Ford’s Rare “Launch Stock”

We mentioned in a previous post September 14, 2014  about the nice blue 64 1/2 convertible used by Ford Motor Company on their stand at the Goodwood Revival. So we decided to dedicate this post to a beautiful and important car recently entrusted to us.

The car was here for its annual check up and some TLC that only we know how to provide. The reason this is an important car is due to a number of reasons; It’s a rare D Code convertible built on April 16 1964 – the day before the official Mustang launch half a century ago.  The build date, unusual colour and options point to it probably being built as a ‘company order’ where Ford District offices ordered a small number of cars before launch – they call these cars ‘launch stock’.  It would then have been sent to a dealer to be sold. This car was built for the Chicago office (code 41). It’s believed that Ford only made 200 Pagoda Green D code convertibles with standard white trim. Pagoda Green was only used on Mustangs for only the first few months of production when it was replaced by the very similar Tropical Turquoise in July 1964. The car looks to be pretty original and while it has clearly had some work over its 50 years, most of the original features are still there – dynamo, fixed passenger seat, low mounted horns, road draft engine venting etc. It also has a factory power top, rally pac and centre console fitted options.

The car is owned by a retired Ford Motor Company Director who tells us he spent a lot of time researching who he would be happy to have looking after his car. He started buying some parts from us and was really surprised that we had most of what he wanted in stock. After popping in and seeing how we work, he was very happy to entrust us with his car – and Ford delivered it straight from Goodwood to our workshops.

As we have been trusted to give the car a good look over and do what is required to keep this little lady in peak condition. the car had creaking front suspension, a few oil leaks, dodgy quarter windows and was maybe wasn’t running as well as it should be.

The owner wanted us to give the car a thorough ‘once over’, but also to have the front control arms replaced (the originals did not have grease points) and for the car to get a full steering geometry check and adjust, our geometry kit makes short work of the process and the difference of a properly set up steering can make is amazing. The steering idler had a small amount of play and was replaced to help with the geometry. A power steering pipe leak was replaced at the same time. A full list of other jobs that included new exhaust hangers – the owner is still keen to keep the factory single exhaust system even though it’s very quiet. We also fixed the various quarter window winding problems, adjusted the roof and bled and adjusted the brakes.

Our attention turned to the engine with a compression test, reset of the timing, a vacuum leak and also sorted out a number of ‘interesting’ repairs that had been carried out in the US during the cars early years, such as a wrong carb gasket, badly adjusted tappets to name a few, again all of which we sorted out.

It’s important to remember that while everyone sees the real value of these classic cars now, early Mustangs were just ‘old cars’ in the US for much of the seventies and eighties. Nowadays the value of these “old” Mustangs relies heavily on originality and how carefully any repairs are carried out to the car.

The owner of this car visited us a couple of times this month to discuss the work she may need and each time we talked through what we thought would be required – the owner has been very happy to just let us get on with it as the car needs to be “right”, while retaining as much of its originality as possible, which we are obviously all in favour of. So, after nearly a month of being with us, she is finished and the owner came over this week to collect it. After a decent test drive we are all really pleased at how much the car has improved. A lot of relatively small things have been fixed and added together they make the car much more useable. While our customer has clearly been around old and new cars all his life, he needed someone to give sensible and knowledgeable advice on what his car needed and in his own words:

“While the car drove ok and I am happy to do some of the maintenance and repair work myself – I started out as a commercial vehicle mechanic, I really needed someone who could be trusted to give it a thorough once over. After looking around at various Mustang providers I chose Adam and the team because they really impressed me with their understanding of these cars and the way they treat their customers. After seeing how they have carefully and sympathetically gone about transforming my car, I am delighted”

So yet another happy customer!

For us, it was a great opportunity to work on this important early car which also has some very close connections to Ford Motor Company. It’s good that we now have this owner as a regular Mustang Maniac customer and that will get to see this car again each year helping to keep it looking and driving as she should. Our appreciation to the owner for passing on his knowledge on these very early rare cars, there is very little – if any documentation from those early years unfortunately.

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