Retired automobile salesman Harry Phillips nonetheless is not sure how the primary Ford Mustang ever produced wound up at a dealership in St. John’s, N.L.
However he is aware of the shopper who purchased the automobile: an Japanese Provincial Airways pilot named Capt. Stanley Tucker, from Gander, N.L. After all, Phillips additionally is aware of how Tucker managed to get his fingers on the car. In any case, Phillips was the one who bought it to him.
It was Phillips’s first 12 months on the job as a salesman on the George Parsons’ Ford dealership in St. John’s.
On the time, the dealership did not know that they’d acquired the primary manufacturing mannequin Mustang.
“The serial number 01 really didn’t mean too much to us at the time,” Phillips mentioned. “We put it sort of on the road and on our parking lot so everybody could see it driving.”
Tucker noticed the car and needed to have it. However the dealership wasn’t technically allowed to promote it for one more week or so.
“I told him, ‘Come in, give us a deposit on it, we’ll hold it, but you can’t drive it, you can’t take it out, and it’s gonna be there in the showroom,'” mentioned Phillips. “Every day, for seven or eight days, he used to come into the showroom, look around, walk around, and make sure nothing happened to it.”
When Tucker lastly received his fingers on the automobile, it was the final time Phillips ever noticed the Mustang with the 5F08F100001 serial quantity once more — till Friday, when he visited the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich.
A reunion 55 years within the making
Stephanie Mealey mentioned she first got here up with the thought to reunite her grandfather with the first-built Mustang he bought earlier this 12 months.
With the assistance of a pal, she developed a social media marketing campaign referred to as Ship Harry to Henry to boost consciousness about her grandfather’s want to see the automobile.
It labored. Companies stepped as much as increase cash to get Phillips to Dearborn.
“I didn’t ever think that it would actually come to fruition,” Mealey mentioned. “I never thought this day would happen.”
Automotive historical historical past
The story of how Ford Motors got here to own the 5F08F100001 Mustang is its personal lengthy and winding journey.
In keeping with Phillips, just a few months after Tucker bought the car, representatives from Ford got here to St. John’s to ask the George Parsons dealership for the automobile.
“We said, ‘Well, you know, we don’t know about that. Talk to the owner,'” Phillips defined.
Tucker, nonetheless, wasn’t eager about promoting his automobile. It took nearly a 12 months for Ford to persuade the airline pilot to let go of his treasured Mustang.
“He wouldn’t let it go for nothing,” mentioned Phillips. “But by the next year, they talked him into it … They made a deal with him and sold him the 1966 with, I think, everything that you can put on your car.”
Tucker’s new Mustang was a particular order. Phillips mentioned he heard Ford even put in a tv set within the car.
On March 2, 1966, he acquired Mustang No. 1,000,001 — the millionth Mustang ever produced.
‘I actually cannot imagine I’m it’
When the 85-year-old Phillips received to Michigan and eventually laid eyes on the 5F08F100001 Mustang, he mentioned he could not imagine it was taking place. He mentioned it “brought back a lot of memories.”
“Here it is, still on the go,” he mentioned. “It’s just the way I saw it. Like a new car.”
And whereas Phillips nonetheless is not sure about how Mannequin 5F08F100001 made its solution to St. John’s, N.L., he is aware of precisely how he discovered his manner again to the automobile in Dearborn.
“I’ve got to thank my granddaughter, who’s really responsible,” he mentioned. “She’s the one who got me here.”