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

For the most part, the car was displayed at Carlisle just as it was pulled from Dr. Mansell's barn. "We did clean up the engine," Lee says. "We found mouse nests in the air cleaner. When we pulled off the air cleaner, hickory nuts rolled out of it. Luckily, the raccoons didn't get to it like they did some of Dad's cars, although one of raccoons did chase Rich out of the barn."

For Dr. Mansell, the revival of 100004 also brought his family together. He says, "It was nice to have that opportunity, not only when we started the project but all the way through this weekend (at Carlisle)."

As you'd expect from a car that has spent its entire life in Michigan and Pennsylvania, the undercarraige is somewhat corroded, although thankfully Dr. Mansell avoided driving the Mustang in the winter so most is surface rust. However, you can still see what's left of the brackets that attached the car to the Magic Skyway. The main parts were simply torched off to prepare the car for sale.

After the "coming party" at Carlisle, we asked Dr. Mansell what he plans to do with his early-production, World's Fair convertible. "Besides getting it into running shape with a new generator and brakes, we're going to steam clean the undercarriage and work it over with a wire brush, then we'll apply some sealer under there. I wouldn't want to put it back into storage without protecting it with some kind of sealer."

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Lee adds, "We're still waiting for the next part to be written. Once we get it cleaned up, it would be nice to get it into a museum, somewhere secure where people can see it and appreciate it."

So if you're out there checking VINs for early production and World's Fair Mustangs, you can check 100004 off your list. Dr. Mansell and his family have that one covered.

The "O5C" Pre-Production Cars
For years, it was generally accepted that 5F08F100001, a Wimbledon White convertible, rolled off the Dearborn assembly line as the first production Mustang on Monday, March 9, 1964. However, early Mustang historian Bob Fria, who owns 5F07U100002, has confirmed that this old story simply isn't true. Bob has been able to verify that 100001 was one of 150-180 pre-production Mustangs produced prior to the official March 9 mass production start-up date. The exact number is not known.

According to the February 1964 issue of Ford World, a Ford employee publication, approximately 150 pre-production Mustang units had already been produced at the Dearborn Assembly Plant prior to the March 9 production start-up date. Based on data taken from low vehicle identification number cars, Bob has confirmed that any '64 1/2 Mustang with an "05C" date code is a pre-production unit, meaning it was produced before March 9, 1964. This does not mean it was produced on March 5; the 05C date code is an arbitrary "flag" code intended for Ford use only.

Between Bob's efforts and what we've read in the Mustang Production Guide, Volume 1, '65-'66, we've been able to confirm that most of the pre-production units were either export units or cars kept by Ford for sales promotions or crash testing.

VINs 5F08F100003 through 5F08F100014 were designated as World's Fair Magic Skyway units. After the Fair, they were sold to the public from the Ford Employee Resale lot in Dearborn. Others were used for different purposes. For example, 5F07F100025, 100026, 100027, 100030, and 100055-all with the "05C" date code-were sold to Alan Mann Racing in England for Monte Carlo Rally competition. Units 5F07F100022, 5F07F100023, and 5F07F100024 were retained by Ford for promotional programs. Holman & Moody got 5F07F100034 for racing development. Hollywood car builder George Barris got 5F08F100036 for one of his custom projects.

If you find an 05C" date code '64 1/2 Mustang, you've found a pre-production unit built during January-February of 1964 at the Dearborn Assembly Plant. Some may have been bucked (body welded together) at Ford's Allen Park pilot plant and assembled at Dearborn. Pilot plant units received a plant code of "S," such as 5S08F100000 or 4S08F100000 based on factory images we've seen.