanished, and convertible models made a comeback on the Ford assembly line. This generation's four front headlights and rounded front "aero"-style clip added memorable accents.
The aesthetic qualities of the Mustang IV and models of later generations are more closely aligned to those of the Mustang I. Major differences include the incorporation of large grilles, a lowered and widened body, an increased cockpit size and trendy new colors.