Giving hope to car hoarders everywhere, a suburban Chicago couple are in town this Dream Cruise week to show off their 1964 Ford Mustang. Lovingly restored, rolling in the parade? No. Parked in Royal Oak, on display by the Ford Motor Co. Its distinction: It’s the first Mustang ever sold, and the couple — the male half of which is described as “a saver” by the female half — has the paper to prove it.
The Freep’s entertaining feature on Tom and Gail Wise of Park Ridge, Ill., has a lot of detail about what car buying, and parenting, used to be like back when the Big 3 stood astride the domestic market like towering colossi. The gist: Gail Wise was a young teacher in 1964 when she bought the Mustang, after a salesman took her into a back room and showed her the brand-new model, one of two in stock and the only convertible. Sold.
Fast-forward many, many years, and the non-running car had been sitting in the garage, her husband’s retirement project, when he noticed someone on the internet claiming to have Mustang No. 1, sold on April 16, 1964. People are frequently wrong on the internet (maybe you’ve heard), so Tom dug up the sales paperwork and discovered his wife had bought hers one day previous. That makes the car’s estimated worth somewhere in the $350,000 to $450,000 range, experts estimate.
The parenting part? This:
“You just didn’t go out and buy new cars,” Wise said. “Tom was using it for work. We could fit three kids in the back seat and I’d hold the youngest on my lap.”
Those of us old enough to remember those heady days of babies on mom’s lap salute Gail Wise for admitting to doing such a thing. And we hope the Wises enjoy their VIP stay in Detroit.