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Best Ford Mustang Survivors
Some of the most unique Mustangs in history have survived to see the next 50 years of Mustang
World’s Fair Convertible
For many years, Mustang enthusiasts have searched for the two dozen Mustangs that were used on the Ford Pavilion’s Magic Skyway during the 1964 and 1965 New York World’s Fair seasons. Dr. John Mansell didn’t have to look far – 5F08F100004, the fourth serialized Mustang that served as a Magic Skyway convertible in 1964, was stashed in his Pennsylvania barn.
Even as early as 1965, Mansell was collecting early production cars. When a friend at Ford alerted him about an early Mustang for sale at Ford’s employee resale lot in Dearborn, Mansell convinced his father-in-law to purchase the car until he could raise funds to pay him back. In June 1965, Mansell and his father-in-law traveled to Dearborn to pick up the 6,100-mile car – not including the Magic Skyway miles, of course.
Mansell used the convertible as a family car until 1978, then “retired” it by placing it in his barn with his other early production vehicles. In 2009, son-in-law Rich Downing, who worked at Classic Design Concepts at the time, learned about the history of 100004 and convinced Dr. Mansell to pull it out of storage for display at the Ford Nationals in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
First Public Sale
Gail Wise still has the invoice, dated April 15, 1964, from Johnson Ford in Chicago. On that day, the 22 year-old Gail purchased her first car. “I was just looking for a convertible,” she says. “And the salesman said, ‘Come back here, I have something you might like.” In the garage area, under wraps, was a brand-new Skylight Blue Mustang convertible. The salesman, either unaware that the Mustang didn’t officially go on-sale for another two days or just anxious to earn his commission, sold the car to Gail on the spot. Suddenly, Gail had the only Mustang on the streets of Chicago.
Gail credits her husband, Tom, with convincing her to keep the convertible for all these years, even as it sat, all rusty from northern winters, in the family garage. When Tom retired in 2006, he started a restoration that brought the car back to its 1964 condition. Since then, Ford has recognized Gail’s car as the “first public sale” of a Mustang and invited her, and her Mustang, to participate in reveal activities for the ’15 Mustang.
One and Only ’71 Boss 302
Andrew Hack was simply looking for a Mustang driver when he purchased a Grabber Yellow ’71 Mustang SportsRoof he spotted for sale on eBay. When he got it home, he noticed the early VIN – 1F02H100053. Further investigation revealed two data stickers on the driver’s door, one on top of the other. With careful application of hair dryer heat, Hack was able to peel up the top sticker to reveal the car’s original VIN with a “G” for the engine code. Yes, a ’71 Boss 302, a car that was supposedly never built when Ford pulled the plug on racing in the summer or 1970 and decided to offer only the Boss 351.
Kevin Marti’s production database and invoices uncovered the long, strange story. Hack’s Mustang was built on August 3, 1970, one of several Boss 302s ordered for the Ford dealer intro shows. However, 100053 was the only one completed; the other orders were canceled. The car was then shipped to the Las Vegas Convention Center for the dealer event. Apparently, the car then went into limbo as Ford tried to figure out what to do with a brand-new Mustang that should not exist. In early 1971, instructions were issued to remove the Boss trim and replace the VIN with one for a Mustang with a 351 two-barrel engine. The car was subsequently sold at Wilson Ford in Huntington Beach, California, as a 351-powered SportsRoof, albeit still with the Boss 4-speed and 9-inch rear end.
When Ford introduced the Boss 302 in the spring of 1969, it made perfect sense to utilize the new 290-horsepower Boss SportsRoof as the foundation for the Shelby GT 350. So an early ’69 Boss 302 was ordered, shipped to Ford’s performance contractor Kar Kraft, and updated with Shelby fiberglass and interior as a pilot car to test the feasibility. But before the Boss-powered GT 350 was completed and the program approved, Carroll Shelby ended the Shelby Mustang program, making this Acapulco Blue ’69 the only Mustang that was ever produced with a combination Boss (G-code engine) and Shelby (“4” as the first sequential unit number) VIN.
Fortunately, the car survived a number of subsequent owners, most of them unaware of the car’s unique status. In 2007, owner Billy Jay restored the Shelby Boss to the way it would have been completed at Kar Kraft.