More than 22 years ago when In Search of Mustangs was in its infancy, we received a letter from Art Cairo of suburban Detroit who had something fascinating to show us. It was a first-day-of-production Raven Black '6411/42 Mustang hardtop with a "K" serial number, alternator, foglamps, leather and chrome appointments, a leather top, custom upholstery, and the distinction of once having belonged to the Ford family.
Art happened upon this rare find when he was cruising through the classified ads in the Detroit Free Press back in 1977. The ad spoke of a '65 Mustang, once owned by the Ford family. Curious, he called the seller, looked at the car, and snapped it up for well under $1,000. After Art let his brother have fun with the car for a short time, he hauled it into the garage and gave it a full-scale restoration.
For years, Art was convinced his 5F07K100148 hardtop had once belonged to Edsel Ford II, son of the late Henry Ford II and great grandson of Ford Motor Company founder Henry Ford. Art came to this conclusion when he found a '65 Mustang owner's manual in the glove compartment, with Edsel's name and address inside. What threw Art was the 5F09K721789 serial number inside. It didn't match the car.
In 1983, we interviewed Edsel Ford II for Mustang Monthly and learned the origins of this unusual Mustang hardtop. Mr. Ford told us the little black notchback had once been his father's car. You can imagine Art's response. The owner's manual inside was from his "K" fastback that was sold and later totaled in an accident by the buyer. How the owner's manual wound up in the glove compartment of this car is anyone's guess.
According to reliable sources at Ford who were there at the time, this striking, black hardtop was produced at the Dearborn plant the first day of mass production, March 9, 1964. It received show-car treatment, which meant little more than leaded seams designed to hide spot-welds and joints. It was transported to Ford Design sans its interior for the personalized treatment we're about to share with you.
At Ford Design, 100148 received a leather top, chromed appointments such as door strikers and latches, and interior amenities including leather dash padding and custom upholstery. Even the door panels, also leather, were custom versions of what would later become the Interior Dcor Group. The Falcon-style instrument panel, glove compartment door, and steering wheel were fitted with real teakwood appointments. The AM radio was fitted with die-cast chrome buttons. Rear speaker sound came via a factory reverb unit. Under hood, 100148 was equipped with a 289 High Performance V-8, long before this engine was available on the option sheet. With the unusual Hi-Po was an early generation, polished Autolite alternator, at a time when generators were used on standard-production Mustangs.
Here's how 100148's warranty plate adds up: 65A body code, yet no color or interior trim codes. Scheduled build date was 05C- March 5, 1964. DSO code was 89, Transportation Services. Axle ratio was "9" meaning a 3.89:1 conventional unit. Transmission code of "5" indicates a four-speed.
Although Art has owned this unusual car for a long time, he rarely shows it. His career with Ford Motor Company has kept him very busy for many years. In recent times, Art has been showing an increased interest in this car and has plans for another full-scale restoration as time permits. We will update you on this project as it happens.
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