Ford Mustang Horsepower Graphed Over Five Decades

Pony power from the 1960s to today.

Jason Udywriter

Since its debut in the mid-1960s, the Ford Mustang became popular due to its balance of affordability and performance. But not every year offered the power we associate with the pony car today. A new infographic shows how the Ford Mustang's horsepower has progressed from the first generation to the current car.

Near the end of the first generation, the Ford Mustang Mach 1 made 375 hp (gross) from its 429 cubic-inch V-8 -- substantially more power than any second- or third-generation car. In fact, it wasn't until the limited production run of Cobra R models in 2000 did the pony car exceed the Mach 1's power rating. The 2000 Ford Mustang Cobra R coupe's 5.8-liter DOHC V-8 was rated 385 hp (net) and 385 lb-ft of torque.

The second-generation Ford Mustang II was the dark ages for the compact coupe. From 1974 until 1982 (three model years after the third-generation Fox body Mustang arrived) horsepower ratings were less than 150 hp. It wasn't until the 1995 Ford Mustang Cobra R arrived with a 5.8-liter (351-cubic-inch) V-8 that a Mustang was available with 300 hp. After the 2000 Cobra R, Ford upped the ante with the 2003-2004 Ford Mustang Cobra SVT "Terminator" with a supercharged 4.6-liter DOHC V-8 underrated at 390 hp and 390 lb-ft.

For the fifth generation, the Mustang GT and Boss 302 models received a new 5.0-liter Coyote V-8 that made 412-444 hp. That engine continues to be used in the new sixth-generation 2015 Ford Mustang GT, but has been tweaked to make 435 hp in the GT. A new limited run of Shelby GT350 and GT350R models will make 526 hp and 429 lb-ft from a 5.2-liter flat-plane-crank V-8 with an 8,250 rpm redline.

Interestingly, the chart doesn't mention the 2007-2014 Shelby GT500. In 2007, the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500's supercharged 5.4-liter DOHC V-8 made 500 hp. By 2013, the GT500 had received an aluminum 5.8-liter engine making 662 hp and 631 lb-ft.

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