Mustang history on the block: Car 00002 is up for auction

Regarded as first serialized hardtop.

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A historic Ford - the first Mustang hardtop to get a VIN, 5F07U100002 - is headed for auction at Mecum's Indianapolis sale in May.

"Firsts" are somewhat hard to pin down with early Mustangs because the record-keeping was shoddy during the first few months of pre-production, and Ford didn't assign VINs in order. There were plenty of preproduction cars, so we can't know that 00002 was or wasn't the first Mustang hardtop, full stop. But it was the first hardtop given a VIN.

Car 00001, a convertible, meanwhile, is in the Ford museum. As for the first Mustang sold to a paying customer, that one still belongs to a lucky lady in Illinois. As Gail Brown told Forbes: "I was the coolest teacher in the school that year."

Car 00002 is not the Mustang configuration any of us today might have chosen - it has a 105-horsepower, 170-cubic-inch six-cylinder and a three-speed, has 13-inch wheels and is Caspian Blue with a blue interior. But its owner, Bob Fria, has unearthed a lot of interesting history about it and ultimately became an authority on early Mustangs and wrote a book, Mustang Genius: The Creation of the Pony Car.

Fria, in restoring the car, found prototype stampings and welds that were not typical of line cars. Ford assigned it a VIN and put it on a train for a dealer in Vancouver, B.C., for the Mustang launch on April 17, 1964 - but it wound up in Whitehorse, Yukon Territories, by mistake, missed the launch day and was a demonstrator until it was sold to the first of 13 owners before Fria bought it in 1997.

The sale of 00002 is the second bit of Mustang historical news this month, since the discovery of a lost Bullitt movie car in Mexico that renowned Ford expert Kevin Marti has deemed "100 percent authentic."

Here's the Mecum sale bill for Car 0000, and a slick online brochure:

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