Only a couple of cars have achieved classic icon status for practically all car-loving Americans. The Ford Mustang, the original 1964, is certainly one of them.
To mark the car’s 50th anniversary, the company tracked down customer No. 1. That’s right, the first customer took possession of the classic back when Lyndon Johnson was president and the Beatles were just getting started in America.
Gail Wise was a 22-year school teacher looking for her first car, and she didn’t want to drive her folks’ 1957 Fairlane any longer. Johnson Ford in Chicago sold Wise her first set of wheels on April 15, 1964 not knowing it would be a classic, and wouldn’t you know it – she still has the keys and the car in her garage.
She actually bought it a couple of days before Ford President Lee Iacocca introduced the car at the World’s Fair. Her dealer didn’t know he was so supposed to hold them back until the big announcement.
The sparkling ragtop she and her husband enjoy today though, went through some bad times. It sat decaying in their garage for 27 years until Wise’s husband, Tom, had it restored. The car looks spectacular today.
It’s a great story to see an American classic kept and restored by the original family. Some of life’s sweetest rewards come from those momentary decisions we make, like going to a dealership 49 years ago, and luck. It is hard to believe that the salesman didn’t know he wasn’t supposed to sell them yet. That was before the age of Twitter and the like that seems to tell everybody what is going to happen before it actually does.