An original Ford Mustang claimed to be the first hard-top example is coming up for auction. It will go under the hammer at Mecum’s Indy 2017 auction in mid-May.
This is a 1965 Mustang with VIN ending in 00002, meaning it comes after the 1965 Mustang convertible with VIN ending in 00001 currently sitting in The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. Both of these were pre-production examples. (Note, the famous 1964½ model year was only unofficially applied after sales started to differentiate the earliest '65 Mustangs from later versions that received some updates.)
There’s always been a bit of controversy surrounding the identity of the earliest Mustangs, as Ford never kept precise production records and the earliest cars weren’t built in sequential order. This means no one really knows for sure which Mustang was actually the first off the line when production started in the early months of 1964.
That said, it’s safe to say that this Caspian Blue example is the first Mustang coupe, given its early VIN and numerous features that only pre-production Mustangs came with, such as the straight shift lever and prototype sheetmetal stampings and welds. Ford has also acknowledged that this is the first Mustang coupe.
This car, like the convertible on display in The Henry Ford Museum, was meant to be shipped to a Ford dealership in Canada after being built so that it could be displayed when the Mustang was launched to the public on April 17, 1964. However, it was somehow misrouted, eventually ending up at Whitehorse Motors in the Yukon Territory in May. It was eventually sold and has since traded hands 13 times. Its current owner is Mustang historian Bob Fria.
While we may never know which Mustang was actually the first to be built, we can say with confidence which was the first sold to the public. That’s the 1964½ Mustang convertible bought by Gail Wise on April 15, 1964—two days before sales officially started.
Mecum’s Indy 2017 auction runs May 16-21 in Indianapolis.