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Woman Who Bought The First Ford Mustang Sold In U.S. Still Owns It 60 Years Later

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Since the early 1900s, Ford has been a massively influential force in the car industry, and one of its flagship models is celebrating a huge milestone—along with its most devoted fan. Meet Gail Wise, a Park Ridge native and proud owner of the Ford Mustang, the very first one sold in the United States and the exact same car she still owns six decades later.

The Ford Mustang was first introduced on April 17, 1964 and was expected to sell 100,000 vehicles a year, only for the 1965 Mustang to become the most successful launch since the 1927 Model A. That first year saw 400,000 units sold and within two years, Ford sold its one millionth Mustang. But before that official wave, Gail was able to buy the very first unit ever sold in America, even before its official launch, obtaining a piece of history she still lovingly possesses.

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Gail Wise happened to be able to get buy the very first Ford Mustang sold in the United States in 1964

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“Back then you lived at home until you got married,” explained Gail, who in the ’60s taught third grade at Sunnyside Elementary School in Berkeley, Illinois. She was 22 and traveled the 12 miles between her home and work using her parents’ car, but this was unsustainable. Her family all drove Fords, and specifically convertibles, which was high on Gail’s wish list for her very own car.

RELATED: Take A Look At Ford’s Most Powerful Street-Legal Mustang With 760 Hp

She remembers the very day, Wednesday, April 15, 1964, her father went to Chicago’s Cicero Avenue, to visit Johnson Ford. A solution was in sight but there were no convertibles on the showroom floor that day. The salesman, however, was sympathetic to Gail’s plight and revealed that there was one special something in the back.

However, there was a catch. That special something was going to make its big debut—on April 17 as part of the New York World’s Fair. Buying the car in the back meant doing so without a test drive. Gail agreed.

“I just fell in love,” she recalled. “It was sporty. It had the bucket seats, the transmission on the floor. He started it up. It went zoom zoom and made that nice, loud noise. I was just so excited to buy it. I was in heaven. I told the salesman it was for me.” With her salary of $5,000, however, she was faced with a price tag of $3,447.50. But fortunately, here too, she received help in making her dream come true and Gail’s father loaned her the money.

Today, the America’s first sold Ford Mustang is still a treasured part of her life

When Gail left the lot in her new, never-before-seen Ford Mustang, passersby were as agog as she’d been back inside the dealership. The car lasted her 15 years, reports Chicago Sun-Times. It had a front-row seat to all the major milestones of Gail Wise and the family of her own that she grew in that time.

Gail Wise is still the proud owner of the very first Ford Mustang sold in the United States 60 years ago this April / YouTube screenshot

Most of the time, it’s been a reliable vehicle, too, until in the ’70s when she had an issue with the carburetor from the gas pedal. It went into the garage, where it stayed for 27 years.

Finally, as part of her husband Tom’s retirement project, the couple restored the vehicle, an overwhelming project itself. All that time sitting idle had rusted out much of the car, and both the transmission and engine needed a lot of TLC. Tom puts the final cost of restoration at around $35,000. But there’s no price on being the very first Ford Mustang sold in the United States, preceded in the entire world by just a few short hours from a sale made in Newfoundland.

Gail bought her car before it made its national debut / YouTube screenshot

RELATED: 10 Vintage Cars You’ll Wish You Still Had To Drive Today

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