First Ford Mustang Production Car - On the Road Again
Thanks to Volunteers at The Henry Ford, Mustang No. 1 Is up and Running Again
From a Judge's ViewDuring Ford's 100th anniversary celebration in Dearborn, Chip Hill, a certified Mustang Club of America Gold Card Judge for '6411/42-'65 Mustangs, dropped by The Henry Ford to inspect and photograph Mustang No. 1, not only for himself but also to assist conservator Malcolm Collum in documenting a number of questionable components on the car. Here's what Chip had to say:
There were only a few things that I found "unusual" as compared to other early unrestored cars I've seen. The most notable were perhaps the gray (instead of black) engine-block paint, beveled (instead of square) armrest-base interior corners, and the unusual white knob on the end of the turn-signal lever. A few things that I had personally never seen before but can easily accept as authentic were the fragile, clear-plastic seatbelt retainer loops and the phosphate-black sheetmetal screws (like those between the seat and door sill) in the foot-area carpet of both the passenger and driver side.
It was also interesting to see evidence that supports my personal opinion on a couple of controversial judging issues. For example, I believe the pinch-weld blackout paint on the earliest cars was brushed on rather than sprayed. Mustang No. 1 has it brushed on. I have also believed for some time that the early fuel-line bracket (both pieces) was painted block color, while the screw remained natural. It always seemed odd that the screw would be natural, but Mustang No. 1 helps to explain that, because it appears the main bracket was already attached to the water pump when the block was painted (gray in the case of No. 1), and the prepainted (black) clip and unpainted screw were added on the assembly line as the fuel line was installed.
Some of the more obvious oddities that were probably swapped over time are the windshield-washer bag, the radiator cap, and possibly the oil-fill cap (the cap is right but the decal is unusual). There are also many '6411/42 features on this car that few restorations exhibit. The square-corner sill plates, grommetless lock knob openings (very early cars only), and crimped-band gas-tank hose clamps are nearly impossible for restorers to reproduce.
The hood is also unique (but authentic) with its rolled corners on an undimpled underside frame. Two other points that help authenticate the hood is the absence of the four indentations along the leading underside crease and the 12 16 C2 stamped in the lower left corner. This indicates a December 16 sheetmetal stamping date and is consistent with other stamping dates I saw on the car, including 1 14 C2 on the left fender, 1 13 2C on the trunk lid, and 12 19 D3 on the left-front inner fender apron.
I believe a fellow judge, Charles Turner, has documentation that the larger air cleaners were used with the 260 engine. And having the oil filler on the valve cover instead of the timing cover is not at all unusual. It is generally believed that the early engines were equally split between the two styles. What is cool about Mustang No. 1 is that the timing cover has the plugged hole, proving its vintage!