Jerry Heasley
January 12, 2014

When David Baldino visited New Jersey’s Rancocas Flea Market in August of 2006, he found copies of old magazines for sale, including Mustang Monthly, under one of the display tents.

“The vendor saw me picking up the Mustang magazines and said to me, ‘You’re really into this stuff, aren’t you?’”

Baldino, who has been in the hobby for many years, admitted he owned several Mustangs, one being a fastback built in Metuchen, New Jersey.

“Metuchen? I’ve got something back home that might interest you,” the vendor replied. “It’s a plate.”

The vendor described a plate that had something to do with the opening of the Metuchen Assembly Plant. He wanted to know if Dave was interested. He didn’t have to ask twice. The vendor promised to email a few photos.

The vendor’s email revealed a historic piece of Mustang history. Baldino remembers telling his son, “The $45 won’t bust the bank for the nostalgia of owning it.”

Baldino brought the plate to last summer’s Ford Nationals in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, to show us for Rare Finds. I credit George Munsterman for getting me in touch with his friend Baldino.

Baldino explained that the vendor found the plate in the basement of a house he was cleaning in Kendall Park, New Jersey, not far from Metuchen, site of the plant that assembled ’65-’71 Mustangs mainly for east coast distribution. Apparently, a relative of the home owner had worked on the Metuchen assembly line.

The plate is inscribed in 22K gold lettering with a January 28, 1965, date for the “Mustang Launching Management Dinner” for the Metuchen Assembly Plant.

No doubt, this launch was a big deal. When the Dearborn Assembly Plant could not keep up with demand for the new Mustang, Ford added two additional plants for Mustang builds, starting with San Jose, California, followed by Metuchen on Monday, February 1, 1965.

Baldino thought the dinner plate would be good to display with his Metuchen-built ’65 Mustang fastback.

The plate appears like new. Baldino wonders if this is the only plate left from the dinner. He also wonders about the name J.R. Rummel. Was he the plant manager? Is he still alive? Do more of these plates exist? Were there glasses or silverware inscribed with the event as well?

If anybody has more information about this dinner, Baldino would like to know. Send me an email at and I will forward the information to him.