Jerry Heasley
December 5, 2014

The sight of a 1965 Mustang showroom banner, silk, about 4-feet tall and reading “1965 Mustang The ‘Cool’ World” is a colorful window into Mustang’s 50-year-old past. Dealers hung these banners in showrooms when new models arrived. The idea was to promote Mustang sales. Ford Motor Company sold many more promotional products in their Dealer Merchandising books. Ford also mailed monthly fliers to dealers listing newly introduced promotional merchandise to help sell new cars. As the Mustang grew more popular, so did the range of promotional items available to salesmen. Some of these items promoted all the Fords, while others were Mustang specific.

Over the past 30 years, Bob Perkins has been collecting vintage Ford and Mustang promotional items. “I’ve bought every piece I’ve ever seen. Anything that could be bought, I bought,” Perkins says. In addition to Ford promotional items, Mustang memorabilia includes other merchandise available from outside the company. For now, we’ll focus on Mustang promotional items. They paint a picture of the early days of Mustang as defined by Ford Motor Company.

Note: What piece of Mustang promotional items have you found? The possibilities are so wide and varied. For the Rare Finds column, please email photos of interesting Mustang promotional items to jerryheasley@gmail.com.

Starting with the ’62 models, Ford used the slogan, “The Lively Ones,” seen on the left on a Ford hat, and on the right on a Mustang hat. The slogan was still around when the Mustang debuted in 1964, so Mustang became one of the “Lively Ones” from Ford. Salesmen wore these hats on the showroom floor. This “Take The Reins” car topper is two-sided and leaves a place for Ford dealers to insert a price for a specific car. Leslie Mota wears an N.O.S. Ford red vest and plastic hat to show us what a salesman might have looked like in a Ford new car showroom when the Mustang was introduced in 1964.
Roberto Mota wears a salesman’s Mustang sports jacket, circa 1965, sold through Ford’s merchandising book.
Starting with the ’62 models, Ford used the slogan, “The Lively Ones,” seen on the left on a Ford hat, and on the right on a Mustang hat. The slogan was still around when the Mustang debuted in 1964, so Mustang became one of the “Lively Ones” from Ford. Salesmen wore these hats on the showroom floor. This “Take The Reins” car topper is two-sided and leaves a place for Ford dealers to insert a price for a specific car. Leslie Mota wears an N.O.S. Ford red vest and plastic hat to show us what a salesman might have looked like in a Ford new car showroom when the Mustang was introduced in 1964.
Bob’s son, James, tried on this “Lively Ones” plastic hat and red and white striped Ford jacket. Suddenly, the year was 1965. Salesmen actually wore these items to sell new Mustangs.

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For the ’65 model year, Mustang was cool, as evidenced by this original showroom banner. This unique Ford promo “dangler” is a cardboard balloon using the slogan “Three New Ways To Go Mustang,” to promote sales of the hardtop, convertible, and new fastback in 1965. Fragile items like this have to be super rare.
One of the most famous and sought-after pieces of early Mustang memorabilia is the famous Mustang steering wheel watch, so named for its shape. This item has been reproduced, but the original is the one collectors want. N.O.S. examples fetch $800 to $1,000.
When the fastback arrived at the official start of the ’65 model year in the fall of 1964, Ford offered dealers these cellophane signs to display in their showroom windows. Bob protects this rare sign in a frame hung on his showroom wall. For the ’66 model year, the Mustang showroom banner advertised Mustang as “America’s Favorite Fun Car.”
Mustang promotional plastic models are a whole collecting segment of their own. This is a ’65 model year “rack” that the dealership could order out of the merchandising book.
Original Ford Mustang neon signs, made from plastic and glass, are rare because they were very fragile. Ford dealers hung these neon signs in their showrooms.
An icon of Mustang memorabilia is a Mustang pedal car, seen here new in the box (bottom) for 1965. On top of the box is an assembled Mustang pedal car; this one vintage 1969, as denoted by the side scoops, hub caps, and “Mustang” fender script. Of course, the body style is the same from one year to the next. Ford sold tens of thousands of these pedal cars.