Guess what, it’s another Ford Mustang throwback story. This one’s pretty good, too, you’ll think. As you better well know by now, April 2014 will mark the 50th Anniversary of the Mustang, and it is not any particular secret Ford is planning to make this one BIG. Seriously–why else all the hoopla for nearly a year in advance of the actual event?
Because they can.
This tidbit Ford has drug from the archives is about the first owner of a Ford Mustang. Likely one of Shelby’s buddies, or some executive’s preferred in-the-know clientele, right? Wrong. The first-ever Mustang owner was a 22 year old schoolteacher from Chicago, who put down $400 (a used Chevrolet) and took out a loan to cover the balance of the then-whopping MSRP of $3419 for her eggshell blue convertible. She states she “…was the coolest teacher in the school that year.”
And rightly so. Check out the rest of Gail Brown’s story below, and how she was smitten with the Mustang then…and now.
Mustang will celebrate its 50th anniversary in April, and Ford is planning much to celebrate. Including trickling out long-held information from the Detroit archives.
One recent discovery is interesting. Did you know the first-ever owner of a Ford Mustang was a 22-year-old Chicago schoolteacher who traded in a $400 Chevy and borrowed the rest of the money to cover the $3,419 MSRP on an egg-shell blue convertible? (Did you pick up on the fact that it was a woman?)
“I was the coolest teacher in the school that year,” said Gail Brown, who had been cruising around in her parents’ 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 convertible before making the purchase. “Our custodian once told me if he had a nickel for every time those boys stared at my Mustang he could retire.”
According to Ford documents, Brown bought the car from Johnson Ford on April 15th, two days before it was set to go on sale nationwide. She said that when she balked at what the salesman offered from the showroom floor, he told her he had “something in the back that’s really new”–a new 1965 Ford Mustang Convertible in Skylight Blue with a 260-cubic inch V8, automatic transmission, power steering, power top, knock-off wheel covers, center console and Rally Pac instrumentation.
The lady was sold.
Soon afterward Brown married her longtime sweetheart Tom Wise, an electrical engineer, and the two settled in a Chicago suburb. The Mustang became Tom’s daily driver and survived 15 years of Chicago winters and four kids before the battery was stolen during a particularly vicious winter storm: He pushed the car into the driveway and eventually into the garage, where it spent the next 27 years stashed rusting away.
Finally in 2007–after their children had left home–the couple decided to restore their first baby.
Tom stripped the car leaving only the steering and running gear in place, then sent it to Greg’s Auto Body in Lake Bluff, Ill., for a complete refresh. The guys there installed new floor panels, door skins and front fenders in addition to adding a carburetor, transmission, paint and new electrical parts to the engine.
Then Tom set to work on the finishing touches at home. He put in new wiring, a new interior and all the trim, lights and accessories needed it to make it comfortable to drive again (but he did leave out the seatbelts, as per the original model). A specialist put the new top in place. They finished the restoration in 2010.
Funny thing is, Gail said, the car looks so good now that she prefers not to drive it: “Tom put so much work into it that I’d be scared to scratch it. Everybody loves it.”
The car is not for sale at the moment, but when Brown does decide to let it go she can expect to get a high sum.
Craig Jackson, the chairman and CEO of the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction, said he’d value it around $100,000.
“But it could be a total wild card,” he added.
McKeel Hagerty, the founder of Hagerty Insurance, valued it between $150,000 and $250,000–roughly five times what a “normal” 1960s-era V8 Mustang might fetch otherwise.
The fact that the car has had one owner with such a special provenance–all surrounding the 50-year anniversary–adds much to its allure. That mint-condition body and drop top don’t hurt, either. Start saving now.
Source: ForbesCategories: Ford, General