The first serialized Ford Mustang hardtop is going up for auction – it's expected to sell for between $450,000 and $600,000.
A 1965 base-model, 101-horsepower Ford Mustang normally wouldn't attract much attention. Back then, the low-spec Mustang was mass produced, making it one of the most common cars on American roads. This one, however, is special because it represents one of the first ever models to roll off the production line, as shown by its unusually low serial number of 00002. The rare Mustang will be sold at the Mecum's Indianapolis auction in May – Hemmings estimates it will sell somewhere between $450,000 and $600,000.
Paying in the region of half a million dollars for a low-spec car over 50 years old may sound absurd, but how many chances do you get to own one of the earliest examples of one of the most iconic cars of all time? Fitted with a 170-cu.in. straight-six and a three-speed manual transmission, this vintage Mustang is one of around 150-180 pre-production cars that were built between February and March 1965. Confusingly, while the serial number suggests this is the second production-spec Mustang ever made, that may not be the case. The auction listing says that it's impossible to tell because Ford built Mustangs with out-of-order VINs.
It is, however, the first hardtop Mustang to receive a VIN. Each pre-production Mustang was also stamped with a build date of March 5 1964, despite some being completed earlier. The 1965 Mustang is currently owned by Bob Fria, a Mustang historian who has been researching the car's back story. Fria discovered that the 100002 VIN Mustang was originally going to be shipped to a Ford dealer in Vancouver to mark the Mustang's showroom introduction on April 17 1964. Somehow, it ended up in the Yukon Territory at Ford dealer Whitehorse Motors, missing the introduction ceremony. The classic car was used as a dealer demonstrator before being sold on in 1965.
After going through 13 owners, Fria bought the VIN 100002 Mustang and restored it back to its original condition over two years. Today, only a handful of pre-production 1965 Mustangs survive, including the first two serialized cars. The other model, 100001, is a convertible on display at the Henry Ford Museum, though the 100002 hardtop also made an appearance at the museum to celebrate the company's 100th anniversary. If you can afford it, Mustang collectors will definitely want to snap this one up as one of the most important relics of the auto industry.