Natasha De Melis
May 24, 2017

The 30th year of Mecum Auctions at Indianapolis delivered on all accounts: quality, professionalism, and world-class cars. With 2,000 vehicles to ogle and drool over, it is no surprise that the Spring Classic auction is recognized by many enthusiasts to be one of the best auctions in the world.

This year’s auction featured many private collections including The Bob McDorman Collection, the Jim Lynch Collection, and Dallas and Ammie Hawkins Collection—just to name a few. Over 90 Mustangs were seen at this year’s Mecum Indy, with the 1969 Mustang taking up 18 of those spots. Some of the more notable lots were a 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429 Fastback KK No. 1853 (one of only 857 Boss 429s) with an estimated value between $235,000-$275,000, as well as a 1968 Ford Mustang Cobra Jet, raced by “Dyno” Don Nicholson, estimated between $195,000-$225,000. But, out of the 2,000 vehicles, one vehicle stood out the most and captured our hearts: Bob Fria’s 1964 1/2 Ford Mustang with serial number 00002.

With a 170ci in-line 6-cylinder engine, and 3-speed manual transmission, the first-ever Caspian Blue Mustang was a star. Not only does her historical significance lay in the very serial number that is stamped on her driver side door, as well as on the engine bay compartment, but she also happens to be the very first hardtop Mustang and one of the only three known pilot plant cars to exist.

Now you may classify her as just another one of those 1964½ Mustangs, but her pilot pre-production manufactured body says differently. Sitting in the driver seat, you place your hand on the gear shifter and notice her first distinct difference: it’s not bent-aft, but rather sports a straight look, something that looks like it came out of a Fairlane. And, that’s just it—it did. Being a pilot pre-production car, Ford would look to other vehicles in their line-up to put the pieces together to complete the puzzle.

Raising your eyes towards the wheel, you’ll see another piece of Ford’s famous cars laying in your vision—a Falcon dash (which is braised, not welded on, a technique that was later introduced), and a dash pad support panel (screwed on, not welded). Her Falcon engine, and Fairlane transmission, are just some of the unique details of this Caspian Blue Mustang that make her so unique. Back-up tail lights, windshield wipers, radio, white wall tires, and “show car” treatment—where every metal seem is leaded in, sanded down, and painted over giving her a seamless look—make her stand out amongst her peers.

For more information on the car, refer to this story that Jim Smart did in Mustang Monthly in 2004: http://www.mustangandfords.com/featured-vehicles/mump-0405-1964-ford-mustang-restore/

About his decision to sell the historic car that he has owned for 18 years (and that has seen time in both the Petersen Automotive Museum and the Nethercutt Museum as well as shows around the country), Fria told us, “I’ve had fun with it. There comes a time as you become older that you have to realize you can’t keep everything forever, and that’s kind of where I am. So after 18 years, I just thought to let someone else enjoy the car.”

Mecum’s estimated value of this one-of-a-kind Mustang is between $450,000 and $650,000, and although the bid was closed at $300,000 it didn’t meet Fria’s undisclosed reserve and did not sell on Saturday, May 20. About the experience, Fria said, “The Mecum people treated me like royalty and were there every step of the way. They also did some tremendous advertising on the car, but the bidders just weren’t there. It became apparent to me that the majority of people attending auctions, and I’ve been to other ones too, are interested in the current trends, which is hot rods, restomods, and the big engine cars. I think there are more 427 Corvettes out there today than were every built.”

He continued, “This was the only 6-cylinder car of all the 2,000 cars in the auction this time, so maybe it was the wrong venue for this car. I’ll put it back in the garage and on another day we’ll decide what to do with it. I think it will eventually be sold. I welcome offers but it’s not something I need to sell anytime soon.”

So the bid goes on. What do you think she will sell for, and when? Out of the 10 most significant classic cars in the last century, Mustang is on that list, and serial number 00002 is declared to be #1.

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