"I bought another car, so I started leaving the Mustang parked, thinking there's no sense driving it unless we have to. I thought I might keep it awhile, but keeping it this long was not my grand plan. It just worked out. I just always liked it and didn't want to sell it."
As the Mustang approached the end of its first decade, a bit of freshening up was in order. "In the mid-'70s we had a little bodywork done," said Jerry. "In 1973 or '74 we had it repainted." He stuck with Vintage Burgundy and got a quality job, with the exterior trim removed, not just masked off. With the original gleam renewed, Jerry's interest was renewed, too. "About that time we said, 'Well, we'll just keep it.'"
For the next 10 or so years, the hardtop remained in the garage, seeing occasional fair-weather use. It was well into the '80s when Jerry noticed people beginning to react to it at gas stations, in parking lots, or even in traffic. Jerry knew he liked it, but knowing that others admired it was a powerful influence. The Mustang had made it past the point where it could be sold merely as a used car.
Jerry watched as new-car prices climbed to staggering heights. "In the '80s we bought a new '84 Thunderbird and it really hit me. It was over $10,000. Holy cow. For a car? You could buy houses for that. What the Mustang cost wouldn't even be a down payment on a new car."
These days, the Mustang still enjoys a spot in the garage. "I get it out once a month, weather permitting. It hasn't seen rain or snow for 35 years or better," Jerry says. The Mustang has also participated in the huge Woodward Dream Cruise.
Mechanically, after sorting out the brakes in '65, the little 289 had been a jewel. "The motor's never been apart," Jerry says with satisfaction. "It starts easy, runs smooth, and doesn't tick," he says, but admits the carb could use a rebuild.
It's still on the original clutch. "In fact," adds Jerry, "the clutch has never been adjusted."
And this is a car that's seen its share of miles, having logged 82,000. "It's been driven," Jerry admits. "It's been to Florida a number of times and all over the Smokey Mountains. When I was younger it was fine to travel in, although the back seat is a little snug."
It's also been used to break in younger family members on how to drive a manual transmission, including granddaughter Tiffany, who learned in preparation for graduate school in Shanghai, China.
What's next? Possibly a leap across the generations. Original owner cars can only stay that way so long. "It's at a point where I'm thinking about passing it on to my son. He's got the ambition to work on it," Jerry concludes.
Finally, we asked, if you could go back and do anything different, would you?
"Yeah," Jerry offers. "I would have bought a convertible or stretched a little more for a fastback. Those two are worth more money now."
Okay, a loaded dreamboat Mustang would be great, but we do appreciate the genuine credentials of this real-deal survivor, even if the options are few. It's not very often that you get a glimpse of a day-one deal.