February 4, 2014

Mustang: 50 Years Ago

On February 7, 1964, Ford formally announced to the public that it would "introduce a new sports-type car, the Mustang." The cat was out of the bag. On that same Friday, the assembly line at the Dearborn Assembly Plant was shut down so it could be modified to permit integrated assembly of both Fairlanes and Mustangs on the same line. New welding fixtures were installed, equipment modifications were made, and parts moved into place. On Monday, February 10, the first pre-production Mustangs were assembled to provide assembly line workers a chance to learn the new build process.

As a group, those first cars are known as pre-production Mustangs. Recent research reveals that approximately 180–200 of these cars were assembled and they all can be identified by their metal door data plates with a scheduled build date of "05C," for March 5. Even though most of these Mustangs were assembled prior to March 5, they were all given "05C" build dates. Any '65 Mustang with a "05C" build date is a pre-production car. Some were later sold by Ford. To date, approximately 50 of those early cars are known to exist today.

Although those chassis received the first VIN numbers, it is not known which one was the first assembled since the numbers were assigned non-sequentially. For example, 100002 may have been assembled before 100001, as was normal Ford protocol based on different factors. Some of those first cars were assembled at the Allen Park Pilot Plant and transported to the factory to be used for assembly line start-up. Using extrapolation from researched information, about 45 of these cars were convertibles, the rest hardtops. A Ford document dated February 6 directed 12 of those first cars, starting with VIN 100003, to be sent to the 1964 New York World's Fair for use on the Ford Pavilion's Magic Skyway moving ride attraction.

By February 28, 150 pre-production Mustangs had been assembled. They were stored deep within the factory in a secure "No Access" zone restricting unauthorized workers from entering to assure there would be no unauthorized pictures or leaks about the cars. March 5 would conclude pre-production assembly and "real" production Mustangs would be produced beginning March 9.

A presentation featuring some of the original Mustang program managers discussing the evolution of the first Mustangs will be part of the Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration on April 17, 2014, to be held in Las Vegas and Charlotte. - Bob Fria (author of Mustang Genesis, available from Amazon or by contacting the publisher: McFarland and Co., Box 611, Jefferson, NC 336/246-4460).

Shelby SIP 2014

It's hard to believe that we've produced seven Shelby SIPs (short for Special Interest Publication) for Shelby American. The 2014 edition is now available at your newsstand. It features articles about Shelby American's move to south Las Vegas, the Wide Body GT 500 Super Snake, Shelbys in popular culture, and a lot more, along with great photography from long-time Mustang Monthly contributor Jerry Heasley.

Sneak Peek: Mustang I Die-Cast

As part of the Mustang's 50th anniversary, die-cast model maker Automodello has inked a deal with Ford Licensing to offer 1:43 and 1:24 models of the 1962 Mustang I two-seater concept car. Automodello provided us with photos of the model prototype, shown sitting on its base. The actual models will be mounted on a base that will include the Mustang 50th Anniversary logo.

We've also learned that 50 versions of the 1:43 model will be signed by race driver Dan Gurney, who drove the real Mustang I during its debut at Watkins Glen in October 1962. These special editions are available for pre-order through The Henry Ford Museum or at the Automodello website at www.diecasm.com. Reportedly, 40 have already been spoken for.

Pinewood Mustang for Charity

Like most fathers with kids in Cub Scouts, Doug Poad from Lafayette, Indiana, found himself assisting with Pinewood Derby models, helping both of his sons and participating in parent/sibling races. Of course, being the competitive sort, there was always a friendly competition to see who could build the best-looking (and of course, fastest) model out of wood.

While attending the Hot Rod Industry Alliance show in Indianapolis, Doug learned about the "Builder's Challenge" featuring Pinewood models built by professionals and sponsored by businesses and corporations. Intrigued, Doug made inquiries about participating in the 2013 Challenge. A few photos of the Indy 500 winning Marmom Wasp he built the previous year got him an official invite to build a model for this year's competition.

As the owner of a '67 Mustang convertible and '85½ SVO, Doug settled on a first generation '69 Mustang as his platform. With the exception of the wheels, tires, paint, decals, and lights, the entire car is hand-formed from wood. An accomplished artist, Doug started by making profiles of the car on paper, then used them to make templates. Doug had to add wood to the top and sides of the standard Pinewood kit to get the proportions right. Using the templates, the basic shape was made with a scroll saw. From that point, it was completely refined by hand.

The wood car is mostly stock '69 SportsRoof with the addition of Shelby KR-style hood scoops. The wheels, tires, headlights, and taillights are borrowed from a 24th scale plastic model. The grille is a carbon-fiber decal while the inner headlight buckets are drilled out dowel rods. The local Ford dealer allows for charity projects like this so expert painter Dennis Ruse laid down real '96 Mystic Cobra color-changing paint.

Doug's Pinewood Mustang was displayed at the SEMA Pinewood drag races in Pomona, California, last July. At November's SEMA Show in Las Vegas, it was displayed with other Pinewood models at the HRIA booth. The cars were auctioned off during the show with proceeds benefitting Victory Junction and Child Help. — Chuck Key

Mustangs Across America Pace Car

For 1994's inaugural Mustangs Across America drive to Charlotte for the Mustang 30th Anniversary Celebration, Ford provided organizer Sam Haymart with a new Laser Red Mustang GT to use as the pace car. For this year's 50th anniversary cruise, Haymart is rewinding the clock by obtaining a '95 Mustang GT for pace car duty.

"Project Rewind came to us as a one owner car and 100 percent original," said Haymart. "The car is in nearly perfect mechanical condition with 81,000 miles on the clock."

A variety of sponsors have jumped on board to help with the cosmetic restoration, including an American flag vinyl wrapping courtesy of Late Model Restoration. For more photos and info, including schedule and routing for Mustangs Across America, visit www.mustangsacrossamerica.com.

Countdown to the 50th

On April 16-20, 2014, Ford Motor Company and the Mustang Club of America will celebrate the Mustang's 50th anniversary with two simultaneous 50th Mustang Birthday Celebration events at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Related activities start two weeks earlier with Great American Pony Drives from seven locations cruising to Norman, Oklahoma, for an official Kick-Off weekend followed by eastbound and westbound Pony Drives to the Mustang 50th events.

The official website, www.mustang50thbirthdaycelebration.com, includes registration and hotel information for both events and the Kick-Off weekend. Event schedules will be updated as information becomes available.

Update: The MCA has announced that clubs, registries, and other organizations will be able to park together in special areas at both Charlotte and Las Vegas as part of the M.O.R.E. program – Mustang Organizations Rallying Enthusiasts. At Charlotte, the paved M.O.R.E. area will be located in Hospitality Village 1 adjacent to the Charlotte Motor Speedway tower entrance. A similar area will be set up for Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Deadline for groups to apply for M.O.R.E. parking is March 15. Contact Steve Prewitt at gtpony94@aol.com.

Clarification: There are two separate Pony Drive cruises prior to the 50th Mustang Birthday Celebrations, each requiring separate registration. David Turnbull from the Great American Pony Drive is coordinating seven cruises during April 4-11 from different areas of the country to Oklahoma for the Kick-Off Party. To register, go to www.ponydrive.us. Following the Kick-Off weekend, the MCA is hosting its own eastbound and westbound Pony Drives from Oklahoma to Charlotte and Las Vegas, departing April 13 and arriving at the tracks on Wednesday, April 16. Registration for the MCA cruises is available at www.mustang50thbirthdaycelebration.com by clicking on the Norman, Oklahoma, link.

April 4-11, 2014
Great American Pony Drives to Norman, Oklahoma
Dearborn: Departs April 8
Jacksonville: Departs April 4
Richmond: Departs April 7
Boston: Departs April 6
Los Angeles: Departs April 4
Sacramento: Departs April 5
Seattle: Departs April 6
Visit www.ponydrive.usfor complete schedules, routes, and activities.

April 10-16, 2014
Mustangs Across America 50th Drive
Departs April 10 from Los Angeles for a week-long cruise to Charlotte. Visit www.mustangsacrossamerica.comfor route and schedule.

April 11-13, 2014
Official 50th Anniversary Kick-Off Party hosted by the Mustang Club of America at the National Center for Employee Development (NCED) Conference Center and Hotel in Norman, Oklahoma. Track event at the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Department Training Facility, Friday evening Meet and Greet, and Saturday night banquet with speakers.

April 13-16, 2014
50th Anniversary Pony Drives from Norman, Oklahoma, to Charlotte and Las Vegas. Participants can also join along the way (eastbound overnight stops in Little Rock, Nashville, and Asheville; westbound stops in Amarillo, Albuquerque, and Flagstaff). For a route map, registration, and hotel information, visit www.mustang50thbirthdaycelebration.com.

April 16-20
Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration events at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Shows, open tracks, Hospitality Villages, special activities and displays, swap meet, manufacturer midway.
April 16: Pony Drive arrivals, vendor set-up, Welcome Party (7:00 PM)
April 17: Opening Ceremonies (11:00 AM), evening banquet
April 18-19: Open track, drag racing (Charlotte), parade laps, Half Marathon (Las Vegas), themed dinner (Friday, Charlotte), evening banquet (Saturday, Charlotte)
April 20: Easter Sunrise Services, on-track photo ops, closing ceremonies (2:00 PM)

News Desk

Cracker Barrel is celebrating the Mustang's 50th Anniversary with a number of 50th anniversary items, including die-cast models and a paperback edition of Donald Farr's Mustang: 50 Years book. Look for the Mustang display in your local Cracker Barrel.

Kelsey Tire now offers a reproduction of the E70x15 Goodyear Polyglas blackwall tire that was used on '68 Shelby Mustangs. Visit www.kelseytire.com for more information.

Former Ford drag racer Hubert Platt now has a website that details his history of driving Cobra Jets, funny cars, and doorslammers. There are plenty of photos, including his time with Mustangs as part of the Ford Drag Team in 1969-70.

Right before this issue went to press, Ford announced that it would reveal the '15 Mustang on December 5 at events in Los Angeles, New York, Dearborn, Barcelona, Shanghai, and Sydney. Most of us, however, saw the new Mustang as part of Ford promotions on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media sites. We'll also have coverage in the next issue of Mustang Monthly.

Lee Marvin Shelby at Auction

The '68 Shelby GT 500KR convertible that was purchased new by actor Lee Marvin will be one of the featured cars for sale at the Russo and Steele Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona, on January 15-19, 2014. Purchased new by Marvin, who won numerous awards for his roles in movies like Cat Ballou and The Dirty Dozen, the Cobra Jet-powered Shelby is one of only 318 GT 500KR convertibles built. Marvin owned the Shelby until 1972 when he gave it to his gardener, who drove it sparingly during the 1970s.

The KR passed through several other owners before it was commissioned for a concours restoration by Drew Alcazar from Concours Restorations, resulting in a First Place award at SAAC-14 in 1989. Currently showing 14,000 miles, the Shelby will be sold with its Shelby Automotive pre-delivery inspection form that includes the car's serial number along with Lee Marvin's name and Hollywood address. The console is signed, "To Lee Marvin, Best Wishes, Carroll Shelby."