Tri-County Mustang Club

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                     Weird Mustang Facts

Hype, Myths, Urban Legends, Lost and Found Lore, Rare Finds, And Generally Weird Stuff
From the May, 2009 issue of Mustang Monthly
By Jerry Heasley
    



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The 1964 1/2 Pace Cars - what happened?



   

   
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$1,000 for this 1969? Don&8217t count on it.
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Sure you&8217d pay $3,500 for it now, but could you swing it in 1966?

Science Fact: The Original Mustang Was Styled After...

“If you’ll look at the side view, the original Mustang is nothing more than a scaled-down Continental Mark II,” says Charles Phaneuf, who in 1962 was exterior stylist for the Ford Advanced Studio, which came up with the winning design for the original Mustang. ”Nobody has really picked up on this, but that’s basically what the proportions are.” The actual modeling of the car took 11 days. Some unsung heroes are Walter Amrozi (retired to Florida); George Shoemaker, instrumental in the original small mouth on the front end; and Max Kruger (retired), the studio engineer.

Fictional Science: Market Research Ok’d Production

Ford made up the market research to justify the dollars to produce the first Mustang, just in case it failed. Market research was enlisted after approval, so its findings were baloney, finely sliced, and ready to eat.

Myth: Naming The Mustang Was A Long, Arduous Procedure

Ford’s story is one of intense research to name the car. A long list of possible names was researched, which set off fights. Henry Ford II wanted to call the car Thunderbird II, while Joe Oros fought for the name Cougar and made up Cougar emblems. The name Torino was another favorite.

Lost Lore: ’64½ Pace Cars? Where Are They?

Would you believe the Indy Pace Car Registry of Mustangs currently doesn’t have a single ’64½ registered? Fritz Dowe, one of the members, knows of a hardtop that sold last year for $3,000. Although it was a rust bucket, it had full documentation, which is what made it valuable.

Science Fact: The granddaddy Of Them All

Donald Peterson, who became president of Ford and retired a couple years ago, told us that he owns the “granddaddy of them all,” a ’64½ six-cylinder hardtop. That’s the car with the 13-inch wheels and the 170-1V six-cylinder engine. It has no power options or air conditioning.

Science Fact: Ford Sells Mustang Number One!

Many veteran Mustangers know this, but we feel it is still a fun and interesting fact, especially for newcomers. Mustang Number One (VIN 5F08F100001), a convertible, was accidentally sold when it was brand-new. Ford intended to truck the car across Canada on a tour of dealerships. However, a salesman in St. Johns, Newfoundland, accidentally sold it to airline pilot Captain Stanley Tucker. He drove it about 10,000 miles and then traded it back to Ford. In fact, he traded up for the 1,000,001 Mustang built—a ’66 model assembled at Dearborn, Michigan, on March 2, 1966. Today, 5F08F100001 is on display in the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn.

Hype: Ford Tells Us Wild Stuff And Keeps A Straight Face

The Mustang was one of the hottest new cars in history. Buyers swarmed dealerships to buy new cars. How-ever, many of the stories that Ford passed out in 1964 to the press surrounding the Mustang’s introduction are quite difficult to believe. Have you heard the one about the man in Arlington, Texas, who slept in a ’64½ Mustang until his check cleared the next morning, fearing someone else would get the car? Who was the guy? Where is he now? Does anyone have any leads?

Science Fact: The Way It Really Was!

Jim Wicks, famous for his support of the Mid-America Shelby show, tells us the way it really was in the heyday of the great American ponycar. In 1966, he worked at a service station down the street from Archway Ford in the Baltimore area. This dealership sponsored famous racers, such as Phil Bonner in his Daddy Warbucks’ Mustang and Mark Donohue in a competition GT350. Looking over the inventory of high-performance Mustangs at Archway Ford is where Wicks caught the fever for Shelbys. He remembers looking at GT350s on the lot at night, when nary a one had a tachometer, horn button, gas cap, or Cobra emblem. A sign explained that these cars came with these missing features, but were pulled as a deterrent to theft and would be reinstalled on purchase.

Lost Lore: Ford Of Australia Did Sell Some Early Mustangs!

It’s common knowledge that Ford of Australia did not go into Mustang production. However, in a letter from reader Brett Hay of Aldgate South, Australia, we have learned that Ford of Australia—to help promote its new XR Falcon—imported 48 brand-new hardtop, automatic ’65 Mustangs. They converted each car to righthand drive using local Falcon/Fairlane steering components. The completed cars, fitted with a Ford Australia ID plate on the driver-side inner fenders, were a mix of mostly six-cylinders and a lesser number of 289s.

Weird Science: ET350

Is there a Shelby on the moon? It’s possible. Shop foreman Bob Wyatt, in an interview in The Shelby American, is quoted as saying, “We worked on the moon buggy to the east of the production shop. That has never been made common knowledge. Security was tight.”

Urban Legend: Shelby American Helped Develop The Lunar Landing Module

With security so tight on the buggy, it makes us wonder if the craft that landed Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin Jr. on the moon in 1969 didn’t have some Shelby American roots. This is a story that might be more than urban legend—it could be true.

Lost Lore: The ’68 Tunnel Port

It’s a fact that Ford agreed to homologate the 302 tunnel port for Trans-Am Racing, which meant it had to build the car for showroom sales. Were any made? Car and Driver magazine did a comparison road test with a ’68 Z/28 Camaro and a ’68 tunnel port Mustang. This Ford even had a factory sticker price of $3,719.69. It ran 0-60 mph in 5.4 seconds and the standing quarter-mile in 13.96 at 106.13 mph.

Urban Legend: I saw a ’68 427 Mustang!

Sightings of W-Code Mustangs are quite common. We regularly receive letters (one in particular from Australia) of ’68 Mustangs powered by a factory original 427. So far, we’ve yet to document a car or even receive a picture of a VIN and trim tag with a W code.

Urban legend: 427 Mystery Solved?!

If Kevin Marti has all the facts from Ford, then no W-Code 427 Mustangs were built. According to his new book, Mustang by the Numbers 1967-1973 [copyright 1999 Kevin Marti, El Mirage, AZ (623) 935-2558], which takes information from Ford’s computer archives, the W-Code did not exist—at least where the Mustang is concerned. There is, however, a caveat—the ’72 options list does not show the rear deck spoiler as an option, even though it was shown in 1971 and 1973. Marti even backs up the what-if theory: “Ford might have built them in such small numbers that they never showed up as a Code, kind of like the ’67 Shelbys that had an S engine code (390) and were, in fact, packing the 428.” So, either they are or they aren’t, but so far we still have no graphic proof one way or the other.

Science Fact: Four-lug 15-inch Wheel

It seems that Ford built at least one ’65 Mustang sporting a four-lug wheel and Galaxie hubcaps. From what owners Linda and Harland Lippold of Benton City, Washington, say, the option was an orderable one in 1964. This car also has a trunk-mount antenna.

Myth: It’ll Bring A Fortune In California!

“Oh, no! Don’t take eight grand for your Mustang here! It’ll bring thirty thousand in California!”

Found Lore: Special-Edition Mustangs

If you see a Mustang that looks modified at a concours show, the owner says it is real, and you are smitten with the urge to call him a dunderhead because you’ve never seen a Mach 1 with side stripes such as that and a picture of a tornado on the rear quarters, you’d best keep your mouth shut. In all likelihood, it is real.

Rare Finds: ’69 Ford Mustang Boss 429, 10.5 miles, $1,000

We’ve all heard stories about low-mileage, rare Mustangs at ridiculously low prices. They are legends. Usually, they are false. When they are true, there is an interesting history behind them. What makes early Mustangs so interesting is their heritage. Here’s a typical bizarre true story.

Urban Legend: Tales Of Mustang Finds

Did you hear the one about the ’66 Mustang advertised for sale that turned out to be a Shelby? The stripes were painted over and the buyer discovered a Shelby tag under the hood! Wow, what a deal that was! Don’t we all wish we could be so lucky? Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, these stories are not true, but they sure get attention.

Mexico Rare Finds: Big-Block Mustangs

When gasoline prices skyrocketed in the States during the early ’70s, the price at the pump stayed about the same in Mexico. In the States, prices dropped on big-engined American musclecars—resulting in many of them going south of the border to Mexico.

Science Fiction: I would have bought that car!

We all like to look back decades at cheap prices for historic Mustangs and think we would have bought that car and kept it all these years. The truth is the price at the time seemed a bit pricey to everybody.

Science Fact: You Have Reached the End?

Well, There you have it. Of course, as with any of these, we’d like some more. If you have a bit of urban legend you’d like to dispel or perhaps a bit of fact you’d like to dispense, we’d like to hear from you. Please write to Science Fact and Fiction, Dept. MM, 3816 Industry Blvd. Lakeland, FL 33811.


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