The very first hardtop Ford Mustang up for sale
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The first hardtop Mustang to receive a VIN plate, number 5F07U100002, will go under the hammer on May 20 in Indianapolis, USA.
The car has been through an extensively researched two-year restoration to get it in showroom condition. A task that was made tougher as this is not just any first-generation production Mustang, in fact, it’s a pre-production model, used to showcase Ford’s new model at shows and dealerships back in 1965.
As part of the pre-production preparation, Ford needed to train workers at the Dearborn plant in Michigan, as well as build Mustangs for PR duties, including a dozen convertibles for the Magic Skyway at the soon-to-open New York World’s Fair.
However, the first two orders, convertible 5F08F100001 and hardtop 5F07U100002, were destined for Canadian Ford dealers so they would have a new Mustang in their showrooms for introduction day, April 17.
Current owner of 100002 and Ford fanatic, Bob Fria has been unraveling the tale of 5F07U100002, a Caspian Blue 1965 Mustang Hardtop.
The early VIN piqued Fria’s interest. During the restoration disassembly, Fria discovered production oddities, including prototype sheet metal stampings and welds unlike those found on later Mustangs.
As Fria dug into the car’s history by interviewing former Ford employees and becoming friends with Mustang development spearhead, Lido Iacocca along the way.
Fria’s digging revealed that between 150 and 180 pre-production Mustangs were built between February 10 and March 5, 1964, all with a pre-assigned 05C (March 5) build date stamped in their data plates.
Some came from the Allen Park Pilot Plant where they had been used to develop the assembly-line build processes. These partially completed pilot Mustangs were trucked to the Dearborn Assembly Plant for the pre-production assembly-line on February 10.
Among these Pilot Plant chassis was the Mustang that would be assigned VIN 5F07U100002, the first VIN assigned to a hardtop. However, the consecutive unit number didn’t necessarily determine the order off the assembly line.
Then, like today, Ford didn’t necessarily build cars consecutively by VIN. Despite Fria’s efforts, he has been unable to determine which Mustang was the first off the line.
Fria did learn that 100002 was scheduled for early assembly to allow time for shipping by rail to Brown Brothers Ford in Vancouver on Canada’s western coast. However, the Caspian Blue hardtop was somehow misrouted, eventually ending up at Whitehorse Motors in the Yukon Territory in May and totally missing the Mustang’s April 17 introduction. Whitehorse Motors installed a block heater, then used the car as a demonstrator until it was finally sold in the spring of 1965.
Only a handful of the pre-production 1965 Mustangs survive today, including the first two serialized 1965 cars. The convertible, 100001, is owned by Ford Motor Company and displayed at The Henry Ford Museum. Fria rescued 100002 in 1997 after 13 previous owners. A two-year restoration returned the hardtop to its 1964 condition, complete with a date-coded 170 CI 6-cylinder engine.
The historic first-serialized Mustang hardtop was displayed at Ford World Headquarters during Ford’s 100th anniversary and has been photographed with Lee Iacocca.
During his studies, Fria became the foremost authority on early Mustang development, especially the hectic early months of 1964 as Ford prepared its new car for production. Fria eventually put his research into a book, “Mustang Genesis.”
There is only one “first.” This Mustang goes down in pony-car history as the first hardtop to receive a serial number.