1979 Mustang Steering Wheel

DESIGN HISTORY: Mustang Interiors Through The Years

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1979 Mustang Steering Wheel

Mustangs have changed with the times, which we see in these images of pony car’s interiors through the years.

Wrapping yourself in a Mustang can spur a lot of different feelings. Over the years, Mustangs have been everything from basic grocery-getters to thinly veiled race cars, with some luxury models in between.

Related: INFOGRAPHIC – How Does the 2015 Mustang Ecoboost 2.3-Turbo Stack Up In Mustang History?

The Mustang debuted in 1964, in the time after the ornate ’50s but before the safety standards that kicked in for ’68.


Interiors were typical of the time, with a contoured metal main panel and plenty of shiny trim.

1965 Mustang Interior

This one has the Rally-Pac gauges, consisting of a tachometer and clock – in today’s dollars, it would be a pricey $532 option. The full-length console would be $388.

1965 Mustang Interior

The dual-cove look was further drawn out with the larger 1967 Mustang.

This one has the “Tilt-Away” steering wheel, which would clear your path out the door by tilting horizontally toward the car’s center. In today’s dollars, “Tilt-Away” would cost $426. 1967 Mustang Instrument Panel

It also has the Convenience Control Panel, which consisted of four warning lights for Door (it’s still open), Seat (belts not buckled), Park (brake not released) and Fuel (you’re about to run dry).

Adjusted for 2016, the Convenience Control Panel would cost $284, and the AM radio would be $412. 1967 Mustang Instrument Panel

Next is 1968, when government safety regulations began kicking in.

Here we see the mandated collapsible steering column, and the wheel has a flush hub to disperse an impact force across the driver’s chest.

All the wood-toned trim signals that this 1968 has the Interior Decor Group, which would run $880 today.

1968 Mustang Steering Wheel

That’s an appropriate segue to the 1970s, when Ford shrank the Mustang to fit the Pinto platform. Without the size and speed it once had, the Mustang had to lean back on luxury, and its wood-toned panel and shag-like carpeting set the tone.

That fat-spoked wheel didn’t make production.

1974 Mustang Steering Wheel

Then came the Fairmont-based 1979 Mustang, complete with that family sedan’s instrument panel. The padded steering wheel hub was ringed by a rim trimmed with imitation wood. This wheel would become a regular in the non-sporting Ford LTD.

Not very sporting, but this parts-bin interior saved a struggling Ford some badly needed cash.

1979 Mustang Steering Wheel

The mid-’80s Mustang SVO retained the Fairmont dash but got a curvy new wheel.

1984 Mustang SVO

The 85-mph maximum speedometer mandate had ended a few years before, but Ford still held to it by omitting the numbers above it.

1984 Mustang SVO

Neat that the SVO allowed you to choose between “unleaded” and “premium” grades of gas.

1984 Mustang SVO

The late-’80s finally replaced the Fairmont panel with the pod-like setup that was popular at the time. This is a 1990 model, with the Mustang’s first air bag.

1990 Mustang Steering Wheel

Then came the ’90s redesign, which brought back the dual-cowl look with dramatic sweeps.

1994 Ford Mustang Convertible Interior

Ill-fitting plastics reflected the low budget Ford had to get this generation launched…

1994 Ford Mustang Convertible Interior

…and the stereo was a rectangular brick with identical buttons.

1994 Ford Mustang Convertible Interior

Today, the Shelby GT350R Mustang is the product of more than 50 years of development and tradition. Sportiness and luxury are joined in an environment that’s both serious and welcoming.


Tell us in the comments – what do YOU think of the Mustang’s interior history?