March 17, 2014

First Retail '15 Mustang Raises Funds for Charity

With a large Fox Sports television audience looking on during Barrett-Jackson's Saturday evening, Ford sold the rights to the purchase of the first retail '15 Mustang GT for $300,000, with the proceeds benefitting diabetes research organization JDRF. The winning bidder was Sam Pack, a car collector and Ford dealer from north Texas.

"The response to the all-new Mustang GT on the auction block was remarkable," said Raj Nair, Ford's group vice-president of global product development. "People were drawn to the opportunity to own this historic car, while also knowing the funds would benefit JDRF. We're pleased to continue this collaboration in the fight to cure type 1 diabetes."

The car crossing the auction block was a pre-production model. Pack will be able to order his first production Mustang GT with any of the available '15 Mustang options.

Build and Modify

A new book from Car Tech covers mild to wild modifications for '65-'73 Mustangs. Written by Frank Bohanan, every component group is included—engine, transmission, rear end, suspension, steering, chassis, electrical, interior, and more. The 160-page softbound book includes information about swapping in a crate engine, adding high-performance brake kits, and installing aftermarket suspension systems. The book is available for $24.95, plus $6.95 shipping and handling, by calling 800/551-4754 or visiting the website at

A new book from Car Tech covers mild to wild modifications for '65-'73 Mustangs

Mustang: 50 Years Ago

The first week of production, which began March 9, 1964, created 593 new Mustangs destined for retail sale. Initial planning called for production of 8,160 cars by introductory day, April 17, but we know from actual VIN number sightings that at least 14,799 were built by that date.

Pre-introduction publicity played a major role in peaking public interest in the new Mustang. By the end of March, 200 radio disc jockeys had been invited to test drive the new Mustang in Dearborn, then allowed to drive one in their own cities for a week if they touted the car on air. In addition, with college kids a large part of the target group for sales, college newspaper editors were given a new Mustang to drive a few weeks before introduction. The plan was unconventional but created a spectacular lead-in to introduction day, April 17.

The goal from day one was to publicly introduce the Mustang at the 1964 New York World's Fair. On April 13, 124 media representatives who were assembled at the Fair for opening ceremonies were addressed by Lee Iacocca. (In Europe, 2,000 media reps were introduced to the car simultaneously). Ford had built a theme-oriented Pavilion at the fair with a moving "Skyway," upon which families could ride in a new Mustang or other Ford convertible as it encircled the exterior of the building. The Tiffany Gold Medal Award was also created for Ford advertising, declaring the Mustang as "excellence in American Design."

On Thursday night, April 16, prime-time television ads were shown simultaneously on all three major networks to 29 million households. The next day, 2,600 major newspapers and 24 magazines nationwide carried full-page advertising. Mustangs were also on display at airport terminals, bank lobbies, shopping centers, and 200 Holiday Inn lobbies across the country. Ford asked dealers not to sell Mustangs before the introductory date to make sure they had cars to sell in the showrooms. And sell they did when that Saturday came. Dealers sold 22,000 Mustangs on the first day; Iacocca had planned for 80,000 for the whole year. Within six weeks, Mustang was the top-selling compact-sized car in the country. In just four months, more than 100,000 were sold; in 12 months, 418,812 left dealer showrooms. Ford Motor Company hit a home run with their new sporty car named Mustang. The legend had begun.

Presentations 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

Editor's note: You can learn factual details and separate fiction from urban legends about the Mustang's creation in Bob Fria's Mustang Genesis book, published by McFarland & Co. and available online from your favorite bookseller.

50th Anniversary Die-Casts

M2 Machines is helping us celebrate the Mustang's 50th anniversary with a number of Ford-licensed 1/24 scale die-casts, including a '65 GT fastback and '70 Boss 302 with 50th Anniversary lettering. White versions are available from a number of sources, including Mustang mail-order vendors like California Mustang (, while a variety of colors are available through an exclusive deal with Walmart, where you can also get a '68½ Cobra Jet and Ford car hauler.

M2 Machines notes that additional 50th anniversary Mustang die-casts will be available in 1/64-scale. Visit for more information.

50th Pony Drives and Kick-Off Weekend

Elsewhere in this issue you'll find the event guide for the Mustang 50th Birthday Celebrations in Charlotte and Las Vegas on April 16-20. But prior to the Big Shows, the Great American Pony Drive is organizing seven cruises from different parts of the country to Norman, Oklahoma, for a MCA-hosted Mustang 50th Kick-Off Party. On Sunday, April 13, two Pony Drives will depart Norman—eastbound to Charlotte and westbound to Las Vegas—with three overnight stops along the way. The Pony Drive caravans will arrive at their destinations on Wednesday, April 16, just in time for the start of the Mustang 50th Birthday Celebrations.

Note that the Great American Pony Drive and the MCA Pony Drive are separate entities requiring separate registrations.

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 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

Mustang I Die-Cast

Automodello recently sent us a sneak-peek photo of their '62 Mustang I die-cast (see February issue's Pony Tales), but even that didn't prepare us for the quality of the real 1/24-scale model that comes in a beautiful display case. The "Tribute edition" die-cast features excellent detail of the two-seater sports car that debuted the Mustang name to the world. Only 499 units will be offered for $299.95, with an additional 150 hand-signed by Dan Gurney, who drove the Mustang I during its Watkins Glen introduction, for $350.

The Mustang I is also available in 1/43-scale, with 999 produced for $119.95 and 50 with Gurney's signature for $195.

The Mustang I die-casts are available at the Automodello website, But better hurry with your order; according to Automodello, some of the die-casts were almost sold-out in early 2014.

Snap-Together '15

Here's a future collectible—if you were lucky enough to attend the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last January and get your hands on the first official '15 Mustang model kit. During the show, Revell hosted a "Make 'n Take" event at the Ford booth, where children (and some adults too, we're sure) were able to snap-together their Auto Show Edition '15 Mustang, and then take it home.

"For nearly 50 years, kids of all ages have been configuring and building their own personal full-size and small-scale Mustangs," said Steve Ling, Ford car marketing manager. "Now they can build a new dream car and take it home. Many of us grew up building model cars, and it's great to have Revell join us in Detroit with its newest model kit as we show off the all-new Ford Mustang at an auto show for the first time."

Revell's '15 Mustang model kit easily snaps together in minutes. No word yet on when, or if, the snap-together model will be available in stores.

News Desk

The launch book for the '15 Mustang, authored by John Clor, has received an August publishing date, about the same time the new Mustang arrives in Ford dealerships. The working title (and subject to change): Mustang Reimagined: The Inside Story of How Ford Redesigned its Iconic Pony Car for 2015 and Beyond.

After a successful 2013 holiday fundraiser centered on a Shelby Christmas tree ornament, the Carroll Shelby Foundation donated $7,500 to the Eli Home for Children.

In an early January interview with the Associated Press, Ford CEO Alan Mulally stated that he is not leaving Ford to take over as CEO for Microsoft. "I have no other plans to do anything other than serve Ford," Mulally said, noting that he is sticking with his plan to stay with Ford at least through 2014.

The Shelby American Automobile Club has announced that SAAC-39 will be held at Wisconsin's Road America in conjunction with the SVRA. Visit for more info.

Rick Mitchell has reactivated his Mustang Six Association, now devoted to all six-cylinder Mustangs, '65-'14. Send an email to Rick at for more information.

Hanahawk Communications will produce a video documentary and daily video blogs of the Mustangs Across America 50th Anniversary Drive on April 10-16. The video will capture the excitement of over 500 Mustangs and their owners on their journey from Los Angeles to Charlotte for the Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration. Visit for more information.

The Coker Group, parent company of reproduction tire company Coker Tire, has opened a new 100,000 sq. ft. distribution and wheel manufacturing center in City of Industry, California.

Many of us grew up building model cars, and it's great to have Revell join us in Detroit with its newest model kit as we show off the all-new Ford Mustang at an auto show for the first time."