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Mustang - A Living Legend

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

The DriveWrite Archives Ford Mustang

Mustang - A Living Legend

Geoff Maxted
DriveWrite
September 25, 2013


Millionth Ford Mustang
By the time the 1965 Ford Mustang officially went on sale on April 17, 1964, it had been rolling off the assembly line at the Rouge factory in Dearborn, Michigan for about five weeks. Thousands of Mustangs had been shipped to dealers throughout North America so they would be available in showrooms on opening day. However, not all of the cars on display were actually meant to be sold to customers.

Among those was a Wimbledon White convertible with serial number 5F08F100001 that had been delivered to dealer George Parsons Ford at the far eastern end of Canada in St. Johns, Newfoundland. That car, along with about 180 other early examples, was not meant to be sold to customers. These preproduction models were supposed to be used for internal testing and promotional purposes only.

The next day, however, Eastern Provincial Airlines pilot Capt. Stanley Tucker saw the sleek new convertible and knew he just had to have it. Tucker convinced Parsons to sell it to him. As more than 22,000 orders and sales had poured in for the opening weekend, no one back at Ford world headquarters in Dearborn at first realized the significance of that particular sale.

Once it became known a couple of weeks later that Mustang number 1 had been inadvertently sold, Ford officials reached out to Tucker to try to buy it back. Tucker was having so much fun with his new car that he initially declined to sell it back to the company. Eventually, Tucker and Ford struck a deal.

On March 2, 1966, less than two years after Mustang production began at the Rouge assembly plant, Tucker brought the first Mustang back to Dearborn and turned in the keys for a brand-new example. For an encore, Tucker (pictured with both cars) got the one millionth Mustang produced – another white convertible. Ford Motor Company later donated Mustang number 1 to the nearby Henry Ford Museum, where it resides to this day.

Ford has launched Mustang Countdown, a terrific online video series to throw the spotlight on the legendary sports car and the culture that has formed around it all across the globe, and to continue the celebration leading up to the 50th birthday of Mustang on April 17, 2014. The series kicks of by turning the clock back to the 1962 debut of the first concept car to wear the pony badge. Subsequent episodes lift the lid on Ford’s exhaustive Mustang archives, Mustang toys, custom Mustangs and more – all featuring unique and often rare footage, exclusive new interviews and expert insight.

The Ford Mustang will soon become the newest member of a very exclusive club – vehicles in continuous production for 50 years. In its first 49 years of production, Mustang has gained a worldwide base of avid fans, including more than 5 million on Facebook, the most of any vehicle nameplate. The car’s unique combination of style, performance and affordability established an entirely new class of sporty cars, and Mustang has led the segment ever since.

Over the past 49 years, of the more than 9.2 million Mustangs produced and sold, most of them have originated close to Ford’s home base in Dearborn. From the racetrack to the silver screen to the airwaves to the toy box, Mustang has become an enduring part of automotive culture.



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