By James Peace
In 2014, Ford announced that it will be releasing the 2015 GT 50 Year Limited Edition. This will be a tribute to the 1964 Ford Mustang Wimbledon White which was the first Mustang sold to the public. The first Mustang was released at the World’s Fair in New York on April 17, 1964 and was sold for $2,368 then. Even back then, the Ford Mustang was considered a good catch since it was a combination of sporty looks and performance at an affordable price. It was the product of Ford Motor Company’s vision of creating a “fun-to-drive personal car” with post-World War II Baby Boomers as its market.
The Beginning of the Ford Mustang
The earliest pre-production Mustang sold, serial no. 1, was a Wimbledon White convertible with a 3-speed manual and a 260in3 V 8, this was sold in early February 1964. From then, it started the phenomenal “pony car” line. Nicknamed “Pony, the esteemed Mustang classic was actually named after the WW II P-51 Mustang Fighter plane.
Fun fact: A ford dealer, mistakenly sold the first ever Mustang to Capt. Stanley Tucker, a pilot from Eastern Provincial Airlines, while he was on a promotional tour in Canada. It was supposedly only to be used for promotional purposes and was not to be sold. In 1966, after two years of convincing, Ford then reacquired the car from Capt. Tucker in exchange for Mustang No. 1,000,001 (also in white). Mustang No.1 is now on display at The Henry Ford in Michigan.
The Mustang was a double hit! Its features could consider it as an economy car or a luxury sports car. It included an extended hood, full wheel covers, padded dash, sculptured body panels, a shortened rear deck, and sporty bucket seats while still being able to function as a family car since it can still be used to store groceries.
The Popularity of the 1964 Ford Mustang
The 1964 Ford Mustang was Ford’s most popular unit since the 1928 Model A. Ford expected to sell about 100,000 units/year, but a surprising 22,000 Mustang orders were called in on the first day! On its first year, a surprising 417,000 units were sold in the market. 28, 833 Standard convertibles and 92,705 standard coupes were produced by Ford.
The Wimbledon White classic has been featured in famous movies since then, including its debut in the 1964 James Bond movie Goldfinger, where Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 chased after the Ford Mustang. After only more than a month of release, the new Mustang was already seen during the 1964 Indianapolis 500 race. Its first known reference in a song is from Mack Race’s Mustang Sally.
Even until now, no Ford unit has been able to beat the sales record this model has set, proving just how popular the 1964 classic was. And it was all started by the Wimbledon White sensation.