Donald Farr
Former Editor, Mustang Monthly
October 1, 2009
Photos By: Jerry Heasley

According to the Mustang Production Guide, the earliest known mass production unit, with date code 09C, is 5F08F100212. This does not mean it is Job 1 or the first mass production Mustang. Until factory paperwork is found or a Job 1 photograph surfaces, the real Job 1 remains unknown. -Jim Smart

The World's Fair Mustangs
Ford's new Mustang was officially introduced on April 17, 1964, at the start of the New York World's Fair. In fact, the World's Fair introduction was one of the reasons the Mustang debuted as a mid-1964 model. "Where else could you introduce a car at such a world-class event?" former Ford president Lee Iacocca told Mustang Monthly in a 2004 interview. "We had the Mustang introduction planned for the World's Fair on opening day. The Ford exhibit was so beautiful. We featured the Mustang corral and it was unbelievable! Walt Disney and Henry Ford were there"

Ford's Rotunda exhibit, credited as the largest pavilion at the Fair, incorporated a Magic Skyway ride through a Disney-created fantasy world, which took visitors through time, from pre-historic dinosaurs to futuristic flying cars. Unlike typical rides, the Magic Skyway transported visitors in brand-new '64 Ford convertibles, which were prepared for the unique conveyor system by Carron & Company in Inkster, Michigan. According to a Ford press release, 146 Ford convertibles were used, including 12 new Mustangs.

The timing for the Mustangs was tight. Regular '64 1/2 Mustang production was scheduled to start on March 9, leaving only five weeks for the Magic Skyway Mustangs to be prepared, shipped, and installed on the Skyway conveyor. Instead, Ford issued DSO 840027 in January to have 12 pre-production convertibles, 100003 through 100014, built for the Magic Skyway. Our feature car, 100004, was one of four convertibles, two Raven Black and two Wimbledon White, prepared by Carron & Company for shipment to the World's Fair site on April 1, 1964. Like the other World's Fair Mustangs, it was equipped with a 260 V-8, automatic transmission, spinner wheel covers, a single-key lock set (all of the World's Fair convertibles were keyed alike), and Show Car Treatment.

The '64 1/2 World's Fair convertibles were produced in four colors - Raven Black, Wimbledon White, Guardsman Blue, and Rangoon Red. There were three in each color.

According to an invoice obtained by Dr. Mansell, Carron & Company charged Ford $1,010 to prepare each car for the Magic Skyway. The modifications included adding special brackets and straps to the chassis, disconnecting the steering linkage, disabling the brakes, removing the fuel tanks (per fire code), and adjusting the ground clearance to 2 5/16 inches. While the engines and drivetrains were removed from the larger vehicles (Galaxies, Lincolns, etc.), this was not the case for the Mustangs and other small cars.

A four-track tape player was also installed in the trunk to provide the ride's narration, which played through the AM radio. Riders used the radio push-buttons to select one of four different languages. Friction alternators mounted in the right-rear wheel charged a 12-volt battery, also in the trunk, to power the tape player, radio, and other operational electrical systems.

Shortly after the six-month 1964 portion of the World's Fair closed on October 18, the '64 Fords were removed from the Magic Skyway in preparation for replacement by '65 models over the winter. According to Ford's press release, "This year's convertibles will be returned to Ford for reconditioning. With unused brakes, lights, and steering mechanisms reconnected, they will be offered for sale as used cars through Ford and Lincoln-Mercury dealers."