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It’s wild to think the Ford Mustang is only two years away from its 60th anniversary. Throughout the nearly six decades of its production, the Mustang has cemented its place in the automotive history books by way of just about every vehicle discipline there is. From endurance racing to simply looking good on the streets, a Mustang does it all. Interestingly, this all started nearly 58 years ago when Gail Wise became the first person ever to purchase a Ford Mustang. The best part? She didn’t even know that was the case.

Gail Wise bought the first Mustang before they were meant to go on sale

Gail Wise's 1965 Ford Mustang Convertible in summer 1964
Gail’s Mustang, Summer 1964 | Ford

According to USA Today, fresh out of college with a new job as a third-grade teacher, Gail Wise took to the Ford dealership on April 15th, 1964. Wise had only one stipulation to her car hunt. It had to be convertible.

However, upon arrival at the Ford dealer, Wise found that there were no convertible models available on the showroom floor. That’s when one of the salesmen offered her something incredible.

“I told the salesman I wanted a convertible, and he said, ‘I have none on the floor. Come into the back room; I have something special to show you.’ There were two Mustangs, one was a hardtop, and he didn’t even bother to show me that one. He lifted the tarp, and I knew that convertible was for me,” Wise told USA today.

Perhaps the craziest part of this story, though, is that Wise had no clue she was the first Mustang owner until decades later.

Wise and her husband nearly scrapped the car before they knew how special it was

The Wise family and their 1965 Ford Mustang Convertible in the 1970s
Wise Family Mustang Photo, 1970s | Ford

After over 15 years of Gail, her husband Tom, and their family using the Mustang for general transportation, it stopped running. Gail wanted to get rid of the car, but Tom insisted that they hang on to it because he was sure he would get around to fixing it. This turned out to be a great call, indeed.

After his retirement some 27 years later, Tom spent some time on the internet searching for parts and info on Mustangs of this vintage. During his search, he stumbled upon a man who claimed to have purchased the first Mustang on April 16th, 1964. However, he went to Gail, explaining that he was sure she drove hers away from the dealership the day before.
Fortunately, the couple kept all the original paperwork and documentation from the day Gail purchased it. After some searching in their basement, Tom recovered the documentation that would ultimately become proof that Gail Wise was the first person ever to buy a Ford Mustang.

“We had everything. We didn’t know it was anything special. But we kept the new car invoice, the registered owner’s manual. Tom’s a saver,” said Gail.

The first Mustang sold is now worth over 100 times its original selling price

Gail Wise and the first Mustang ever sold, her 1965 convertible
Gail and her Mustang in 2018 | Ford

According to renowned collectors car insurers and valuation experts Hagerty, Gail’s car is now worth between $350,000 and $450,000 thanks to the couple’s full original restoration of the vehicle. Don’t bother sending the couple an offer, though. Gail has no intention of letting go of her piece of Ford history. She’s having a great time. In fact, Ford is even bringing her and her car out for company events, like the celebration of the production of the ten-millionth Mustang.

“It’s like being a movie star at 76,” said Gail.

The Mustang still had only 68,000 original miles on the odometer at the time of USA Today’s reporting, and we can’t imagine it gets driven all that often anymore. Ultimately, it’s incredible to see someone still so in love with their car after nearly 60 years of ownership. It’s especially awesome that it happens to be such a remarkable milestone in not only Ford’s history but the entirety of American automotive history.

Hopefully, then, Gail keeps this amazing car and passes it on to her family so they can keep enjoying it for years to come.


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