Earliest Ford Mustang hardtop ‘pilot car’ hammers sold for $175,000

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This Ford Mustang hardtop built as one of three known pre-production cars was hammered sold for $175,000 at the Barrett-Jackson collector car auction in Scottsdale, Arizona on Saturday. | Barrett-Jackson photo
This Ford Mustang hardtop built as one of three known pre-production cars was hammered sold for $175,000 at the Barrett-Jackson collector car auction in Scottsdale, Arizona on Saturday. | Barrett-Jackson photo

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 earliest Ford Mustang hardtop, which was built as a pre-production car, was hammered sold for $175,000 at the Barrett-Jackson collector car auction on Saturday in Scottdale, Arizona. The price, including buyer fee, is $192,500.

The new owner will take home a piece of Ford history. Bearing serial number 5F07U100002, the car is the earliest of three known hardtop Mustangs produced by the automaker and was hand-assembled in early 1964. The car bearing VIN 0001 is a white convertible that is kept at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.

The car, which helped usher in the American pony car era, is powered by a 170cid inline-6 with a three-speed manual transmission.

Nationally known Mustang historian and author Bob Fria sold the car after owning it for 20 years. He restored the car after exhaustive research revealed about 50 differences between the pilot Mustang and the cars that actually hit showroom floors. Most of that research was sold with the car.

“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,” Barrett-Jackson said in the catalog description.

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In addition to its historical provenance, the Mustang was used in filming for the upcoming Hollywood film Ford vs. Ferrari, which depicts the battle between the automakers at the 24 Hours of Le Mans race.

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Carter Nacke is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. He began his career at KTAR News 92.3 FM in Phoenix, the largest news radio station in Arizona, where he specialized in breaking news and politics. A burgeoning interest in classic cars took him to the Journal in 2018. He's still on the hunt for his dad's old 1969 Camaro.

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