15 April 2014

Reminiscence of the First Mustang: Readers share their Pony tales

The release of the Ford Mustang was a big bang for the auto industry and revolutionary for car hobbyists worldwide. Everyone remembers their first Mustang, or the first time they laid eyes on one. April 17 is the Mustang’s 50th anniversary, and many people are reminiscing as memories come back to life. Here we share a few of those stories:

Rich D., New York

When I was about 3 years old, my dad would sit me on his lap and let me "drive" his 1959 Ford Country Squire station wagon into the driveway after we got home from a long trip. My folks took me to the 1964-'65 World’s Fair in New York City when I was 7 or 8, and I got to "drive" a red-on-red Mustang Convertible in the Ford Skyway pavilion. Those early childhood memories were cultivated by my dad, who every weekend let me help him by cleaning the washboard hubcaps on our '59 Country Squire; I would run my little finger over every one of the indented painted sections. The care and attention he paid to the family car was instilled in me, and it developed into a passion for automobiles — the Ford Mustang in particular. Now nearly 50 years later, after missing many opportunities to obtain one, I have finally realized a lifelong dream and acquired a Mustang convertible nearly identical to the subject in this story — life is good!

O.D. “Dave” N., Nevada

When I was in my 20s I worked with Interstate Finance of Dubuque, Iowa, and was in charge of auditing auto wholesale floor plans for dealers, including a Ford dealership in McGregor, Iowa. I had a standing offer from all of my dealers to buy a new car at invoice. After selling my previous car, I was able to buy this particular dealer's only delivered Mustang, white with red vinyl, but he had heard they were a hot ticket so he asked me to pay $100 over his cost. Since I had to make a trip the weekend before introduction, he forward-dated the paperwork and let me drive off on Sunday. Back then it was illegal even to sell cars on Sunday in the state. On the way to Davenport, an uncountable number of kids along the way were pointing and yelling "Mustang!" at us. A week later an auto wholesaler offered me $800 over the $2,368 MSRP; he would be able to make a profit wholesaling that to a car dealer even at that price — that's how hot they were! A thousand-dollar profit would have meant a lot to me in those days, but I had to refuse: If I flipped it for big profit right away I would have lost the relationship with my dealer.

Pam S., Florida

I remember as a kid never paying any attention to cars of the day until the Mustang came along. We kids would walk all over the neighborhood looking for Mustangs to gawk at. We all had our perfect Mustang that we wanted all figured out. I was only 7 when the Mustang came out so it would be many years until I could drive one, but since then I have had at least 20 Mustangs from a 1965 to my current 2014 5.0 Mustang GT. We are anxiously awaiting the release of the new 2015!!! It has been a lifelong love for me. The Mustang hobby is also lots of fun and a great way to meet awesome people — Mustang is a lifestyle!

Mike P., Michigan

This brings back memories of the 1966 Mustang convertible that I bought while I was going to an automotive trade school. Mine was only a 6-cylinder, but it ran so smooth. My dad and I were going to restore it and had a new top put on it. We were able to get a new passenger fender and quarter panels using the employee discount of a co-worker's husband that my mom worked with. It was an original 3-speed manual and was converted to an automatic. Fortunately, the car came with everything to return it to a manual transmission, which I did. The sad thing was all four corners of the floor rusted through, and the frame rails in the trunk were rotted. To add to the problem, the 200 C.I.D. engine was cracked. The decision was then made to strip it of all the parts and off to the salvage yard it went. I could kick myself now because these days there are so many reproduction parts available you practically build one from the ground up. I truly miss that car — it was my first convertible.

Clyde M., California

I was 13 and in junior high school, and my father worked at Bennett Ford in Salt Lake City. A few weeks before the official introduction, there was already a public and media frenzy boiling regarding the new Mustang. I remember going to the dealership a couple of weeks ahead of the release where, in the holding lot where the new cars sat, hidden way in the back were three new Mustangs. I worked my way back in to see the cars and sat in them; oh the joy, what an exciting new car! Don't tell anybody, but in the excitement of the moment I walked away with the extra set of "Running Horse" keys, which were exclusive for the Mustang. I took them to school to show my motorhead classmates. Wow, was I ever the hero! They were so impressed — even the Chevy guys — to see these keys and know that I'd seen a Mustang before its introduction. This car revolutionized the American automobile industry — the "Pony Car" lives today because of the Mustang. Thank you, FoMoCo.

Jim S.

My grandmother bought me a mustang in 1964, one week before they went on sale in Spartanburg, S.C., as my graduation present from college at The Citadel in Charleston, S.C. The car was under wraps at the dealer, and the only reason he sold it to me was because I had to be back at school by 6 p.m. on Sunday. The official new sale date was the following Monday, so I got mine one week early. I drove the car back to Charleston — the whole time people stopped to get a glimpse. When I stopped at a gas station, I had a crowd of around 15 people wanting to look at the Mustang. I arrived at The Citadel on Sunday and parked in my designated spot for senior cadets. Cadets have to March, in uniform, to the mess hall for Sunday dinner. That day, every single cadet formation marched in place as they neared my Mustang so they could all take a look.

Do you have a Mustang story to share? Want to tell us about another classic you've owned (or wanted to own)? Click here to tell us your story, because Life's Better in a Classic.

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