One-Tank Trip for April 12/14
(c) By Jim Fox
The Mustang, Ford’s iconic pony car, is turning 50 and remains one of the most popular collector vehicles.
It was introduced on April 17, 1964 at the New York World’s Fair and its distinctive styling and appeal made it the automaker’s most successful launch since the Model A.
|The No. 1 Mustang is now a feature of The Henry Ford museum. (Barbara Fox photo)|
The convertible bearing Serial No. 1 is on view at The Henry Ford museum in Dearborn, Michigan but took an interesting trip from its birthplace at the Ford Rouge Center to Newfoundland and back to Metro Detroit.
This historic vehicle was sold by mistake to a Canadian pilot and led to somewhat frantic efforts by Ford to return it to its homeland.
‘Stang’ feature attractions
Visiting the Ford museum is a trip down memory lane – that is, before it became a freeway.
Along with a vast collection of historic vehicles, it has two Mustangs – No. 1 and the Mustang 1 Roadster concept car.
|No. 1 Mustang was on view at the Detroit's North American International Auto Show (Barbara Fox photo)|
No. 1 will be at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina for the 50th birthday celebrations from April 17 to 20.
The “sharp-looking little two-seat” roadster from 1962 and first to use the Mustang name is at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway next weekend for the “sister birthday celebration.”
|The Roadster concept car from 1962 was the first Ford to carry the Mustang name. (Jim Fox photo)|
No. 1’s early history with its Canadian connection is a “fascinating one,” said Melissa Foster, the museum’s media and film relations manager.
The car was one of about 180 pre-production Mustangs built as “test” and show vehicles before full production, said Matt Anderson, curator of transportation.
In preparation for its launch, Ford wanted at least one car at every major dealer so they would at least have a physical example to show, he said.
“Logically, Ford took the first-built cars and sent them to the dealers that were farthest away, with Serial Number One ending up at George Parson’s Ford in St. John’s.”
Airline pilot Stanley Tucker bought the car the moment he saw the Wimbledon white convertible on display.
|The interior of the No. 1 Ford Mustang. (Jim Fox photo)|
The problem was, the dealer “broke two rules – selling the car to Tucker and doing it three days before the debut,” Anderson said.
When Ford executives found out, they wanted the car back and finally negotiated a deal with Tucker two years later.
In exchange, they gave him the fully-loaded, one-millionth 1966 Mustang and donated No. 1 to the museum.
|Haley Williams, Miss Michigan 2013, shows off the 50th anniversary 2015 Mustang. (Jim Fox photo)|
As well as being on permanent display, the two Mustangs will be featured at the museum’s Motor Muster at Greenfield Village on June 14 and 15.
There’s also the Old Car Festival on Sept. 6 and 7 in the village adjoining the museum. thehenryford.org; 1-800-835-5237
Historic automotive overnights
Combine an auto getaway with a stay at Henry Ford’s Dearborn Inn near the museum.
The auto baron built one of the world’s first airport hotels, now a Marriott property.
The Dearborn Inn was built by auto baron Henry Ford. (Marriott photo)
The Georgian-style inn opened in 1931 across from the Ford Airport and has an early American or Colonial style decor.
The airport closed in 1933 and was replaced by a vehicle test track but the inn remains a leading hotel for lodging and dining.
A National Historic Site, the inn has historic auto-related photos and car ads adorning the halls and rooms and added five replica homes in a Colonial village setting in 1937.
|The Dearborn Inn's Colonial village setting. (Jim Fox photo)|
The accommodation reproduced the homes of famous Americans Barbara Fritchie, Patrick Henry, Edgar Allan Poe, Walt Whitman and Oliver Wolcott.
Two “motor houses” were added in 1960 named after two “geniuses of American ingenuity” – the (Luther) Burbank House and the (Dr. William Holmes) McGuffey House.
“As the Dearborn Inn looks to its future, it will continue to carry on Henry Ford’s vision of what a modern hotel should be while maintaining its great historical presence,” said Jodie Kennedy, marketing manager for Marriott International.
The “Discover the Henry Ford Museum” package ($219 to $354 US nightly) includes deluxe accommodations, admission for two to two attractions – the museum, Greenfield Village or the Ford Rouge Factory tour – and breakfast for two. It’s available Friday and Saturday nights through Dec. 31.
Room rates are from $139 nightly for a two-night stay. marriott.com/hotels/hotel-deals/dtwdi-the-dearborn-inn-a-marriott-hotel; 1-800-228-9290
Jim Fox can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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