Search Results for "mustang"

Genealogy of a Classic: Finding the History of Your Mustang

mustang-poster

Process Photograph for 1965 Ford Mustang Advertising (Object ID: 68.300.1031.9).

The Mustang, America’s original pony car, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.  When the first generation Mustangs were being built, no one anticipated that they would become American classics and popular vehicles for restoration.

We have many cool pieces of Mustang history here at The Henry Ford, from… Continue reading

Mustang: The Birth of an American Icon

mustang

The 1965 Ford Mustang, the right car at the right time. (Object ID: 66.47.1)

Fifty years on, it’s almost impossible to imagine the American road without the Mustang. What would actor Steve McQueen have raced through the streets of San Francisco in Bullitt? What would singer Wilson Pickett have regretted buying for “Mustang Sally?” What would the 11,000 members of the Mustang Club of America celebrate? The Mustang is more than a car. It’s an icon, an image and a lifestyle.

Of course, none of this was predicted when Henry Ford II unveiled the Mustang at Ford Motor Company’s pavilion at the New York World’s Fair on April 17, 1964. Ford was taking a chance with an unprecedented concept pitched at an untested market. How and why the company took that gamble is a fascinating story of vision, determination and luck. Continue reading

The 1963 Mustang II: A Not-So-Missing Link

It’s probably no surprise that Motor Muster, our annual car show celebrating 1933-1976 automobiles, is spotlighting the Ford Mustang for 2014, given all the excitement surrounding the car’s 50th anniversary. Likewise, it’s no great shock that The Henry Ford’s 1962 Mustang I roadster and 1965 Mustang Serial Number One convertible will be in Greenfield Village among the approximately 900 registered cars. What will come as a pleasant surprise is the appearance of a third special Mustang, for one day only, on Saturday, June 14. The Detroit Historical Society is bringing its 1963 Mustang II concept car to the show, making Motor Muster the only chance this year to see Mustangs I, II and Serial Number One together in the same place.

The 1963 Mustang II (not to be confused with the Ford Pinto-based production Mustang II of the 1970s) surely is one of the most unusual concept cars ever built. Industry practice (and common sense) tells us that an automaker builds a concept car as a kind of far-out “dream car” to generate excitement at car shows. Most never go past the concept stage, but a few do make it into regular production. (Chevrolet’s Corvette and Dodge’s Viper are notable examples.) The Mustang II previewed the production Ford Mustang we all know and love, but the concept car was designed and built after the production Mustang project already was well underway! Why? It’s a case of managing public expectations. Continue reading

The 1963 Mustang II – A Not-So-Missing Link

Ford's 1963 Mustang II, the car that bridged the gap between the concept Mustang I and the production 1965 Mustang.

Ford’s 1963 Mustang II, the car that bridged the gap between the concept Mustang I and the production 1965 Mustang.

It’s probably no surprise that Motor Muster, our annual car show celebrating 1933-1976 automobiles, is spotlighting the Ford Mustang for 2014, given all the excitement surrounding the car’s 50th anniversary. Likewise, it’s no great shock that The Henry Ford’s 1962 Mustang I roadster and 1965 Mustang Serial Number One convertible will be in Greenfield Village among the approximately 900 registered cars. What will come as a pleasant surprise is the appearance of a third special Mustang, for one day only, on Saturday, June 14. The Detroit Historical Society is bringing its 1963 Mustang II concept car to the show, making Motor Muster the only chance this year to see Mustangs I, II and Serial Number One together in the same place.

The 1963 Mustang II (not to be confused with the Ford Pinto-based production Mustang II of the 1970s) surely is one of the most unusual concept cars ever built. Industry practice (and common sense) tells us that an automaker builds a concept car as a kind of far-out “dream car” to generate excitement at car shows. Most never go past the concept stage, but a few do make it into regular production. (Chevrolet’s Corvette and Dodge’s Viper are notable examples.) The Mustang II previewed the production Ford Mustang we all know and love, but the concept car was designed and built after the production Mustang project already was well underway! Why? It’s a case of managing public expectations.

Most Mustang histories start with the 1962 Mustang I, but devoted pony fans know that Mustang I was an entirely separate project from the production car. Ford built the “Mustang Experimental Sports Car” (its original name – the “I” was a retrospective addition) to spark interest in the company’s activities. Ford was going back into racing and looking for a quick way to create some buzz about the exciting things happening in Dearborn. The plan worked a bit too well. When Mustang I debuted at Watkins Glen in October 1962, and then hit the car show circuit, the public went crazy and sent countless letters to Ford begging the company to put the little two-seater into production.

At the same time Mustang I was being built, another team at Ford was working on the production Mustang that would debut in April 1964. Mustang I’s popularity created a problem: Everyone loved the two-seat race car, but would they feel the same about the four-seat version? The solution was to build a new four-seat prototype closely based on the production Mustang’s design.

Enter the 1963 Mustang II.

The new concept car wasn’t just based on the production Mustang’s design – it was actually built from a prototype production Mustang body. Ford designers removed the front and rear bumpers, altered the headlights and grille treatment, and fitted Mustang II with a removable roof. While the car looked different from the production Mustang, a few of the production car’s trademark styling cues were retained, including the C-shaped side sculpting and the tri-bar taillights. Mustang II also consciously borrowed from Mustang I, employing the 1962 car’s distinct white paint and blue racing stripes. Conceptually and physically, the four-seat Mustang II formed a bridge linking the 1962 Mustang I with the 1965 production car. Mustang II was a hit when it debuted at Watkins Glen in October 1963, and when the production version premiered six months later, there were few complaints about the four seats instead of two.

Fortunately, Mustang II is one “link” that isn’t “missing.” The Detroit Historical Society acquired the car in 1975 and has taken great care of it ever since. We’re grateful to them for sharing it at our 2014 Motor Muster, where visitors can see first-hand the Mustang’s evolution from I to II to Serial Number One.

Matt Anderson is Curator of Transportation at The Henry Ford

50 Years of Mustang – A Birthday Bash Fit for an American Icon

The Henry Ford’s 1965 Mustang Serial #1 and 1962 Mustang I concept car were honored guests at a pair of simultaneous events honoring the pony car’s golden anniversary in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Las Vegas, Nevada. The four-day celebrations, hosted by the Mustang Club of America with close cooperation from Ford Motor Company, brought together cars, owners and fans from around the world to commemorate one of the most influential and enduring automobiles.

The Charlotte event, held at Charlotte Motor Speedway, opened in grand fashion on April 17. Fifty years to the day after Henry Ford II introduced the Mustang at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, current Ford Motor Company Executive Chairman Bill Ford unveiled the 50th Anniversary Edition 2015 Ford Mustang. Limited to 1,964 units, the 50th Anniversary car comes fully loaded but available in just two colors: Kona Blue and Wimbledon White – the latter something of a nod to Serial #1’s paint.

The 50th Anniversary Edition 2015 Ford Mustang. There’s a definite family resemblance to Serial #1.

The 50th Anniversary Edition 2015 Ford Mustang. There’s a definite family resemblance to Serial #1.

Other distinguished guests in Charlotte included Ford Board Member Edsel Ford II, Ford Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields, the 1965 Mustang Design Chief Gale Halderman, and current Mustang Chief Engineer Dave Pericak. Retired Chicago-area school teacher Gail Wise enjoyed a unique fame at the event. On April 15, 1964, she purchased a Skylight Blue Mustang convertible – making her the first Mustang buyer in the United States. She still owns the car today, which also makes her the senior-most original owner. Gail and her convertible posed for countless photos with Mustang fans over the four-day party.

The Henry Ford’s Mustang Serial #1 (left) sat next to Gail Wise’s Skylight Blue convertible in Charlotte. The “Mustang Garage” display area included pony cars from every generation.

The Henry Ford’s Mustang Serial #1 (left) sat next to Gail Wise’s Skylight Blue convertible in Charlotte. The “Mustang Garage” display area included pony cars from every generation.

I had the privilege of joining Serial #1 in Charlotte. As I spoke with visitors, nearly every one of them was familiar with the car’s story. In fact, many had seen Serial #1 before, either at The Henry Ford or at a previous show. My favorite reaction was from members of the Montreal Mustang Club. Upon seeing Serial #1 with its Newfoundland license plates, they immediately shouted “Captain Tucker! Captain Tucker!” – referring to their fellow Canadian, the airline pilot who inadvertently purchased the car in April 1964.

The sister celebration at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was even more international in tone. While Ford has never directly sold the Mustang overseas (until the 2015 model, that is), this hasn’t stopped the car from winning fans abroad. Our Mustang I concept car brought smiles to the faces of Mustang club members from Sweden, France, Switzerland and Brazil, among other nations. Special guests in Las Vegas included Ford Sales Zone Manager Henry Ford III, Ford COO Mark Fields (yes, the busy Fields visited both celebrations), and former Ford Special Projects Assistant Hal Sperlich. Along with Ford President Lee Iacocca and Ford Product Manager Don Frey, Sperlich is one of the key people who brought the Mustang into being 50 years ago. He was given a hero’s welcome by the fans gathered in Nevada.

Members of the Mustang Club of Switzerland pose with our 1962 Mustang I concept car in Las Vegas.

Members of the Mustang Club of Switzerland pose with our 1962 Mustang I concept car in Las Vegas.

Mustang owners and enthusiasts at both events enjoyed various activities. Souvenir stands sold Mustang merchandise of all descriptions. Vendors and swap meet participants sold parts for Mustangs from every vintage. Mustang historians gave presentations on the car’s debut and evolution. Owners with performance cars took laps around the tracks. And then there were the cars themselves – thousands of Mustangs filled and surrounded the venues in Charlotte and Las Vegas.

By the time each event wrapped up on April 20, new friendships were formed, the latest version of the pony car was revealed to the world, and a passion for the Mustang had been ignited in the young visitors who will take the car into its next generations. I’ll bet a few of them are already dreaming about 2064!

Matt Anderson is Curator of Transportation at The Henry Ford

Stanley Tucker and Ford Mustang Serial Number One

It’s ironic – like, in the actual “opposite of what you’d expect” way as opposed to the “merely coincidental” way in which the term is often misused. The Ford Mustang is revered as one of the most “American” of all cars. Its name conjures up images of the Wild West. Its early logo incorporated red, white and blue stripes. The car’s very look is based on our country’s obsessions with speed and style. And yet Mustang Serial Number One, sold 50 years ago this month, went to a Canadian. Yeah, that’s irony.

On April 14, 1964, Eastern Provincial Airlines pilot Stanley Tucker walked into George Parsons Ford, a dealership perched on the eastern edge of the continent in St. John’s, Newfoundland. It was love at first sight. The sharp-looking Wimbledon White convertible jumped out at the 33 year-old pilot, and he knew he had to have it. We don’t know the name of the person who sold the car to Tucker – but the pilot must have been quite a salesman himself. Somehow, he convinced Parsons Ford to break street date and sell him the car three days before April 17, when Ford officially released Mustang to the world. He took serial number 5F08F100001 home and, for a short time, was the general public’s only Mustang owner.

Mustang Serial Number One should not have been sold on that early date. In fact, it shouldn’t have been sold at all. The car was one of approximately 180 pre-production cars built at the Rouge between February 10 and March 5, 1964. These initial cars served two purposes: 1.) They eased Ford into full production by familiarizing workers and supervisors with the build process, and 2.) They formed a batch of physical cars that could be shipped to every major Ford dealer in time for the April 17 launch. Logically, the first cars built were sent to the farthest dealers – hence Serial Number One wound up 2,180 miles from Dearborn in St. John’s. (Twelve of these pre-production cars, incidentally, went to the New York World’s Fair for use in Ford’s Magic Skyway ride.)

Serial Number One’s stamped vehicle identification number. (THF90611)

Serial Number One’s stamped vehicle identification number. (THF90611)

Being a pre-production or, if you will, “practice” car, Serial #1 has a few quirks not seen in regular Mustangs. Careful observers will notice that the hood’s fit is a little crooked. The door lock knobs have no grommets at their bases. The front grille’s color tends more toward gray than the bluish hue seen on regular production cars. The engine block is painted gray instead of the black on later Mustangs. Little details like these changed after full production began on March 9.

Not long after Capt. Tucker made his purchase, Ford tracked him down and asked to have Serial Number One back. Not surprisingly, Tucker declined the request. He spent the next two years putting some 10,000 miles on his pony car. By early 1966, when nearly one million Mustangs had been sold and the car’s status as a Ford landmark was secure, the Blue Oval called again. This time, Ford offered Tucker a worthy trade: in exchange for returning Serial Number One, he could have the One Millionth Mustang, equipped to his specifications. Tucker agreed and, when filling out the order, covered the entire option sheet with single large “X.” The only extra he didn’t take was the High Performance 289 engine – it carried a shorter warranty period.

Tucker came to Dearborn on March 2, 1966, met Ford President (and Mustang father) Lee Iacocca, and posed for photos with his new Silver Frost 1966 Mustang convertible. Meanwhile, Ford reclaimed Tucker’s much-loved Serial Number One and soon donated it to The Henry Ford. Seventeen years after the trade, when Mustang Monthly magazine caught up with Tucker, the pilot expressed some understandable regret that he’d let go of Serial Number One. As we celebrate 50 years of Mustang, though, we can be grateful that 5F08F100001 is preserved for all to enjoy. Many of our visitors, upon seeing the car in Henry Ford Museum, get that same gleam in their eyes that Stanley Tucker must have gotten all those years ago.

Matt Anderson is Curator of Transportation at The Henry Ford

Mustang Tour Update: April 2014

mustang-sweepstakesOur Mustangs are back out on the road this month as the THF OnWheels Tour continues into the spring. This time our Mustang Serial Number One is off to Concord, North Carolina, and the Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration April 17-20. Our own Matt Anderson, curator of transportation, will be spending the weekend in North Carolina, so make sure to stop by and say hello if you’re attending the event. Not to worry if you’re not, though. Matt will be back reporting on the event for The Henry Ford’s blog and THF OnWheels.

Over on the opposite side of the country that same weekend our Mustang I Roadster Concept Car will be in Las Vegas at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the sister birthday celebration event out west.

April 17-20 is special weekend for Mustang fans as that Thursday marks the 50th anniversary of the Mustang making its debut to the public.

Make sure to stay up to date with the THF OnWheels Tour by checking out our website. Do you think you’re the ultimate Mustang fan? Have you signed up for our THF OnWheels Mustang #1 Fantasy Sweepstakes? Enter now for a chance to spend some VIP time with both cars, tours, a photo shoot and a trip to the 2015 North American International Auto Show. The deadline to enter is September 30.

Lish Dorset is social media manager at The Henry Ford.

Just Added to Our Digital Collections: Mustang Design Drawings

This year marks the 50th anniversary of an American automotive icon: the Ford Mustang. The Henry Ford counts among its collections three notable Mustangs: the 1962 Mustang I concept car, the first serial number of the 1965 production Mustang, and another 1965 Mustang on display at the Ford Rouge Factory Tour. In addition, our archives include photographs, design drawings (like this one for the 1963 Ford Mustang II prototype), and trade literature from every year of production. Relive the first half-century of the Mustang through the digital collections of The Henry Ford.

Mustang Is 50

The Henry Ford hits the road with two iconic American cars
as part of its first national OnWheels Tour

Mustang Serial Number One

1965 Ford Mustang Convertible, Serial Number One – gas cap
(THF90612)

On April 17, 1964, something monumental happened in America. Ford dealerships across the country were stockpiling 22,000 orders for the same vehicle. People were flocking to showrooms, entering into heated bidding wars over one car. Some even insisted on sleeping the night on dealership premises, inside their new dream car, until checks cleared and keys were exchanged.

It was the day the Ford Mustang officially went on sale, and immediately it seemed an American icon was born. It was the first of the American pony cars. It was symbolic of the free-spirited, “want to stand out” nature of a country and its people. It changed the way we thought about cars and who should be driving them — not just Dad, but everyone. Nearly 420,000 were sold that first year, and the Mustang has been in continuous production ever since. Today, more than 9.2 million Mustangs have been produced and sold.

As we celebrate Mustang this year, we want you to get involved, too. Get up close and under the hoods with the original Mustang I Roadster concept car and Mustang Serial Number One at The Henry Ford, home of the world’s premier automotive exhibit. One grand-prize winner will receive a VIP experience for four — including a professional photo shoot with the Mustangs, behind-the-scenes tour with expert curators and a preview of the 2015 North American International Auto Show. A package valued at more than $18,000 (round-trip air travel and hotel included).*

One hundred first-prize winners will receive a Driving America book, the visually stunning tribute to all things automotive in The Henry Ford’s exhibit of the same name. Enter for your chance to
win now through September 30, 2014, at thehenryford.org/sweepstakes.

Learn more about the history behind this iconic car.

Mustang Serial Number One

1965 Ford Mustang Convertible, Serial Number One (Object ID: 66.47.1)

The 1965 Mustang Serial Number One
When Stanley Tucker, a Canadian airline pilot, saw a sleek new Mustang convertible at George Parsons Ford in St. Johns, Newfoundland, in 1964, he knew he had to have it. Unfortunately, the car was not meant to be sold to customers. It was one of 180 early examples of the car that was meant for internal testing and promotional purposes. It was never supposed to leave
the showroom.

Didn’t matter. Tucker was convincing and the dealership caved. Tucker drove away in Ford Mustang Serial Number 5F08F100001.

A couple weeks later, Ford Motor Company realized the significance of a certain sale in Newfoundland. George Parsons Ford had inadvertently sold Mustang Serial Number One to a customer. Ford officials quickly reached out to Tucker looking to strike a deal. But Tucker was having so much fun with his new car, he declined to sell it back.

It took Ford two years to change Tucker’s mind. In March 1966, Tucker finally brought Mustang Serial Number One back to Dearborn in exchange for the keys to the one millionth Mustang produced, another convertible.

Mustang Serial Number One

1965 Ford Mustang Convertible, Serial Number One (THF79078)

Soon after the trade, Ford donated Mustang Serial Number One to The Henry Ford, and it has been on the floor of Henry Ford Museum since 1984, traveling for special events every so often. Operable, the car will run by its own power during Motor Muster in Greenfield Village, June 14-15, 2014.

1965 MUSTANG SERIAL NUMBER ONE STATS

  • Engine: V-8, overhead valves, 260 cubic inches
  • Transmission: 3-speed automatic
  • Horsepower: 164 @ 4400 rpm
  • Weight: 2,740 pounds
  • Pounds per horsepower: 16.7

Did You Know?
The original inspiration for the Mustang name was the P-51 Mustang fighter aircraft, but Ford Motor Company didn’t want its sports car associated with an airplane. It was soon decided that the image of an untamed, spirited wild Mustang was a more-than-adequate backup.

1962 Mustang I Roadster

1962 Mustang I Roadster (THF90666)

The 1962 Ford Mustang I Roadster Concept Car
Are you looking at this Mustang concept and thinking it doesn’t really look anything like the Ford Mustangs you’re familiar with? That’s because the 1962 Ford Mustang I Roadster isn’t part of the iconic production pony car’s story. Well, Matt Anderson, curator of transportation at The Henry Ford, said you might be able to get away with calling the Mustang I a cousin, thanks to a few small features echoed in the iconic production model we all know and love. Take a close look at the roadster’s logo, parking lights and the C-shaped side-mounted vent on the back fender. Intentional similarities or the world’s greatest coincidences?

The 1962 Mustang I was a completely separate project from the 1965 Mustang, with different design objectives. “Ford never had any intention of putting this car into production,” said Anderson. Ford’s intention for the vehicle was to make people think of Ford as an exciting, forward-thinking company. And it worked. The car was as fast as it looked, and when Ford debuted it on the racetrack at the 1962 United States Grand Prix in Watkins Glen, New York (driven by road-racing champ Dan Gurney), the people and the press loved it. Every major car magazine clamored to feature the car.

The Henry Ford acquired the 1962 roadster in 1974, long after its show and promotional days were done. Ford designers had hid it in a trailer so it wouldn’t go to the scrap heap like most concept cars did back then. The car was restored for exhibition in 1980. Now, it’s ready to travel the country, on display for the THF OnWheels Tour.

1962 MUSTANG I ROADSTER CONCEPT CAR STATS

  • Engine: 60-degree V-4, 91 cubic inches
  • Transmission: 4-speed manual
  • Horsepower: 109 @ 6400 rpm
  • Weight: 1,544 pounds
  • Pounds per horsepower: 14.2

THF OnWheels

THF OnWheels Tour
In 2014, The Henry Ford is kicking off a celebratory nod to 50 years of Mustang with the THF OnWheels Tour. Where can you find us? Take a look.

JANUARY 10-26, 2014
North American International Auto Show
Detroit, Michigan
CAR: Mustang Serial Number One and Mustang I Roadster Concept Car

APRIL 17-20, 2014
Charlotte Motor Speedway
Concord, North Carolina
CAR: Mustang I Roadster Concept Car

APRIL 17-20, 2014
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Las Vegas, Nevada
CAR: Mustang Serial Number One

JUNE 14-15, 2014
Motor Muster in Greenfield Village
Dearborn, Michigan
CAR: Mustang Serial Number One and Mustang I Roadster Concept Car

AUGUST 17, 2014
Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
Pebble Beach, California
CAR: Mustang Serial Number One

Visit thehenryford.org/onwheelstour for tour updates, Mustang specs and more. Sign up for THF OnWheels and receive invitations to private OnWheels subscriber meet-ups at the Charlotte and Vegas events. Subscribe at thehenryford.org/enews. It’s free!

*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. LEGAL RESIDENTS OF THE 50 UNITED STATES (including D.C., excluding New York and Florida) 18 YEARS AND OLDER. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sweepstakes ends 9/30/2014. For Official Rules, prize descriptions and odds disclosure, visit http://thehenryford.org/sweepstakes. Sponsor: The Henry Ford, 20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn, MI 48124.

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