Johannesburg - Described by many as the heart and soul of Ford, the Mustang is credited with single-handedly creating the American pony-car class back in 1964.

So hungry was the market for such a car that Ford sold more than 22 000 of them on the day it was unveiled and the success story has spawned six generations, with the 10 millionth unit rolling off the assembly line in April this year.

South Africa only recently got in on the action, officially at least, when the latest-generation became available in right-hand-drive for the first time, allowing Ford South Africa to import the muscle car.

But if you ever need a reminder of what we’ve missed out on in the last 54 years, these neat graphics created by Australian Insurance company Budget Direct will fill you in on how the basic shape of the Mustang evolved through the decades.

Although the latest-generation Mustang still carries much of the original’s design flavour, it has modernised beneath the skin, featuring independent rear suspension and the latest cabin electronics while engine choices are between a modern direct injection turbocharged four and a more old-school normally aspirated V8.

The first-gen is still regarded as the most iconic, also spawning the fastback that won silver screen fame in the 1968 movie Bullitt.

The smaller ‘oil crisis ready’ second-generation of 1974 is regarded by many as a low-point in Mustang history, initially not even available with a V8 engine, and the ‘Fox body’ ‘Stang that followed in the late seventies didn’t do much to improve things.

The Mustang returned to its roots in 1994 with a design that was largely inspired by the original of 30 years earlier, while the fifth-gen that came a decade later was unashamedly retro.

Neither of these two generations were particularly sophisticated when compared to modern sports cars, something that the latest version seeks to rectify to some degree.

IOL Motoring