HomeThe MarketEarliest Mustang hardtop ‘pilot car’ to be sold by Barrett-Jackson

Earliest Mustang hardtop ‘pilot car’ to be sold by Barrett-Jackson


Editor’s note: The ClassicCars.com Journal will be covering all of the action during Arizona Auction Week in Scottsdale, Arizona. Check out our other coverage here.

The first Ford Mustang hardtop built as a pre-production car is a Plain Jane base model in Caspian Blue and powered by a 170cid inline-6 with three-speed manual transmission.  But it is the first one to be assigned a serial number – 5F07U100002 – making it special indeed as the world’s earliest Mustang hardtop.

The car was hand-assembled in early 1964 at the Ford Allen Park Pilot Plant in Michigan and is one of three pilot-plant Mustangs known to exist.  The car bearing VIN 0001 is a white convertible that is kept at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn.

The historic Mustang will cross the auction block at no reserve

These pilot cars marked the beginning of the pony-car revolution and were the first of the millions of Mustangs produced, and still being built today.

The historic pre-production hardtop will be offered at no reserve during Barrett-Jackson’s signature Scottsdale Auction, to be held January 12-20, 2019, at WestWorld in Scottsdale, Arizona.

“This special Mustang has been restored to factory new specifications, with all major components having matching numbers,” Barrett-Jackson says in its catalog description. “Included with the First Ford Mustang Hardtop is a set of two binders containing ownership and condition affidavits from all previous owners, along with photos, statements and signatures from high-profile originators of the Mustang, including Lee Iacocca, Hal Sperlich, Don Frey, Gale Halderman and others.

The provenance of the hardtop is well-documented, according to Barrett-Jackson

“The binders also include the vast provenance documentation confirming the entire history of the car, and complete restoration documentation in photograph, 35mm slide and video formats. A letter from Ford Motor Company confirming this Mustang as the first Mustang hardtop built is also included.”

This hardtop, which the auction says is being sold after 20 years of ownership by nationally known Mustang historian and author Bob Fria, also has the added provenance of appearing in shoots for the in-progress Hollywood film, Ford vs Ferrari, starting Matt Damon as Carroll Shelby and Christian Bale as British driver Ken Miles.  The movie is scheduled to open next summer.

Fria was responsible for the complete restoration of the car, which he has noted required exhaustive research because of something like 50 differences on this pilot Mustang compared with the cars that reached the showroom as 1964½ production models.

Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.


  1. For a serious collector, that’s one thing. For an auction-goer, not so much. You better have some serious coin in the peanut gallery or that thing is gonna sell for squat.

    • Always my biggest gripe about Barrett-Jackson and most of the other well known classic car auction venues; the vehicles that cross their blocks are way over-priced JUST BECAUSE they’re at Barrett-Jackson. Then an owner of for example, a standard production 1964 Mustang sees this car sell for that highly inflated price; and figures his car is worth the same. Thus these auction venues keep the prices artificially inflated on most vehicles and, thereby preventing the average enthusiast from enjoying this hobby from anything but his living room.

      • James, I could not agree w/ you more. Unfortunately, it’s no longer about the love of the automobile, the driving experience or the fond memories. Today, it’s all about flipping cars and each time someone sells a car they want to make a $10,000 or higher profit every time they sell a car. And to your point, we have all the big auction companies to thank for that. It’s all about the $$$$ !!!!!

      • James and Dan, could not agree with you more, but it’s worse than you think. These days hardly anyone with anything they collect (or worth collecting) gets asked how much they enjoy doing that, or the camaraderie or the fun or the nostalgia value. You get asked "Is it worth anything?" or "How much is it worth?". Very few people today outside collecting hobbies (and fewer every day inside them) understand or care about the fun: they watch the BJ TV show and are all about how much, if anything, that (fill in the blank) is worth. And they’re aghast at the idea of selling for less to someone who’d really give it a good home.

  2. I have seen the car that claims to be the very first prototype of the 3. Labeled a 1963, It was maroon and was in transit as it had just been sold by a New York seller. This was 2016 and I understand it had sold for $75K.


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