With the crowd at Mecum’s Dallas auction electrified by the appearance of NASCAR legend Richard Petty, the charity sale Saturday of a 2015 Mustang GT customized by “The King’s” own Petty’s Garage raised $535,000 for Paralyzed Veterans of America and reigned as the top-selling vehicle of the Texas auction.
Few classic cars have the universal appeal of a truly great Ford Mustang and here’s one for Pick of the Week that is an apparently pristine, very-low-mileage beauty that ticks all the boxes.
The 1966 Ford Mustang GT fastback is a rare numbers-matching factory K-Code model, which means it has a special high-performance 271-horsepower 289-cid V8 under its long hood and also is equipped with a heavy-duty clutch, driveshaft and differential and sports suspension.
Ford Mustang galloped into the consciousness of classic car enthusiasts throughout 2014 as the original pony car celebrated its 50th anniversary, and was featured as the centerpiece for many major events held coast-to-coast.
The official birth date was proclaimed as April 17, 1964, which marked the sports coupe’s unveiling to wild acclaim at the New York World’s Fair. To commemorate that day, thousands of Mustangs of every ilk took part in a pair of coinciding cross-country drives – one drive wouldn’t be enough – that took the herds to thunderous Mustang festivals in mid-April.
Although Mustang stole most of the glory, there were a number of other significant classic car anniversaries to crow about during the year, though for American drivers, none of them had the cultural significance of the first Mustang.
At a more global level was the 100th anniversary of Maserati, one of the world’s greatest racing and sports-car brands. The official Maserati Centennial gathering happened in Italy, naturally, with hundreds of vintage and contemporary models gathering in Cremona – where Maserati set a major speed record in 1929 – during a drive from Modena to Turin.
But Maserati also was celebrated worldwide with high-end car shows and concours d’elegance events choosing Maserati as honored marque and bringing out rare and historic examples of the high-performance cars for the public to marvel at.
That wasn’t the only important anniversary for Maserati. In May, the Indianapolis 500 honored the 75th anniversary of Maserati’s historic win of the 1939 race by Wilbur Shaw driving the Maserati 8CTF “Boyle Special.” The sleek race car, which Shaw also drove to victory in 1940, was back on the track before the Indy race as veteran race driver Johnny Rutherford took the restored beauty for a parade lap before the roaring crowd.
Dodge also hit the century mark during 2014, setting the date when the Dodge Brothers rolled out their first automobile in November 2014. The yearlong celebration seemed pretty low-key overall, although there was a major corporate party in July at Meadow Brook Hall in Rochester Hills, Michigan, with a fine assemblage of vintage Dodge cars and concepts.
Also marking the occasion were 100th Anniversary Editions of the Charger and Challenger
Along with the Mustang, another significant domestic fun car celebrated 50 years. It was the groundbreaking 1964 Pontiac GTO, widely regarded as the muscle car that set the tone for the horsepower wars between American brands through the ’60s and early ’70s. That, as well as becoming an enduring subject for rock ‘n’ roll songs.
Sadly, Pontiac is no longer with us, so the celebration took on something of a muted tone. Although there was at least one big birthday party, held during the 2014 convention of the GTO Association of America car club in Monroeville, Pennsylvania.
A remarkable piece of America ingenuity also celebrated its 50th this year, the Meyers Manx dune buggy that was hand-built by Bruce Meyers from fiberglass and VW running gear in his Newport Beach, California, garage. The simple Manx was the first of its kind, which many others copied, and it became emblematic of the 1960s California beach culture.
Manx’s anniversary was officially celebrated in Washington, D.C., during the Historic Vehicle Association’s inaugural Cars at the Capitol automotive heritage celebration in May, when the iconic dune buggy became the second automobile entered into the National Historic Vehicle Register of the Library of Congress (the original Shelby Cobra Daytona race car was the first).
And speaking of Volkswagen, the Beetle marked the 65th year since its introduction to the United States in January 1949. A Dutch businessman became the first importer for VW, and only two of them were sold that first year. But Volkswagen of America established its headquarters on the East Coast later in 1949, and within just a few years, 10s of thousands of beetles were plying American roads.
One of the greatest sports racing cars of the 1950s, the Jaguar D-type, made its debut in 1954 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where it roared to second place overall. For its 60th anniversary, the magnificent D-Type is remembered not only for its race-winning performance but for such innovative features as monocoque construction and disc brakes.
Finally, another European automaker celebrated an important milestone during 2014. For Swedish automaker Volvo, it was the 70th anniversary of the unveiling of its seminal compact car, the PV444, shown in prototype form in Stockholm during World War II. The automaker’s first unibody design, the PV444 would begin production in March 1947 and paved the way for Volvo’s legacy of sturdy, safe and well-conceived automobiles.
A Texas couple in a 1966 Ford Mustang achieved the first-ever threepeat of consecutive victories in Great Race history by winning the 2014 Maine-to-Florida classic car competition.
While they were at it, Barry and Irene Jason also scored a couple of other firsts. No one before them had ever scored a perfect day in the time-distance rally contest, as they did on Day One. And no one had ever won the Great Race in a post-war car, a difficult feat because of a scoring system heavily handicapped toward older vehicles.
So that’s three wins and three firsts, and the reward for Jasons’ efforts this year was a $50,000 first-place check that they collected at the finish line on Sunday.
The Jasons of Keller, Texas, won the 2012 and 2013 Great Races in a 1935 Ford coupe, but this year they opted for their bright-red 1966 Mustang, a six-cylinder coupe favorably equipped with air conditioning. This is the 12th year that Barry Jason, an electrical engineer, and Irene Jason, a retired school administrator, have run the cross-country race.
The Great Race, an annual event founded in 1983, is a long-distance rally for pre-1972 vehicles. This year, the 2,300-mile race started June 21 in Ogunquit, Maine, and finished Sunday in The Villages near Ocala, Florida (click here to see our Eye Candy photo gallery).
Ninety teams started out in the competition, with a number of them dropping out before the finish because of typical old-car mechanical breakdowns. The Great Race visited 19 cities along the way with local spectators creating a festival atmosphere at each stop.
Photos by Goodwood Festival of Speed
Amid all the European finery, vintage race cars and exotics that made up England’s annual Goodwood Festival of Speed over the weekend, there were some familiar faces from this side of the pond.
Mustangs, Camaros, Barracudas and a few other pristine examples of American “pony cars” were a featured class in this year’s Cartier Style et Luxe Concours d’Elegance on the grounds of the Goodwood House in West Sussex, taking their places among the top-drawer array of concours entries.
Prompted by the 50th anniversary of the Ford Mustang, the seven pony cars on display were:
* One of the original 1964-1/2 Mustang convertibles.
* A 1966 Shelby Mustang GT350.
* A rare 1970 AMC Javelin SST Mark Donohue Edition.
* A 1965 Plymouth Barracuda with its distinctive wraparound rear window.
* A 1968 Chevrolet Camaro Z-28.
* A 1970 Dodge Challenger T/A.
* A 1967 Mercury Cougar XR-7.
* A super-rare 1966 Beverly Hills Mustang Mustero, a real oddball that combines the Mustang sports coupe with the pickup bed of a Ranchero. Just 50 were made.
The pony cars were not the only American beauties on display at the exclusive concours d’elegance. The Cartier event also showed off some of the big 1950s and early 1960s land yachts that the concours called the “Mad Men” class.
The Goodwood Festival of Speed, which combines a sweeping collection of classic cars with a competitive hillclimb race, took place June 26-29. The annual event that refers to itself as “the largest motoring garden party in the world” was founded in 1993 by Lord March to return motorsports to the Goodwood estate.
Photos by Howard Koby
In 1964, the base price of a two-door Ford Mustang hardtop with standard equipment — the original pony car — was $2,368.00, half the price of a Chevrolet Corvette. Gas cost an average of 30 cents per gallon.
The advertising slogan at the time was “Can the unbelievable happen when you meet a Mustang!”
Lee Iacocca was vice president of Ford Division, dreamt up and participated in the design of the Mustang many years before its debut to the public at the New York World’s Fair at the Ford’s Pavilion on April 17, 1964, the same year the Beatles made their American TV debut on the Ed Sullivan Show (which I saw!).
More than one million Mustangs were produced and sold within 18 months and the car enjoyed success throughout the 1960s; in fact, it was the best-selling Ford since the Model T.
By 1971, the Ford Mustang Boss 351 was Ford’s final high-performance Mustang of the muscle car era.
Fast forward to April 16, 2014, Ford reveled the new 50 Year Limited Edition (1,964 will be built) 2015 Mustang Convertible on the 86th floor observation deck of the Empire State Building in New York City, just as it did in 1965 with the first Mustang. The car had to be disassembled into five pieces for the journey up the elevators and reassembled at night for the presentation the next day.
In the last 50 years, more than 9.2 million Mustangs have been produced and sold, which now leads to Generation 6, the newest Mustang penned by Moray Callum, brother of Jaguar designer Ian Callum.
On May 3, 2014, a Mustang Madness weekend at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles included a Mustang rally from Galpin Ford in suburban North Hills to the museum, a Mustang car show and many other activities that were a prelude to the Mustang Forever: 50 Years of a Legend exhibit that runs at the museum through mid-October.
The exhibition features examples of every generation of the pony car, as well as Mustang race cars, factory specials and customized vehicles.
The list of Mustangs in the exhibit includes:
Generation 1 (1964½ to 1973):
- 1965 Ford Mustang Convertible, used by Ronald Reagan during his 1968 campaign for governor of California
- 1965 Shelby Mustang GT350, a barn find
- 1967 Ford Mustang MALCO Gasser, the first gasser to run the quarter-mile in under nine seconds
- 1968 Mustang California Special, one of 111 fitted with a 390-cubic inch big block engine
- 1968 Shelby GT500KR, “King of the Road” featuring a 428 Cobra Jet with Ram Air Induction
- 1969 Ford “Four Engine” Mustang Mach IV Dragster
- 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302
- 1970 Shelby GT500 428 Cobra Jet
- 1971 Ford Mustang Mach I
Generation 2 (1974 to 1978):
1974 Ford Mustang II (first year the four-cylinder was available, and the only year that there was no V-8)
Generation 3 (1979 to 1993):
- 1993 Ford Mustang Cobra SVT
Generation 4 (1994 to 2004):
- 2000 Ford Mustang Cobra R, one of 300 made in 2000
Generation 5 (2005-2014):
- 2006 Shelby GT-H, marking the 40th anniversary of the original Hertz “rent-a-racer” program
- 2007 Saleen Mustang, Parnelli Jones Limited Edition
- 2008 Ford Mustang FR500-C Bonneville Racer, which went over 252 mph at Bonneville in 2008, giving it the distinction of world’s fastest Mustang
- 2009 Ford Mustang Iacocca 45th Anniversary Silver Edition, one of 45 built
- 2011 Ford Mustang GT Retractable Hardtop, customized by Galpin Ford
Additionally, the Petersen showcases several Mustangs in its Hollywood Gallery:
- 1965 Ford Zebra Mustang by Barris, driven by Nancy Sinatra in “Marriage on the Rocks” (1965)
- 1971 Ford Mustang Fastback “Eleanor” driven in the 1974 movie “Gone in 60 Seconds”
- 1991 Ford Mustang LX 5.0 Convertible own by Francis Ford Coppola
- 2013 Ford Mustang, featured in “Need for Speed” (2014)
The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, visit www.Petersen.org.
What better way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Ford Mustang than getting together with a bunch of like-minded enthusiasts and driving the original pony cars across the United States, with a big birthday party at the end of the trip?
That’s the plan when the Mustangs Across America 50th Anniversary Drive leaves Los Angeles on April 10 and heads for Charlotte, N.C., on a seven-day tour. And this is just one of three cross-country drives that are being called the largest-ever mobilization of Mustangs.