It was 53 years ago this week - April 17, 1964 - when one of America's most iconic sports cars burst onto the scene, inspiring competitors across brands for some time to come.

In fact, when Ford Motor Company contemplated replacing the Mustang coupe with the Ford Probe in the early 1990's, Mustang loyalists came to its defense and implored Ford to keep the car.

Boy, did they.

Not only did they keep it, the cries of Mustang fans were heard when designers introduced a retro-styled fifth generation model in 2005. Today, Ford - and many others - say the current Mustang is the best one ever made.

The sixth generation Ford Mustang was introduced as a 2015 model. Getty Images

The Mustang touched off a frenzy among Ford's competitors to enter into the modern muscle car segment, inspiring competitors like the Chevy Camaro and Pontiac Firebird at GM, and the Javelin at AMC, and revamped versions of the Plymouth Barracuda and Dodge Challenger.

Happy Birthday Mustang! You look (and sound) great!

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