Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Mustang #1 and #1 Million!

Long before the debut of the Ford Mustang on April 17, 1964, the assembly line was already cranking out thousands of the all new two door car.  Dealers throughout the United States were already receiving the new car in anticipation of showing them off on the launch date.  A few of the early pre-production Mustangs were to be used for promotional purposes and were not to be sold; these cars are usually kept within Ford for various testing and marketing.  It turns out that one of those early models was a Wimbledon White convertible wearing serial number 5F08F100001 and it was delivered to George Parsons Ford in Canada.  This was among those pre-production cars that were not to be sold to the public, however while on display at the dealership the car caught the attention of an Eastern Provincial Airline pilot named Capt. Stanley Tucker and he knew he had to have it.  He talked the dealership into selling it to him and drove away in his new white Mustang convertible.  This was just one of the near 22,000 Mustangs that were sold that first weekend of sales.  The funny thing was it seemed like just another Mustang being sold to the next happy customer, but very soon Ford and the folks back at headquarters in Dearborn realized that there was something extremely special about the car that Capt. Tucker had purchased.  After it was confirmed what had taken place, Ford officials knew that this was Mustang number 1 and that it was not intended for this car to be sold.  Ford contacted him and told him the story of this car and began trying to convince Capt. Tucker to sell it back to them, but he was not interested in this because he was having too much fun driving his new convertible. 
(Photo courtesy of Ford)
He had already driven the car approximately 10,000 miles when Ford reached out to Capt. Tucker again in the winter of 1965; however this time they were offering an incentive.  Ford was offering to trade an all-new 1966 Mustang optioned with anything he wanted in trade for Mustang number 1.  Now by this time Mustang fever had swept the nation and the sale were skyrocketing.  During the first year of production the sale reached an amazing 417,000 and Ford was having a hard time meeting the demand for this hot new sports car.  The cars incredible low price tag and youthful looks had everybody wanting one.  It only took just over two years of production for the Mustang to reach the 1 million car mark.

Now here comes the cool part, Ford was offering the let Capt. Tucker decide how he wanted the car to be equipped.  He accepted and picked his new 1966 white convertible up as it rolled off the assembly line, and yes there was a lot more excitement and fanfare this time as took position of his new Mustang.  This one had the newer 289 V8 engine with a C4 Cruise-O-Matic transmission.  Ford called Capt. Tuckers new Mustang number 1 million and I guess that was fitting because it was a once and a lifetime trade.

Shortly after the trade took place Ford shipped Mustang number 1 back to Dearborn to the Henry Ford Museum where it was freshened up with a new coat of paint and has never been driven since.

On a personal note, while attending the 45th Mustang Celebration at Barber Motorsports Park in 2009 with my Dad, I was in for quite a surprise when visiting the Motorcycle museum.  Guests were allowed to visit the floor level of the Museum and Ford had loaned Mustang number 1 to be displayed throughout the weekend and I was able to see it for the first time.