Mustang & Ford Celebrate 100th Anniversary of the Rouge Assembly Line

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Ford Mustang

Ford’s old Michigan plant is now home to the F-150, but we’ll never forget where the Mustang craze all began.

Few singular buildings in America hold more historical significance than the legendary Ford Rouge Center. Through two world wars, 18 recessions, and several other crises, Ford’s massive production facility has endured and thrived. In fact, the Rouge is the only such building to manufacture vehicles for 100 years, non-stop. Everything from Navy boats to the Model A have rolled out of the iconic Rouge, and just about everything in between. Which includes, of course, multiple generations of Ford’s most famous pony car, the Mustang.

Today, 7,500 Rouge employees work 24 hours a day building America’s best-selling vehicle, the F-150. It’s jam packed with the latest and greatest in production technology, including everything from robotic suits to 3D printing and virtual reality. And it all started back in 1918 as a mere vision of Henry Ford to create a fully integrated, self-sufficient manufacturing powerhouse. A mere two decades later, the Rouge was so large that had its own fire department, police force, and hospital on site.

Ford Mustang

Even though it’s no longer built at the Rouge, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the Mustang and its significance to this facility. From the very first 1964 1/2 to the last 2004 model, production of the Mustang took place here. Along the way, Ford also built some in now-closed facilities in New Jersey and California, but it was a steady presence at the Rouge for 40 years. In fact, it was there that Ford built roughly 6.7 million of them, in fact. In 2005, Ford switched production to its AutoAlliance plant in Flat Rock, Michigan.

Ford at the Rouge

A somber change, for sure. But it was a move that Ford simply had to make. Dedicating its massive Rouge plant solely to F-150 production was obviously a wise move. But that doesn’t mean we’ll ever forget where the Mustang began and spent the vast majority of its production life. And neither will Ford.

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Brett Foote has been covering the automotive industry for over five years and is a longtime contributor to Internet Brands’ Auto Group sites, including Chevrolet Forum, Rennlist, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among other popular sites.

He has been an automotive enthusiast since the day he came into this world and rode home from the hospital in a first-gen Mustang, and he's been wrenching on them nearly as long.

In addition to his expertise writing about cars, trucks, motorcycles, and every other type of automobile, Brett had spent several years running parts for local auto dealerships.

You can follow along with his builds and various automotive shenanigans on Instagram: @bfoote.

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