Jim Smart
November 26, 2014
Photos By: Mustang Monthly Archives, Ford Motor Company

It was a surreal moment. There wasn’t Web access in those days. We had Directory Assistance, the public library, our imaginations, the generosity of strangers, and tenacity going for us. It was 1984—the Mustang’s 20th anniversary—and somehow we had tracked down the man who bought the first serialized Mustang, 5F08F100001. We had to know how he wound up with one of the most significant Mustangs in history.

Captain Stanley Tucker, a Canadian airline pilot from St. Johns, Newfoundland, had a strong passion for aviation when he started flying at the age of 19 in his native Montreal. In early 1964, Stanley was piloting Handley Page Herald twin turboprops for Eastern Provincial Airways. While out cruising during the week of April 17, he spotted a crowd in front of George Parson’s Ford in St. Johns. Stanley wanted to know what the commotion was about and drove his Pontiac into the parking lot for a closer look. Stanley was familiar with the Mustang because he had seen it in Time magazine. Sitting in the showroom was a white convertible. In those days, Stanley was a handsome, well-traveled young man who had the means to enjoy life’s pleasures. Cruising around in a sexy convertible fit perfectly into his social agenda.

Captain Tucker put 10,000 miles on his Mustang convertible during his two years of ownership, driving it in all types of Eastern Canada weather, as this Ford photo from 1966 proves.

Stanley told us that he was astonished that such a good-looking car could have come from Ford Motor Company. He promptly drove home and grabbed his checkbook. When he returned to George Parson’s Ford, he encountered an eager salesman all too happy to take his money, even though it was before the official on-sale date of April 17. At the time, Captain Tucker had no idea of the car’s historical significance and how buying it would permanently commit his name to Mustang lore.

Stanley commented that it never mattered to him that he had once owned a slice of American automotive history. “It was just a car,” he told us. He looked at it more from a money angle, wishing he’d kept the Mustang and sold it later for a lot of money. For him, the Wimbledon White convertible with black appointments was sporty bucket seat transportation and nothing more.

Ford wanted the car back. But when Parson’s Ford contacted Stanley, he informed them that he wasn’t about to give it up. He wanted to enjoy the car until it was time to trade it in. Ford also wanted feedback from Stanley on how the car performed. “I was contacted by Ford through the dealership and they wanted me to keep track of any problems,” Stanley said. He drove the Mustang for 10,000 miles in all kinds of weather and never had a problem. “I rarely took the car off the island, but did drive it to Montreal a couple of times.”

When asked why he wasn’t willing to give the car back to Ford he said, “For a long time, I was the only Mustang owner in Newfoundland, which was a unique experience. Other motorists would force me to the side of the road to ask about the car—what it was, who made it, how did I like it, and how much did it cost? The car was a real joy to own and drive. Getting into it was like slipping into the cockpit, and I felt as much a part of the machine as I did when I was flying.”

Although it has been reported that Ford pursued Captain Tucker for the two years he had the car, this was not true according to Stanley in his 1984 Mustang Monthly interview. Aside from contact from George Parson’s Ford as an initial effort to get the car back, Stanley didn’t hear from Ford again until early 1966 when it was anticipating the one millionth Mustang. That’s when Ford made Stanley an offer he could not refuse—a new ’66 Mustang, ordered any way he wanted, in trade for 100001. He sat down and penciled out the order, then brought 100001 back to the dealer for its return to Ford. The car was then driven to Dearborn by a Ford employee and freshened up with a paintjob and detail work.

Stanley ordered his new ’66 Mustang in Silver Frost with the black Interior Décor Group and nearly every available option, including a Philco portable television, AM/eight-track, and styled steel wheels. He told us he never used the portable TV in his Mustang; instead, he installed it in his boat. Although Tucker could have ordered the 271-horse 289 High Performance V-8, he opted for the four-barrel with its 12-month/12,000-mile warranty. He said he didn’t like the Hi-Po’s 90-day warranty.

While Stanley was waiting for his new Mustang, Parson’s Ford loaned him a new Ford to drive in the interim. In early March 1966, Ford flew Stanley to Detroit to meet with Ford executives, including Ford Division General Manager Lee Iacocca and Marketing Manager Don Frey. He was wined and dined by Ford executives before heading to the Dearborn Assembly Plant to be photographed with 100001 and the One Millionth Mustang on March 2, 1966, both cars in Wimbledon White.

On March 2, 1966, when Stanley returned 100001 in exchange for a well-equipped ’66 convertible, Ford staged a ceremony and photo session. Here, Stanley sits in the One Millionth Mustang as Ford executives look on. From left to right: Gene Bordinat, Lee Iacocca, C.H. Patterson, and Donald Frey.
Stanley with two historic Mustangs—100001 and the One Millionth Mustang.

For years, it was said that Stanley was presented with the keys to the One Millionth Mustang. However, Stanley told us he took delivery of the 1,000,001 Mustang through George Parson’s Ford. Once again, his landmark car was just transportation. He drove it daily for many years and even had it shipped to Antigua in the Caribbean to use while he was living down there. Stanley showed us Polaroid pictures of the car in 1984, including one with a U-Haul trailer in tow.

Stanley had his 1,000,001 car repainted in gold before eventually selling it to his mechanic in Montreal in 1971. Stanley told us the car had a lot of rust when he sold it.

Stanley left Eastern Provincial Airlines in 1969, then flew corporate business jets before retiring at age 60. When we caught up with him again in 1994, he had just retired and was not in a good mood about it. He loved flying. He also never understood the continuing interest in 100001 and wanted people to leave him alone. Captain Tucker died several years ago, leaving us with an enduring curiosity about a man who fell into the history books without even trying to enjoy his 15 minutes of fame with two very memorable Mustang rides.

For Ford’s 100th anniversary in 2003, 100001 was refurbished and once again put in driving condition, still with its 1965 Newfoundland “3-664” license plate.