|The Tucker Mustang/ The first Mustang|
Most of you know this white convertible by now, bearing VIN number 001. I saw it in Nashville in 2004, click here for my pics. This page however gives you some more info on the famous and important mustang.
In 1964 Stanley Tucker, an canadian pilot was 33 when he spotted the white mustang at George Parson Ford dealer in St John, Newfoundland.
He insisted on immediate delivery and drove it home the next day. Two years later he agreed giving it back to Ford who wanted his number one back and got a fully loaded '66 Silver Frost convertible in return. Even a television was on the option list....
The trade was publicezed as "Number one for the Million and One". Captain Tucker was invited on March 2 1966 at the assembly line at the Dearborn plant.
He even spent some time with Iacocca and enjoyed time with girls from the office !
5F08F100001, that is the famous VIN number and although it has number one as VIN, it is actually not the first mustang built (that is Bob Fria's blue hardtop)
Classic in Wimbledon White, it sported the 260ci V8, automatic transmission, power steering, power brakes, console, AM radio, standard wheel covers with spinners, black standard interior and back up lights. Sticker price: $3,307.15 !
After Ford got it back it went into storage for 18 years untill it reached the minimum age to be on display in the Henry Ford Museum. It was also used for a promotional picture with a 20th Anniversary mustang convertible. It was never driven during all those years, it was always pushed to its new location.
Preserve, not restore
Early 2003 Malcolm Collum, conservator at The Henry Ford, received a request to get the mustang in running condition for the Centennial activities (100 years Ford, 1903-2003).
Together with George Gunlock (a chassis engineer at Ford, volunteer at the Henry Ford and a Firestone tire engineer assigned to Bud Moore's Trans-Am team in '70) the project started in March 2003. They inspected the 10,634 mile convertible and located the original keys (stored in a museum file). In the trunk they found the original spinner hubcaps, there was a jack and lug wrench, but not spare tire on the like new trunkmat.
The original 6.50 x 14 bias tires were pretty well cracked but did hold air. The engine turned freely, but the master cilinder was stuck. The radiator was still filled with antifreeze and the fuel tank had been drained. They exhaust was also original but banged up. There were 2 major concerns though, they founds signs of a transmission leak, most likely from the seals and the oil pan was damaged.
To get this fixed they got the whole engine and transmission out, otherwise they had to cut the original exhaust. The C4 was refurbished by Joe Boulton using new seals. The engine had its oil pan removed, thankfully there was no internal problem as a result of the damage, so the oil-pickup screen was cleaned and a new oil-pump shaft was installed before the oil pan was reinstalled.
The engine had its waterpump replaced as the original one did not turn smoothly due to heavy corrosion. The generator was in perfect working condition, but needed to be "polarized". The starter, which failed a routine bench test, was torn down and reassembled twice before mysteriously functioning again. New points and spark plugs were installed and the carburator received a rebuilt.
Noting body damage repairs on the right front fender and left rear quarter, the team requested assistance from Ford's Global Paint Engineering engineers, who used an electronic paint-thickness gauge to find the anticipated .006-.008-inch paint thickness. Gunlock explains, "Because cars were not painted by robots in those days, it was expected, and found on Mustang No. 1, that the paint was a little thicker on horizontal surfaces, somewhat thinner on the sides, and thinnest on the lower sides where it was harder to reach with a spray gun." The paint engineers determined that Mustang No. 1 retains 90 percent of its original paint
"The body fit is marginal by today's standards," Gunlock says. "The hood is high on one rear corner, and clearances to the fenders are not uniform. We agonized over fixing it, but Malcolm studied old pictures and determined it was always that way. Those old pictures even allowed Malcolm to confirm that the now repaired dent in the front fender was there in 1966 when Tucker traded the car back to Ford."
Not wanting to dismount the original tires from their rims, they located another set of rims and fitted them with reproduction 6.95x14 BFGs from Coker Tire. "The car will not drive again on its original tires," Gunlock explains, "but they will be reinstalled when the car goes on permanent display."
So the car was ready for the Centennial and appeared on the 40th Anniversary Meeting in Nashville.