TODAY   |  April 19, 2014

Happy birthday! Mustang turns 50

America’s love affair with the pony car has endured five decades after it was first introduced in 1964. NBC's Harry Smith reports and chats with Gail Wise, who bought the first Mustang ever sold in America.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> 50 years ago this week the u.s. automobile industry was forever changed when ford introduced the mustang . as harry smith reports, the popular car has been finding a special place in people's hearts ever since.

>> you're going to see this a lot over the next couple of days.

>> yes, sir.

>> herds of mustangs, headed for roundups in las vegas and charlotte.

>> i am so excited for the 50th anniversary of the mustang that i haven't the slept in three days.

>> reporter: mustang collector taylor cassidy has owned 60 different mustangs over the year.

>> there's white. there's palmy.

>> reporter: she's even named them all. as comfortable under the hood as she is behind the wheel.

>> we love our cars. it's a passion. it went from hobby to obsession really fast for me.

>> mustang .

>> reporter: america was obsessed with the mustang , from the moment lee iococca introduced the car at the world's fair in 1964 . market shattering half a million mustangs were sold in the first 18 months. as sales grew, so did the car's muscle. remember steve mcqueen and his mustang in the movie "bullet"? as cool as it gets. there are plenty of old mustangs still on the road. but this one, this one has a story.

>> i just fell in love at first sight. it had my name written all over it. i was excited.

>> reporter: chicagoan gayle w weiss bought the first mustang ever sold in america.

>> i didn't realize what i had bought until i drove it out of the showroom and everybody was staring at me, waving at me, asking me to slow down so they could look at this car.

>> reporter: and it made an impression on her boyfriend, tom. what did you like more, her or the car?

>> you don't want me to answer that, do you?

>> reporter: they married and drove that car through four kids and some 20 years. tom parked it in the garage and said he would fix it up when he retired. some 20 years later, he did just that. and now when you're driving around in that, how does it feel?

>> it feels good. get a lot of looks, lot of thumbs up. people are happy to see this car.

>> reporter: just like 50 years ago. harry smith , nbc news, park ridge , illinois.