It’s common to see 1965 Shelby Mustang GT350s bring big bucks at auction, like Lot 139 did at last year’s RM Sotheby’s Amelia Island auction when it went for $242K. The more race-ready GT350R prepped Shelby Mustangs fetch even more dough. Going down the list in big-money Mustangs, you’ll hit “K-Code” convertibles, GTs and, if you go far enough down, you’ll find your way to the bargain basement straight-six coupe. These modestly powered coupes are great cruisers and fun toys but don’t often fetch top dollar. Of course, there’s always an outlier.
At this year’s Mecum auction in Indianapolis, a lightly-optioned 1965 Ford Mustang coupe with the 170 cid straight six is estimated to sell for $450-650K. That’s not a typo.
What makes this car special is that it's the first Mustang coupe to get a vehicle identification number. The Mustang that sports serial no. 00001 is a convertible that sits in the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. This car, serial no. 00002, was built with basically what Ford had laying around at its Allen Park plant, with an engine from a Ford Falcon, a transmission from a Ford Fairlane and a rear end from a Ford Falcon Ranchero.
The parts are about the same as what you'd see in any other Mustang, there are nuanced differences — things like the gear selector, which is straight like you’d find if you stepped inside a Fairlane at a Ford store, rather than bent like in later Mustangs.
Almost as odd as the parts selection is the fact this is a "showroom special," which means it’s about as cheap as you’d want to buy. The options list doesn’t go farther than a radio, white wall tires and windshield washers. The budget Mustang was then given a “show car” treatment that leaded all the obvious panel seams you’d find in a regular 1965 Mustang.
After doing dealership and show car duties, this Mustang traded hands 13 times before current owner Bob Fria snagged it in 1997. The car then went through a complicated two-year restoration.
For your average Mustang collector or enthusiast, dropping nearly half a million dollars on a six-cylinder Mustang doesn't make sense, but if you’re a diehard pony car fan this is a must. Lot number S125 rolls across the auction block Saturday, May 20.