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The 1977 Mustang Cobra II brought the long (Credit: Ford Motor Company)

The 1977 Mustang Cobra II brought the long overdue T-Top to the muscle car.

Ford Mustang: The original American pony car

Ford introduced the Mustang in 1964 and its instant popularity ignited a whole host of imitations by rival domestic manufacturers, known collectivity as American "pony cars." The Mustang has endured five generations of redesigns.

In advance of the 50th anniversary of the first Mustang, Ford plans to radically refresh the brand in 2014. With that in mind, here's a look back at a half-century of Ford Mustangs.

1964 Ford Mustang

In 1964, Ford introduced the Mustang. It was
(Credit: Ford Motor Company)

In 1964, Ford introduced the Mustang. It was a near-instant success and spawned an entire sector of so-called "pony" cars that aimed to ride on the coattails of the Mustang's success.

1965 Ford Mustang Shelby GT

For the Mustang's second model year, Ford introduced
(Credit: Ford Motor Company)

For the Mustang's second model year, Ford introduced the Shelby GT version, in collaboration with performance vehicle manufacturer Shelby American, in 1965.

1967 Ford Mustang

The 1967 Ford Mustang marked the first update
(Credit: Ford Motor Company)

The 1967 Ford Mustang marked the first update to the original design and launched a trend of Ford adding incrementally to its size.

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1969 Mustang Boss 429

The 1969 Mustang Boss 429 was one of
(Credit: Ford Motor Company)

The 1969 Mustang Boss 429 was one of two Boss models produced for the 1969 model year, along with the Boss 302. The 429 is named after its 429 cubic inch, 7.0-liter V8 engine that produced 376 horsepower, making it one of the biggest, most powerful engines on the road.

1971 Mustang

The last major redesign of the first generation
(Credit: Ford Motor Company)

The last major redesign of the first generation of Mustangs was implemented on the 1971 model year. The most pronounced change was to its size, which gained 2 inches in length and almost 3 inches in width.

1974 Ford Mustang

In 1974, the Mustang II marked its first
(Credit: Ford Motor Company)

In 1974, the Mustang II marked its first year, and a return to its sporty, subcompact roots. Buyers responded by flooding Ford dealerships in pursuit of the car. Pictured is the Mach 1 model.

1977 Mustang Cobra II

The 1977 Mustang Cobra II brought the long
(Credit: Ford Motor Company)

The 1977 Mustang Cobra II brought the long overdue T-Top to the muscle car.

1978 Mustang King Cobra

The King Cobra version of the 1978 Mustang
(Credit: Ford Motor Company)

The King Cobra version of the 1978 Mustang featured a more sporty design.

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1979 Ford Mustang

The 1979 Ford Mustang was the first model
(Credit: Ford Motor Company)

The 1979 Ford Mustang was the first model year of the brand's third generation.

1983 Mustang Convertible

The 1983 model year marked the first time
(Credit: Ford Motor Company)

The 1983 model year marked the first time since 1973 that the Mustang was made available as a convertible. It was also the first time ever that Ford's signature blue oval graced the car, according to The Mustang Source.

1986 Mustang

With the 1986 Mustang, Ford entered the second
(Credit: Ford Motor Company)

With the 1986 Mustang, Ford entered the second phase of the pony's third generation. It marked a departure from the "four-eyes" style headlights of earlier third-generation Mustangs.

1988 Ford Mustang

The 1988 Ford Mustang was equipped with a
(Credit: Ford Motor Company)

The 1988 Ford Mustang was equipped with a V-8 engine and had a starting base price of $11,150.

1990 Ford Mustang

By the time the 1990 Ford Mustang hit
(Credit: Ford Motor Company)

By the time the 1990 Ford Mustang hit dealers, company engineers were already focused on the next generation, which was set to debut in 1994. As a result, there were few notable design changes.

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1993 Ford Mustang Cobra

Ford launched the Mustang Cobra for the 1993
(Credit: Ford Motor Company)

Ford launched the Mustang Cobra for the 1993 model year. The car's exterior was virtually identical to that of standard GT models, but featured high-performance hardware under the hood.

1994 Mustang Cobra

The 1994 Mustang Cobra, the first model year
(Credit: Ford Motor Company)

The 1994 Mustang Cobra, the first model year of the classic car's fourth generation, was used as the Indy 500 pace car.

2000 Mustang Cobra R

The 2000 Mustang Cobra R was produced as
(Credit: Ford Motor Company)

The 2000 Mustang Cobra R was produced as an ultra-high performance sports car that was distinguished by its distinct, large dome hood with fills and its splitter for the front bumper.

2007 Ford Mustang GT/CS

The 2001 Mustang GT Bullitt edition honored the
(Credit: Ford Motor Company)

The 2001 Mustang GT Bullitt edition honored the eponymous 1968 movie and its famous Steve McQueen car chase scene. The Bullitt edition sat three-quarters of an inch lower than standard GTs and came equipped with unique shocks and sub-frame connectors.

The 2004 model-year marked the 40th anniversary of
(Credit: Ford Motor Company)

The 2004 model-year marked the 40th anniversary of the Mustang. It was also the 11th and final year of the muscle car's fourth generation.

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2007 Ford Mustang GT/CS

The 2007 Ford Mustang GT
(Credit: Ford Motor Company)

The 2007 Ford Mustang GT "California Special" was a tribute to the 1968 original that added design features such as side stripes, side scoops and a lowered front bumper to the base model.

The 2008 Ford Mustang came with two engine
(Credit: Ford Motor Company)

The 2008 Ford Mustang came with two engine options: a 210-horsepower 4.0-liter V-6 and a 300-horsepower 4.6-liter V-8.

2008 Shelby GT500KR

The 2008 Ford Shelby GT500KR was a 40th
(Credit: Ford Motor Company)

The 2008 Ford Shelby GT500KR was a 40th anniversary edition that drew on the 1968 "King of the Road" GT500KR model. The car, which retailed at more than $120,000, featured a 540-horsepower supercharged 5.4-liter V* engine with 510 lb.-ft. of torque.

2014 Ford Mustang

The 2014 model year will be the last
(Credit: Ford Motor Company)

The 2014 model year will be the last of the fifth-generation Mustangs. Ford is said to be planning a drastic redesign for the 2015 model year that will likely be unveiled in 2014.

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