Chassis number: 5F08D110588
Engine number: C6AE6015C

Introduced in April 1964 at the New York World’s Fair, and conceived by Lee Iacocca, the Ford Mustang created an overnight nationwide sensation. It offered a winning combination of sporting performance, personal luxury and crisp styling that spawned a new “Pony Car” market and encouraged stiff competition from Detroit’s other major automakers. Part of the Mustang’s appeal was the wide range of options; Ford offered the ability to truly personalize a Mustang. A buyer could specify anything from a relatively tame six-cylinder coupe to a fully equipped convertible with one of three highperformance V8 engines. Although Ford projected first-year sales of about 100,000, this mark was reached in a mere four months, making the Mustang’s introduction the most successful in automotive history. By 1966, one million Mustangs were being driven on American roads.

Due to its mid-year introduction in 1964, the earliest examples of the Mustang were titled as 1965 models (as this example is), but are known unofficially as 1964½ cars.

Presented here is one of these revered 1964½ Mustangs, finished in a classic color combination of Code M, Wimbledon White, with a black interior and a white convertible top with matching boot cover. This Mustang was factory-equipped with the extremely rare, early production (April 1964), a “D code” 289-ci 4-barrel, dual exhaust V8 engine and 4-speed manual Borg Warner T10 H-1 transmission, with power steering and original-style wire spoke hubcaps.

This Mustang is described by the vendor as being in excellent mechanical and cosmetic condition, having benefited from a comprehensive major service that included a host of new components.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1964 1/2 Ford Mustang Convertible
Years Produced:1965
Number Produced:28,833 early convertibles
Original List Price:$2,557
SCM Valuation:$22,400–$30,400
Tune Up Cost:$120
Distributor Caps:$12
Chassis Number Location:Door tag, driver’s fender apron
Engine Number Location:Above starter
Club Info:Mustang Club of America,
Alternatives:1967 Camaro 327, 1964 Plymouth Barracuda, 1963 Ford Falcon
Investment Grade:B

This car, Lot 311, sold for $37,644 at Bonhams’ Scottsdale auction on January 19, 2012.

The Mustang was the single-best-selling new model in automotive history and still is to this day.

This rabbit, pulled from the hat of Lee Iacocca, was, in essence, a redesign of a comparatively marginal success, the Ford Falcon. This trick gave Ford enthusiastic publicity (something it was longing for) and immediately put the Mustang into iconic status. Regardless of sales numbers, why wouldn’t the Mustang be iconic? It’s good-looking, it’s quick and it’s simple. It managed to cross gender lines without either gender caring, which is a feat in itself.

Two versions of the initial Mustang are commonly recognized. While all first-year Mustangs were sold and titled as 1965 model year cars, the Mustang community dubbed the early 1965 model year cars as 1964½. These were the cars produced before many small improvements took place in the build halfway through 1964.

Quick improvements

When the Mustang was launched on March 9, 1964, Ford knew that it was playing with some old technology. The charging system was the most glaring of shortcomings. Generators were quickly on their way out, and they were replaced by alternators, which did everything better when it came to charging. Ford also knew their engine lineup would have to offer better performance if the Mustang were to keep the attention of its young audience. Top dog of the early cars was the “D code” 289, putting out a respectable 210 horsepower. While this engine was basically a bored-out 260 that was used in the Falcon (and here in the Mustang), this displacement was considered fresh, as it arrived in 1963. This 289 also handsomely beat the 164-hp rating of the aging 260, further inspiring confidence in Mustang performance. Not until midyear, though, was the “K code” 289 Hi-Po engine “officially” released, giving the performance-buying public a stout 271-hp option.

August 18, 1964 (some say the end of July) is the day that the 1964½ Mustang became the 1965. This is when most of these changes started to take place. As production was running at a fever pitch, there was no true line in the sand for all identifiers of a 1964½ Mustang. You can bet Ford used up any bits remaining after August 18. For instance, there may be some late ’65 models with the old Eaton power-steering pump versus the new Thompson unit. Only an assembly line worker with a fantastic memory would know for sure.

’64½ or transplanted ’66?

This charming little car is a bit of a mystery. Without any service history paperwork over the years, it’s hard to explain its many nuances, such as the alternator, that tell us that this car may not be an early production 1964½. But wait — it is a “D code” VIN, which was dropped mid-1965. Then there is the later Thompson power-steering pump. What’s going on here?

A look at the engine code tells us that this is not a numbers-matching car. In fact, this engine wasn’t cast until 1966, and it was not necessarily used in a Mustang. Since the block was changed, then so was the bellhousing, which brings up the question whether the transmission is original. Ford’s practice of using up leftover parts on the assembly line may (and I stress may) tell us that this is a transition car. If only the block was changed, that might explain some of the other irregularities. Perhaps this car just got a complete transplant from a ’66 car, which included upgraded parts not found on the ’64½ — such as the alternator and Thompson power-steering pump.

An expensive buy

This was a nice car, but $37,644 was big money considering its stories. Nice Mustang convertibles often can be found for $10k less than this, so I think we’re looking at a case of someone — or maybe two bidders — simply needing to own this particular car rather than a positive shift in the early Mustang market. After all, at this level, the buyer can expect numbers-matching perfection. With that in mind, this was very well sold

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