Live Auctions

Hello Mary Lou: 1984 Mustang LX Convertible

Many of you younger folks probably have no idea who Rickey Nelson was. He is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Old folks like me, well, his music gets stuck in our head and we might just wander around humming Garden Party. Rickey died in a plane crash in 1985. At the time his fun car was a 1973 DeTomaso Pantera. His everyday car was this Mustang Convertible. Mostly it’s been stored or in the museum and has accumulated about 57,000 miles. At the auction in 1986 when the Pantera sold for $24,100, his convertible sold for $7,400.

It does look pretty nice inside. There’s no really no wear showing anywhere. Somehow a convertible seems more like Ricky than the Pantera.

Here’s the little 3.8 liter V6 with about 120 HP. It’s been on loan to the museum and hasn’t been run in many years. It’s dusty but completely original.

It appears Ricky’s convertible is to be sold. The family has expressed interest in buying it back. Otherwise, if it is sold to the public, what could it be worth? On its own, it is a great survivor, although it’s just a Fox Body Mustang. Perhaps Ricky Nelson has become to obscure to add any value? If it does go away, a lot of people at the museum will miss it. I just don’t understand how the museum could choose to display the Escort in the background and not choose to display this convertible, even without the connection to Rickey Nelson. Which do you suppose visitors would rather see?


  1. Billy 007

    I saw him a short time before he died. He was performing at a place called Thumpers North in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, and let me tell ya, he was awesome! Had a very interesting life to say the least. Years back I had a crush on his first wife (sister of Mark Harmon the actor) she was very pretty. Died too young, may he rest in peace.

    • Rich

      Billy! I remember Thumpers! Used to cruise Main St in Anoka all the time in the late 80’s. What a coincidence!

      • Billy 007

        If I recall correctly, at one time there were two, the southern one was off HWY 52 near Inver Grove Heights. Great little bars to hear live music. When we heard him, we got up very close to the stage, heck, people were dancing after all! He was well past his prime as an A lister, but still put his heart into a performance. Being able to see him up close versus being in a huge arena was super nice. I have seen many a concert in my day, the Beach Boys, Simon and Garfunkel, The Mamas and the Papas, Gary Pucket, Eric Clapton (on the floor near the left main PA stack, couldn’t hear right for three days, but it was worth it!), heck I even saw ABBA on their one and only North American tour among many others, but Ricky Nelson in a small venue was one of the high lights. I consider myself lucky to have done so. Sometimes the want of the proverbial time machine haunts a man. Ahh, to go back and do it again! But of course, it would also be great to go back in my rides of the day. My 70 black 2 door hard top Plymouth, for instance. By 1985 that was many years already in the crusher (I drove a 79 Omni to that concert!) but dreams are malleable. We contort them to our will for ones sole pleasure.

    • Tom

      What was the date he was at thumpers ,I was there and yes it was great!

  2. Beatnik Bedouin

    It would be nice to see the car go back to his family…

    • David Frank David Frank Member

      I hope so too. We’re waiting patiently for a response. If not, depending on how much it sells for I’ll try to find a buyer.

  3. erikj

    family should have first rights to it.

  4. normadesmond

    To those who remember Ricky, he surely had his moment.
    Today, he’s barely a footnote. That’s life in the big city!

    • packrat

      For those who don’t know the name, hit youtube for songs like “Teenager In Love”, “Waitin’ In School”, etc. It was what the kids dug when gas was a quarter a gallon, cars had tailfins, and we used real silver money.

      • Billy 007

        Teenager in Love was Dion and the Belmonts, if my feeble brain recalls correctly.

    • Fred C.

      Listen to the words of his song “Garden Party” to get a feel of his feelings about his musical career.

  5. Todd Zuercher

    A good friend of mine had one of these (except it was black) during our high school and college years. His was an ’83. When we were juniors in college, I somehow convinced him to drive to watch the Parker 400 near Parker, AZ. Unfortunately we had quite a few miles of rough road to traverse to get there and he was none too happy with me as we wandered around on bad roads in the middle of the night trying to find our friends’ campsite. We finally made it with the car intact.

  6. Dusty Stalz

    Ricky was a great actor too. If you’ve never seen Rio Bravo (’59) I suggest you do. He starred with Deano and The Duke in that one. One of my faves.

    • JW

      I’m a western buff and yes one of the Dukes better movies. Dino, Ricky and Walter Brennan were excellent co-stars.

  7. Miguel

    I remember the night he died very clearly. A friend and I were driving down the 5 freeway coming out of the valley to buy something, we were driving one of our hearses.

    It came over the radio that he had died in a plane crash.

    December 31, 1985.

    Like 1
  8. Solosolo KEN TILLY Member

    I like the cute little Morris Minor in the background. Still hundreds of them here in UK and lots are still daily drivers!

    • Olaf E
      • David

        That’s not the Morris for sale. That one is in the museum collection. We have another for sale. The only easy way to tell them apart is the car for sale has pinstripes if you look closely. We also have a couple of Metros that look very much alike in the same situation.

  9. Rex Kahrs Member

    Hey David, excuse me for being punctilious, but you incorrectly refer to him as “Rickey” a couple of times, then correctly call him “Ricky”, then close out the write-up by using “Rickey” again. Sorry to be so pickey.

  10. A.Ross

    Flying from Texarkana to Dallas that night. The small commmuter plane I was in was communicating that plane. Pilots were yelling “get oxygen,get oxygen”. I was in the front row and could see and hear them. We then turned and flew back over the scene where I could see on the ground the remains a burning aircraft. I asked the pilots in Dallas if anyone survived, they said the pilots did. They knew that. Upon finally getting home to Ca that night from Dallas I learned it was Ricky Nelson on the 11 o’clock news.

  11. 86 Vette Convertible

    I grew up watching Ozzie and Harriet on TV and it was a bonus when Ricky sang, Dave too. At that time I though Ricky’s name was Ricky, found out later it was either his middle name or a nick name (not sure which).
    As that time I had not knowledge the folks once had a orchestra, so I guess it’s to be expected the kids would have a musical influence in their lives.
    As far as the car goes, it would be right for the family to have first dibs on it, after all it was a car from the family.

    • Rodent

      Eric Hilliard Nelson

  12. Rob

    I remember watching him play at the county fair in Miles City, MT some time in the early 80s. We knew who he was from our parents and watching Ozzie and Harriett reruns. If the family wants it let them have it. I know it’s just a car, but the memories tied to it run deep.

  13. David R.

    I’m 18, and I love Ricky Nelson! Some of my other favorites are the Everly Brothers, Brenda Lee, and Fats Domino. I get quite a few questioning looks from other kids my age who “Like old music” – ’80s rock. Funny, my music was “old music” when their’s was new.

    • 86 Vette Convertible

      You have good taste in music! Your parents raised you well. Problem is I remember when most of your music was new on the AM radio.

    • Miguel

      That was me as well.

      If it was old rock and roll, in the ’80s, I had it on.

      The new crap I didn’t care for.

      Now that the ’80s music has aged, some of it isn’t as bad as I had thought.

      I always drove ’60s cars so the music always fit the car.

      • Billy 007

        Thats the way I feel about the 1970s music, it has aged well, at least some of it. But back in the day, I was always doo wop!

  14. dr fine

    Ricky had the first music video (Travelin’ Man) produced by his father, bandleader and actor Ozzie Nelson. His mother Harriet was a beautiful band singer. Ricky also had a 1963 Avanti. After his teens, he preferred to be called Rick. He was touring in that raggedy old plane to pay for his divorce.

  15. Barry Klotz

    Ricky was an amazing singer. He was a great actor too. Watched all his TV shows and listed to all his music. I still have some of his records. He is missed. Thanks Barry.

  16. Miguel

    I can’t believe how many people remember that night or had a personal connection with him.

    How many of you remember where you were when the music died? It was a little before my time, so I can’t answer that one.

    • Billy 007

      I was in my Mamas tummy, so that night is kind’a fuzzy for me. I did once spend a night in Clear Lake Iowa where they performed their last concert, nice little town.

  17. Poops1179

    North to Alaska…also

  18. lc

    I notice some similarities in this 84 Mustang and my 84 Cougar; the steering wheel look almost identical, and the 3.8 engine look the same except for the serpentine belt that goes directly to the AC compressor on this Mustang. My AC compressor is smaller, and it has a separate v belt. Also, my Cougar and this Mustang share almost identical wire hub caps. And where the AC compressor is on this Mustang is where the Cougar has the power steering. The AC compressor sets next to and down from the power steering on the Cougar. Does this Mustang not have power steering?

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