PRETORIA, South Africa - On Thursday April 17 2014, the Ford Mustang will officially celebrate its 50th birthday around the world.To mark the occasion, Mustang fans in the Western Cape gathered on Sunday (April 13) to celebrate the car’s half-century. Fans were treated to a display of more than 60 of the legendary sports coupés at the historic Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town.The gathering, arranged by the Mustang Club of South Africa, saw Mustang models from 1965 all the way through to 2013 on display. The models represented a selection of cars that were sold in South Africa as well as modern models that enthusiasts have made an effort to import. HISTORIC GATHERINGThis celebration is just one of many around the world marking the birthday of the historic Stallion.When the father of the Mustang, Lee Iacocca, first showed off his 18-month-long secret project to Ford employees in Dearborn, he couldn’t have anticipated the product’s imminent success. Nor could he have anticipated that 50 years later his sports coupe - a lightweight, two-door car with seating for the whole family, as well as performance credentials in the form of a four-speed manual and a V8 under the bonnet- would be celebrated as a global icon.The Ford Mustang was publicly unveiled on April 17 at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York, and within a year it was shown to the South African public at the 1965 South African Grand Prix in East London.In 1965 the Mustang started its South African racing career. With local drivers, Ford South Africa entered two Mustangs to compete in the competition, and the Mustang won the South African Saloon Car championship in both 1966 and 1967.After its launch the Mustang quickly became a household name. However, the joy was short-lived, in Ford’s official capacity. In the early 70s, with both the oil crisis and sanction from international governments, the Mustang story came to an early end.While die-hard enthusiasts have been able to be part of the Mustang story by importing models, both old and new, a new generation of Mustang fans will soon join their ranks. In 2015 Ford’s flagship will officially return to South Africa in full force, with a suitably updated range to carry on the legacy.