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Gail, 72, still has Mustang No.1

2013-12-09 08:55

JOB ONE, SALE ONE: Gail Wise with the first Mustang sold back in 1964. She's owned it for 50 years and took it to the launch of the 2014 Mustang. Image: AP


2014 Ford Mustang

2013-12-05 10:09

America's first pony car, the Ford Mustang, is celebrating its 50th birthday with a new design and plans to go global. What's more, the iconic muscle car is headed for South Africa!


DEARBORN, Michigan - Gail Wise didn’t know she was getting anything special when she drove away from a Chicago Ford dealership in the spring of 1964 in a new Ford Mustang.

As it happened, it was the first pony car - car sale No.1 - of perhaps the most iconic car in the world.

Wise paid $3347 for the car - about R2230 back then - happy to have a convertible. It wasn’t until she was on the road, with other drivers honking and flagging her down, that she realized what she'd bought.

“I felt like a movie star,” she said.


Fifty years and nine-million Mustang sales later, Wise was on hand to celebrate the unveiling of the latest version of the Mustang and with her was the original Mustang convertible, which still sits in her suburban Chicago garage.

Wise was 22 and freshly out of teachers' college when she decided to buy a car to commute to her new job as a junior-school teacher. She went to a Ford dealer and asked for a convertible, since her family already owned two soft-tops from the same brand.

“I thought I deserved a convertible,” she said with a laugh.

The manager didn’t have any on the floor but took her into a back room and pulled a cover off the new Mustang. It was April 15 — two days before the car was officially supposed to go on sale — but he offered it to her anyway.

“It was sporty. It was perfect. It went zoom-zoom,” she said. She got $400 for a 1958 Chevrolet she traded in.


Wise taught for three years before getting married and moving to South Carolina with her husband, Tom, who was in the US Navy but they kept the car, which has through the years been fully restored.

The car now sits in their Park Ridge, Illinois garage next to a 2013 Ford Escape. It made the four-hour trip to Dearborn on a trailer but the Wises still take it on shorter journeys, including a trip last year to Indianapolis so it could make a few laps on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“It’s incredible that it’s still such a popular car,” Wise said.

The upcoming latest Mustang will be built in right-hand drive and be available in South Africa.
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