Name: 1965 Ford Mustang Convertible
Year(s) Produced: 1965-1973
Number Built: 72,119
Class: Pony car
Body Type: 2-door convertible
Engine: Ford Falcon Six 200
Power: 120hp @ 4400 RPM
0-60mph: 13 seconds
Top Speed: 98 mph
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Length/width/height: 181.6 in/68.2 in/51.1 in
Wheelbase: 108 in.
Base Price: US$2,663
Current Value: US$45,100 (Hagerty)
Gail Brown just graduated from Chicago Teachers College, and included in her list of “Top Ten Things to do After Finishing College” is to buy herself a car. So on that faithful day of April 15, 1964 she landed on the steps Johnson Ford on Cicero Avenue and wanted a convertible. The salesman at that moment has nothing to offer on the floor, so he invited Ms. Brown to check what is at the back of the showroom. Little does she know that the tarp-covered, baby blue convertible will go down in history as the very first Mustang that is sold worldwide.
According to official Ford documents, Ms. Brown bought the car two days before it was set to go on a nationwide sale. When she did not find anything appealing on the floor, the salesman offered her something very 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. It immediately won heart with a price tag of $3,447.50.
Ms. Brown, now Mrs. Wise, recalls how it was like when she first drove this Mustang. “I had never heard of the Mustang. It hadn’t been launched yet, but they let me drive it out of the showroom that night. Everyone stared at me. I felt like a movie star! Two days later, Lee Iacocca unveiled the Mustang to the rest of the world at the New York World’s Fair”.
She also recalls how the Mustang’s battery was stolen in 1979, prompting his husband Tom Wise to put the car in hibernation inside their garage until 2006. They decided to have it restored by then. In 2007, Tom read a story about a purchase that claimed to be the first Mustang ever sold – a day after his wife bought her Mustang at Johnson Ford! The couple opted to meet with some Ford executives to have their car inspected, including the relevant documentation. The car was a unanimous hit. The authenticity of the car’s paperwork was enough to convince the top brass of Ford to recognize it as the very first known retail purchase of a Mustang.
Watch this interview with the couple, Gail and Tom Wise courtesy of Hagerty.