"The Ford Mustang marks its 50th birthday this year. It was 50 years ago this month that the first Mustangs rolled out of Dearborn, Michigan—casting a spell on the American public and kicking off a hot-burning romance that’s never stalled out since. Of course, as in any half-century long relationship, there’s been growth and evolution (see: the racing-inspired Shelby Mustangs); mistakes we’d rather forget (e.g. the gaudy, boxy Mustangs of the ’80s); and moments when we remember why we fell so hard in the first place (the “retro-futuristic” 2005 Mustang resdesign). But through thick and thin—’80s King Cobra paint jobs and all—it’s clear that love has been involved in every step of the way. Here’s a look back at (nearly) a half century of the American car. "