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Two of the oldest unrestored Mustangs anchor museum’s new pony car exhibit

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Photos courtesy Historic Vehicle Association, except where noted.

Both were built to entice the general public into buying a Ford Mustang. Both have gone 50-plus years without a restoration. And both the 1963 Mustang II concept and one of the earliest production Mustangs will share the spotlight in America on Wheels’s upcoming pony car exhibition.

Given the early success of the Mustang, one might assume the sporty four-seater capable of appealing to multiple demographics sold itself. However, it was Ford’s carefully orchestrated publicity campaign and rollout of the Mustang that generated that success. A key part of that rollout involved shuttling early production examples around from dealer to dealer for maximum exposure, as we see from Ron Hermann’s Tropical Turquoise convertible.

As Hermann has told the story, he was 17 or 18 in April 1964 when he got to see the Mustang before its official on-sale date at Philadelphia’s Barr Ford thanks to his father’s connections with the management at Barr. (Though he has claimed that he first saw the car on April 8, early Mustang expert Bob Fria’s research shows that Hermann’s Mustang – serial number 109846 – was built April 8.) A $100 on-the-spot deposit earned him the right to buy the V-8 and automatic-equipped convertible, but he had to wait at least another month while it toured eastern Pennsylvania Ford dealerships before he could take possession.

Though he has no bill of sale to document that deposit (and to back up his claim of being the first Mustang buyer), the title for the 1965 Mustang carries a date of May 14. Pretty much all of the convertible’s 17,084 miles came over those first few years; for the last half-decade Hermann kept the convertible garaged, maintaining not only its original drivetrain and body but also its original convertible top, interior, and tires.

“It’s just a perfect example of a Mustang,” America on Wheels executive director Linda Merkel said, noting this will be the first time the Mustang will go on public display.

Photo courtesy Ford Motor Company.

Alongside Hermann’s Mustang, the museum will also display the Mustang II concept car, which Ford commissioned Dearborn Steel Tubing to build to bridge the gap between the Mustang I mid-engine two-seater concept car of the year prior and the upcoming Mustang four-seater production car. Like the former, the Mustang II featured a wedge-shaped front end and blue stripe on white paint; like the latter, it featured the dual three-bar taillamps and faux side scoops along with a front-mounted engine. Ford held on to the Mustang II concept until 1975, when it donated the car to the Detroit Historical Society, which has owned it ever since.

Other cars appearing in the exhibit include a 1967 Chevrolet Camaro Indy pace car, a 1970 Dodge Charger, a 1971 Plymouth ‘Cuda, and a 2008 Shelby Mustang GT500. The exhibit opens Saturday and runs through mid-October. For more information, visit