DEARBORN (WWJ) – It was the party heard around the world, as the Ford Mustang celebrated its 50th birthday.

Ford held celebrations Thursday in a number of locations, including Las Vegas, Melbourne, Beijing and at the company’s headquarters in Dearborn.

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“For me, the Mustang just represents fun in the sun,” said Leonard Qualioto, who brought his mint-condition 1965 Mustang convertible.   “Just having a good time, being happy and free.”

Qualioto, who’s owned three new Mustangs over the years, purchased the classic over the winter.   He admitted to pushing the season by doing some open air driving during the spring.  But, he’s eager to see the summer come, especially the Woodward Dream Cruise.

(credit: Jeff Glibert/WWJ)

(credit: Jeff Glibert/WWJ)

Ford employees and retirees brought hundreds of Mustangs to the parking lot in front of the company’s Dearborn headquarters.  Other classic Mustangs were placed in the company’s hallways, where newer models are normally displayed.

Much of the attention was focused on the classics.

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“There’s something for everybody in a Mustang,” said Bruce Rinkey, who brought his 1967 Mustang.  “You can keep it simple.  You can go crazy.  It’s a people car, and I think it connects well with people.”

Ford also attracted attention with a Mustang perched on the observation deck of the Empire State Building, and huge drive-in events involving Mustang clubs in many cities.

The party moving online as Ford exceeded its goal of getting fifty thousand people to send an “electronic birthday card” to Mustang.

Final tally, 55,750 messages.

“Mustang is an inspirational car,” said Steve Ling, car marketing manager at Ford.  “It’s no surprise its fans worldwide have been inspired to make history on this very special occasion.”

Ford has already revealed an all new 2015 Mustang, that will be in dealerships in the fall.   They are also planning to build 1964 special-edition “50th anniversary” Mustangs.

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(credit: Bill Szumanski/WWJ)

(credit: Bill Szumanski/WWJ)