fClassic 1965 Ford Mustang convertible surf beach cruiser auto biography. Story includes history, facts, and information about 65 Ford Mustang GT pony car surfing ragtop. 1965 Ford Mustang Surf Beach Cruiser. 65 Ford Mustang


Classic 1965 Ford Mustang convertible surf beach cruiser auto biography. Story includes history, facts, and information about 65 Ford Mustang GT pony car surfing ragtop. Collectible nostalgia memorabilia
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Ford Mustang Auto Biography

Chapter 1
Mustang Mania
     It was April 17, 1965, when I rolled off Ford's very busy Dearborn assembly line. It was also the day Ford Motor Company was celebrating the first anniversary of the debut of the most successful new car in automotive history. A year earlier America had gotten its first glimpse of Ford's highly anticipated and much touted all new "sporty" car. Small and economical, yet sexy and exciting, the Mustang was not a true sports car. But it was close enough and it was an instant sensation.  For the first time "a poor man's Thunderbird" was available for only $2368, a true bargain price even back in the Sixties. Mustang Madness, Mustang Mania -- call it what you will. All of America, especially the emerging youth market, instantly fell in love with the "pony car".

   In twelve months Ford had sold over 400,000 Mustang two-door hardtops, convertibles and 2+2 fastbacks, the latter having been introduced midway through that exciting first year. I felt great pride in being born a Mustang. Not only was I immensely popular, I was also a well-built car. Even the ever-critical Consumer Reports magazine was impressed by the "almost complete absence of poor fit and sloppy workmanship in a car built at a hell-for-leather pace."

   As if I were not proud enough to be a Mustang, I had the added privilege of being one of the first of my breed to come equipped with an optional GT package. Ford modified my 289 cubic inch V-8 engine to generate a high-performance 271 horsepower.  My special five-gauge instrument panel included a speedometer that boasted a top speed of 140 miles per hour -- a bit of a stretch I admit.

   As I was loaded for travel to a dealership in Tennessee, I knew an anxious buyer would be awaiting my arrival. I was a convertible dressed in a reddish-orange coat of paint designated Poppy Red, and I felt like a star on my way to fulfill an adoring fan's dream. Throughout the journey all eyes were focused on the semi-trailer truck that transported me. Their expressions were those of admiration and yearning.  


Chapter 2

     Although I had already been sold sight unseen, the Memphis dealership had made my new owner agree to wait one week before taking delivery. This way I could be used to draw an enthralled public into the dealer showroom. Hundreds of people a day came in to check out my new GT package. One young lady in particular came every evening just before closing and stared at me longingly, a coquettish smile on her face. So it came as no surprise when I learned she was in fact the one who would be taking me home. Mustangs were every bit as much of a sensation with the ladies as with the male gender.

   Sally was a wonderful first owner. An attractive young woman who worked for one of city's many music-recording studios, she kept me spotless. Everywhere we went I was the star of the show. Not only was I a Mustang, I was also the brand new GT model. More than once Sally floored my accelerator causing my four-barrel carburetor to breathe in deeply while my dual exhausts exhaled into a trail of dust. If I did not yet feel special enough, I soon found myself forever immortalized. Among the recording stars at Sally's Atlantic Records studio was a young R&B singer named Wilson Pickett. "One of these days I'm gonna write a song about you and your Mustang," he often kidded Sally. We didn't believe him until late in 1966 when he gave Sally a demo record containing those unforgettable lyrics "All you want to do is ride around Sally, ride, Sally, ride."

   I was loved by Sally and coveted by all who saw me. And now thanks to the hit record "Mustang Sally" I was the most sung-about Mustang in the world. Life was pure ecstasy and there was no happier car on the face of the planet. So it came as a real shock when Sally informed me that we would have to part. It was 1968 and the Vietnam War was raging. "I have made the decision to enlist in the military," Sally whispered lovingly. "We must part for now, but I know someday we will be together again." The words were reassuring, but I knew it would never be. I was totally devastated. 




Chapter 3
"The Eagle has landed"

     My new owner drove me south to my new home located on Florida's booming Atlantic coast. Steve was an engineer who worked for NASA at the Kennedy Space Center. When not working Steve's one enduring passion was surfing. However he was always reluctant to take me to the beach because of the salt air. We would see old rusted-out cruisers parked along the shoreline and just shake our heads. "You never want to look like that," he would say. Those infrequent times Steve did take me to the beach, he always would scrub me down thoroughly afterwards to remove any trace of salt. I loved the beach scene but my main concern was my immaculate appearance.

   After an intense decade-long national effort to conquer space, the defining moment was at hand. It was an exciting time as the anticipation of Man actually landing on the Moon engrossed the nation. Parked at the Cape while Steve was at work, my daily waits were punctuated by admirers who would continually stop to check me out. I took it all in stride and paid little attention. However one afternoon just a few days before the moon-launch two men approached. I sensed immediately that they "didn't fit". I then overheard one say to the other, "This car is a good example of capitalism's decadence, Comrade." Comrade! As I quickly contemplated what to do, I glimpsed a police patrol car approaching. Without a moment's hesitation I blew my horn. As the startled comrades fled from the blaring din I was creating, the patrol car quickly pursued and stopped them. Soon the entire area was swarming with FBI and CIA agents.

   It was a beautiful Florida morning when at 9:32 a.m. Steve and I watched Apollo 11 blast off. As I watched the gigantic Saturn rocket ascend I felt an extra burst of pride. Had my actions a few days earlier played a pivotal role in this, Man's greatest scientific achievement? I will probably never know the answer to this question. But one thing I do know. Those immortal words were spoken on July 20, 1969, as scheduled -- and maybe, just maybe, my quick action made the difference. "The Eagle has landed." 


Chapter 4
One Last Spin

     It was early 1973 when Steve decided to trade me in. While I would miss Steve and the excitement of Cape Kennedy, I was thrilled to learn my new owner would be taking me cross-country to Southern California. He was in fact an assistant to President Nixon and was on the staff of the Summer White House at San Clemente. As I basked in the warm California sun and drank in the endless expanse of the blue Pacific, I reveled in the good fortune that was once more mine. My new owner was also a surfer, so I soon found myself spending long hours parked along the shoreline. I now accepted the reality that the salt air was beginning to take its toll on my skin. However it was only cosmetic. Under my hood a still strong heart powered my body with youthful ease.

   "That's a nice car; you have there." The voice was unmistakable -- it was the President! "Would you mind if I took it for a drive sometime?" Over the next year and a half "sometime" turned out to be every time the President visited San Clemente. Mired in the Watergate scandal, I think slipping behind my wheel and heading up and down the Coast Highway was a true catharsis for the beleaguered President. Dutifully followed by a string of Secret Service cars, more than once Mr. Nixon stomped on the gas and watched in my rearview mirror as the followers faded from view. It was a side of the President no one would have ever imagined. But soon the President's disciplined personality would take over as he slowed down to allow the Secret Service caravan catch up.

   In August of 1974 President Nixon resigned. Returning to San Clemente Mr. Nixon asked to take me for one last spin. Driving along the Coast Highway, only one Secret Service car followed. As he put the pedal to the metal for the last time, Citizen Nixon did not slow down. Several hours later we quietly slipped back into his San Clemente compound. "It was great to escape for a while. I feel so much better." My famous friend then quietly whispered as we parted for the final time, "Thank you." It was all very sad. I was glad I had been able to help maybe just a little. 


Chapter 5

     Mustang Sally, Man on the Moon, a momentary respite for a President. What an exciting life my first decade had been. Now however, the quality of my existence began a rapid decline. My next owner lived in Nevada and, quite frankly was abusive. His only interest seemed to be "peeling out". I was still very muscular and able, but maximum exertion at every green light was a bit much. A slightly gentler owner who lived in Illinois followed. However this fellow was an avid fisherman who would carelessly throw his wet slimy catch in my back seat. Soon I took on a distinct aroma that did not make me popular with many people -- but I was a favorite among the neighborhood cats!

   Memories of ensuing owners have now mercifully faded into a blur. Each seemed to treat me with progressively lessening respect. The only one worthy of mention bought me in the mid-eighties. It wasn't that he treated me especially well, but at least he did have an interesting occupation. He was a movie stunt-car driver. And while he used a wide variety of cars to perform his stunts, he often planned and practiced his stunts with me. I personally made it to the silver screen several times, although my appearances were limited to very forgettable Grade-B movies. I have always envied the '68 Mustang Fastback driven by Steve McQueen during the lengthy chase-scene in "Bullitt", but I guess my lasting claim to fame will be a hit record rather than a blockbuster movie.

   As the years passed painfully by the people who drove me seemed interested almost entirely in my physical strength, ignoring my deeply flawed cosmetic appearance. I crisscrossed the length and breadth of our great nation numerous times, much of it at breakneck speed. "Reno, Chicago, Fargo, Minnesota, Buffalo, Toronto, Winslow, Sarasota" -- I was Mustang Sally, but I could have the inspiration for another popular song: "I've been everywhere, man. Crossed the deserts bare, man. I've breathed the mountain air, man. Travel -- I've had my share, man. I've been everywhere. 


Chapter 6
Heart Attack

     The end came suddenly. As the quality of my life continued to sink lower and lower, I found myself being raced more frequently -- most of the time in impromptu road challenges. I even had one owner who went so far as to enter me in local stock car races. Alas, the day came when I could compete no longer and my tired heart suffered what all thought was a fatal attack. Not wishing to repair the thrown rod in my engine, and not finding any ready buyers due to the condition of my body, my owner simply towed me to a small-town junkyard in rural New Hampshire. "I can be saved," I wanted to cry out. "I can be revived!" With the passage of time however, I slowly lost hope. Few people visited the junkyard, although in a way that was a blessing. It meant I didn't have too many parts stripped off me. I considered myself lucky that there were no car compactors in the area!

   The endless seasons came and went. I felt as though I was welded to the ground I sat on. Summers were pleasant enough, but the harsh winters were simply unbearable. Snowflakes trickled in through the tears in my canvas top and formed mini-snowdrifts on my torn and tattered upholstery. I existed in a hibernation-like state. In the summertime I was overrun with nearly every species of insect and small varmint known to Man, but in the dead of winter even they abandoned me. Years passed, yet miraculously I was still pretty much whole. But who would want a car that didn't run, whose engine was in need of major repair, and whose body was scarred and rusted to the max? I often thought of my early years. I was after all "Sally's Mustang". Of all my owners Sally was still the one most often in my thoughts.

   "This will make a cool surfmobile for the Outer Banks." What?! What was this kid talking about? Surfmobile? Outer Banks? An hour later air had been pumped in my long-flat tires, and for the first time in years I moved. With a pickup truck in the lead I was "Under Tow" and on my way to North Carolina. From snow to surf -- from oblivion to renewed life. I had been reborn! 


Chapter 7
A Fine Timepiece

     "Repairing your motor won't be that difficult. But fixing your body is for sure not worth it. In fact it's almost hopeless. Besides you'd just rust out all over again anyway." Fine with me. I knew my appearance was a disaster, but I could have cared less. Fate had given me a second chance at life. I just chuckled to myself as I recalled how vain I had been about my looks in my youth. It turned out my saviors were two brothers named Darrel and RJ, and in no time they had my mighty V-8 running with the precision of a fine timepiece.

   Darrel managed an Outer Bank tourist shop, while RJ was still in school. However both lived for the hours they could spend surfing. Waiting at shore's edge, I would remember fondly the surfing scene in Florida and Southern California all those years before. I had been given a second chance at life. I now eagerly drank in the corrosive but exhilarating salt air I had once sought so hard to avoid. Yet despite my catastrophic cosmetic appearance I still turned heads. People were constantly photographing me. I knew they perceived me as the embodiment of what a genuine surfing cruiser is. I've seen many restored Mustangs -- as shiny and sharp as the day they were born. Some even have surfboards strapped on -- although often it's merely for show. When they get home I know that their owners thoroughly scrub away all traces of salt -- just as Steve used to scrub me three decades earlier. However I wear my scars and wrinkles proudly. To me they are hard-earned character lines that reflect the wisdom that comes only with living a long and sometimes hard life.

   "Aloha! Better start practicing your Hawaiian," Darrel announced. "We're on our way to Maui!" I couldn't believe my ears. It seems that Darrel's aunt, whose nickname was "Sis", was a retired Army Colonel who now lived in Lahaina. She had encouraged Darrel to make the move and, what’s more, she insisted Darrell bring me along! It turns out she had once owned a Mustang just like me – the same color even. She understood how attached Darrel and I had become. 


Chapter 8
She Was Right


     Maui is everything I ever dreamed of. Gorgeous weather, beautiful people -- and most of all, fantastic beaches with the most awesome waves on the planet. From Makena to Puamana, from Kanaha to Hookipa and beyond -- Maui and its surfing beaches are truly Paradise. I especially love the pounding surf that the winter storms generate along the North Shore. Waves of fifteen to twenty feet and higher crash along the shoreline and my adrenaline flows. But whatever the season and whatever sets may be breaking, zipping all around the island top-down is truly Heaven on Earth. Actually it’s always top-down for me, as the mechanism to raise and lower my torn and tattered canvas top has been broken for years. But who cares? An occasional tropical shower is delightfully refreshing!

   As I conclude my life's story, at least up till now, I do so with a smile. However I am not referring to the smile I wear. Rather I'm talking about someone else's very special smile. For you see, when I met Darrel's Aunt Sis for the first time, the coquettish smile that came across her face was unmistakable. It was the same smile I had seen each night in that Memphis dealer's showroom nearly forty years earlier. Yes, Aunt Sis' real name is Sally -- and we knew each other instantly. What were the chances we would ever find each other again? I never believed it could happen, but Sally’s faith simply would not be denied.

   "I started calling myself Sis shortly after we parted", Sally told me. "When people learned my name was Sally most of them would immediately nickname me Mustang Sally. It was just too painful." Sally paused. A reflective expression came over her face. "I have regretted losing you all my life, but I always knew someday I would find you and we would be together again." Sally and I have never told anyone our precious secret, not even Darrel. It makes everything even more special – more intimate. Sally has made Darrel promise that when he decides to sell me someday, as inevitably he will, he will sell me only to Sally. We will be together forever -- and for all time it will be her, me and "Ride, Sally, Ride!"

-- The End --

© Cruiser Art 1999-2015



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