The Year Australia was sold a Pup and not a Pony

06 September 2012
Australians were tempted by the possibility of a factory delivered Mustang as early as 1964 as an image booster for local Falcon six-cylinder models.

The Mustang was the first US pony car prepared by an Australian arm of the original manufacturer for local Right Hand Drive requirements before it was officially sold across the entire mainstream dealer network.

A small batch of Chevrolet Camaros was later stocked by selected Holden dealers and Australian Motor Industries (AMI) assembled the Rambler Javelin. Yet it was the Mustang that had the biggest impact after the first Mustang arrived in Australia two days before the model's global release.

The arrival of the Mustang in Australia occurred in two stages under two entirely different rationales. The Mustang's lead time coincided with an Australian shift in national focus from the British Commonwealth to a more global perspective. Australian manufacturers could source current US models directly from Detroit head offices for the first time since the end of World War II.

All local Ford operations involving North American models prior to this shift had to occur via Canada. During the early 1960s, Ford of Canada was also made a satellite of Detroit. Senior Australian engineers and management on assignment in Canada recall being flown over the border as soon as this was announced. For the first time, Australians were working alongside the movers and shakers at head office, many of whom were working on the Mustang.

After the locally-assembled "compact" Fairlane marked a return to current US models in 1962 followed by the Galaxie in 1964, the 1966 XR Falcon marked the first post-1945 Australian Ford that emerged from this new direct liaison with Detroit. Both developments ensured that the Mustang would become part of the Australian streetscape.