The Most Valuable 1965 Mustang Hardtop Ever!

Josh MortensenBy Josh Mortensen

This Mustang isn’t a Fastback or even a V8 car, yet it’s estimated to fetch between $450k and $650k! How can that be? Is it some crazy performance variant or was it owned by a celebrity? Nope, but it is one of the very first Mustangs ever built. As a matter of fact, it’s serial number is 00002 and is the first hardtop to have received a VIN! While it might have the second serial number, it isn’t necessarily the second Mustang built, but it definitely is an early car and is certified by Ford to be the very first hardtop built. It’s been with the same owner since 1997, who has done considerable research on the car’s history and has even written a book about it. They have decided it’s finally time to part ways with it and it is set to cross the auction block on May 20th. You can read more about the auction here on Mecum.

In their research, the seller discovered that this car is a pre-production Pilot Plant chassis car. That means it was partially built at the Allen Park Pilot Plant and then transferred to the Dearborn Assembly Plant where they used it to train workers on how to assemble the Mustang. It was also destined to be a show car, so it received the “show car treatment”. To make sure it looked its very best, body panel seams were filled in with lead prior to painting. Speaking of paint, this is the very first Mustang to be painted Caspian Blue. After it was completed, it was loaded up and shipped off to Canada to be displayed at various dealerships there, but somehow it ended up at a dealer in the Yukon Territory and completely missed the debut.

While it received some unique cosmetic treatments, it also got some received some interesting components not found on regular production cars. The engine is the 170 cui inline 6 from a Falcon, the 3-speed transmission is from a Fairlane and the rear end is from a Ranchero. The dash, gauge cluster, and shifter are also a little different from production cars.

During the restoration, every aspect of the car was documented, from the unique sheet metal stampings the way the interior was assembled. It took about 2 years to complete the restoration as a result, but as you can see, it was well worth the work! After it was completed, it was displayed at Ford’s world headquarters for the company’s 100th anniversary.

The incredible estimated value makes a little more sense now. You aren’t just buying a beautiful Mustang, but a piece of automotive history. The fact that survives today is amazing and while it would be even more amazing if it were unrestored, I’m just glad that it has been saved. Sadly, I could ever afford to own this one, but it makes me want to go out and find a Mustang in Caspian Blue!

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  1. RayT Member

    Great story, Josh! It’s amazing to see this car survive after years of private ownership; the seller must have put incredible amounts of time and money into the restoration….

    Must admit that, while I hope this goes to a new owner who will cherish and display it, I’m not feeling too jealous. I’ve driven a very similar car — six-cylinder, three-on-the-floor, high ride height and narrow 13-inch wheels/tires — and it sticks in my memory as most like driving a Falcon from the same era. Which, essentially, is what it was. Actual driving thrills were in short supply.

    Now, if the subject was the very first 289/271/four-speed Mustang, I wouldn’t be able to give it the care it deserves. I’d be too busy rackin’ up lots of miles!

  2. Ralph

    Cracktastic price.

  3. flmikey

    Absolutely beautiful car and story….I am guessing that almost every one who visits the Barn Find site must have owned at least one 65/66 mustang….at least in my age group……so this story hits home for most of us….

    • Kiwi Glen

      The closest I have ever got to owning a mustang is that I have an original 65 fast back trunk lid in my shed! NZ has quite a few mustangs but they are expensive normally in the range of 40k

    • Walter Joy

      In your age group is key. I’m 18 and the closest I’ve gotten is my grandfather telling me stories about his 1965 Fastback 289 4 speed Mustang he had (non K code or GT) after he did his papers for the Navy

  4. Dave Mikulec

    Mine (slightly newer) is #1000.

  5. Francisco

    …and you guys thought the Porshe was expensive? Where are all the critics now?

    • Dolphin Dolphin Staff


      Yes, special but greatly overvalued….by somebody. Whether any bidders will overvalue it AND back it up with bids will be interesting to see. This is the first hardtop, and is VIN many-zeroes-2, but it still drives like a Falcon. OTOH, compared to an Old Masters painting that you can’t even drive, it’s pretty cheap.

      Even if somebody does pay half a mil for it I don’t think he will lose his shirt. This is the kind of car that pretty much never loses value. Call it the greater fool phenomenon, but at some point down the road it will probably sell for even more than Mecum gets for it.

      But for the kind of guy who buys this kind of Falcon…I mean, Mustang hardtop…the price is just spending money, and you and I don’t think like him.

      • Woodie Man

        One side of my carbrain says……….its just a Mustang, A six banger 3 speed to boot. The other side says but…but…but…..,,,,,,,,

    • KeithK

      I’m still critical but given this car’s provenance it should and will grace some museum somewhere. Too many cars have been turned into display pieces that should be enjoyed and driven instead. I’m glad it was saved and became someone’s passion.
      On another note , I don’t think I could ever sell a gem like this. It may be just the hoarder in me. Many of my projects are purposely listed and sold in locations far away from me. Too many labors of love have been sold locally and it kills me to revisit them. Weird?

  6. John K

    Man, those are skinny tires.

  7. Don

    At least its not red

  8. Lee Carney

    I’ll be surprised if that is all it brings.

  9. Scott

    I had a ’66. Red with a black convertible top. Had is the key word here. Sigh…

  10. JC

    I’m a big Mustang Fanatic and have a small collection of Shelby’s and Mustangs and all I can say is it’s still a 6 cylinder coupe at the end of the day and the person who pays that ridiculous amount of money deserves to loose it all.

  11. JW

    Except for the historical value it’s just a 6 cylinder coupe IMHO. Wife had a 67 6 cylinder coupe restored ( Acapulco Blue ) and it got her around town and she looked cool in it but otherwise mundane car.

  12. nessy

    They expect half a million for this basic thing? I don’t care if it’s the first one built. Think about what you could buy for half a million. A nice house with maybe a big garage out back with a few normal priced toys? I know you all agree. I was never a Mustang guy and now I’m really not. No thanks.

    • Brian Crowe

      I would buy a nice house for you, me and most BF readers but the person that puts out half a mil for this is the type that a “half a mill” house is a dumpy shack. People that buy these outrages priced cars are not the type that have to finance it for years. I think it’s just a way of stashing some of your excess cash for future and glory of ownership.

  13. Doug

    I had a ’65 289 automatic with factory air. Stolen in 1993, never recovered. 🙁 I wonder if there would be a way to look up the VIN on some data base now and see if it’s still out there–I’d sure love to get it back.

  14. Drew V

    I maybe a lil fuzzy on my Mustang history but if this is indeed the first Mustang built, shouldn’t it be a 64 1/2 instead of a 65???

    • Anthony R from RI

      64 1/2 was never an official Ford model year They were all 65’s

      • C Carl

        The early 65’s were released in mid 64. Code D, U and F are 64 1/2. Just think of duff beer, that’s the way I remember it.
        I’d drive a 65 straight 6

      • Richard Gaskill

        There are several web pages showing how to tell the difference between the 64 1/2 and 65

      • Don

        To my knowledge, no Mustang was ever titled as a 1964, regardless of when it was built.

      • Brian Crowe

        They also said a few times that it’s the first “hardtop”. Does that mean that all the 64-1/2 Mustangs were convertibles?

      • Josh Mortensen Josh Staff

        Typically when people take about Mustang hardtops, they are talking about the coupe body. I believe the very first car built was a Fastback, but don’t quote me on that.

      • Rocco Member

        Fastback’s didn’t come out until around April of ’65. About 1 year after the Mustang was introduced.

  15. Oingo

    IMHO the value is not in the serial it is in the uniqueness and historical significance.

  16. Hans

    Well for once we can say it’s not over restored! As it was a pilot/show car, It appears Ford went out of its way to make it perfect.

  17. Ikey Heyman

    Put me in the “what, are you kidding me?!” column. It’s still basically a Falcon, and whoever buys this will keep it in a climate controlled garage and not drive it. And pay half-a-million dollars for the privilege. Looks like a good example of the “greater fool theory” but who knows, if the economy doesn’t crater and car values keep getting crazier, watch it sell for a million in ten years.

  18. RandyS

    Love it!

  19. Levi77

    Had a 66 same color, black vinyl top, auto, 289. Couldn’t turn left, or right. Buy the time you closed the not well matching doors, you better get set, not slot of room either. Spend please, I have a 67 in storage.. Not a barn.

  20. Levi77

    Follow up post, I really remember that mustang not turning well. Anyone know the front to back weight? Was it the staring geometry?

    • Levi77

      Stearing geometry?

      • JW454

        Probably steering geometry.

  21. Gary Evans

    As a sophomore during the 63-64 basketball season, a senior (Whitey) on the team had the first Mustang in Omak, WA. His father had the Ford dealership. I remember walking out of the locker room after practice one dark evening, snow still on the ground, and there was this beautiful, brand new red Mustang convertible, white top, V8, four speed, white interior. Perhaps the next fall, when I was old enough to drive, Whitely pulled up next to me (at the Daisy Mae drive-in) in his still immaculate Mustang and asked me “when are you going to let me drive your car?” I was speechless and thought he couldn’t be serious! I was in my 1954 Hudson Hornet–a $50 orphan car. That same Hudson is still in my garage. I am guessing he doesn’t have his Mustang anymore…

  22. sir mike

    Rare and valuable piece of Ford history….so why not in the Ford musuem??

  23. Mike Williams

    An old story, It sat at that Yukon dealeship for months unsold and There is a reason it didn’t sell when new, It’s not a very desireable Mustang with that small six.

    • ACZ

      Price leader

  24. David Miraglia

    Love those first generation mustangs. But on this one I am priced out. But the car is beautiful

  25. ccrvtt

    My sister dated a guy whose father was a Ford dealer. He had one of the first Mustangs, a Caspian blue convertible with a white top, 4-speed & 260 V8. He let me borrow it one night to take it on a date.

    I still remember the car.

  26. Lee

    All that money for a non original car –a non desireable 6 cylinder at that –I think I would rather have an exact duplicate for $ 8500 and start a car collection of the right models with the rest of the money –Gosh you could have 25 super cars

  27. Red Horowitz

    Don’t think the car has a coirect rear in bidy style. The ‘641/2s had no backup lights whereas this car does.

    The 170 cu motor is correct and enough power to propel the car to speeding tickets.

    Know this first hand, with ownership and tix. Rangoon red color, black interior

    • Rocco Member

      Back up lights were optional on an early Mustang.

  28. Larry K

    Back in the late 80s when I was 18, I worked with a dude at a Ford dealership in Kitchener Ontario. He had a gold 65 with a bored out 351. Loud, fast, stiff as a board. He also had a big old yellow Ford pickup that one of his buddies had spray painted
    ZZ TOP on the tale gate.

  29. Craig MacDonald

    I recently bought a ’66 with the 200 ci six and an auto for a price that matches its collectability (cheap). It’s easy to drive, still has that iconic look, gets 25 mpg. and takes me anywhere I want to go with surprising pep. When the rolling restoration is done it will turn heads and be a great daily driver. Our obsession with cubic inches is just silly. I wish mine was a manual, but other than that I’m perfectly happy with it.

  30. Loco Mikado

    But it has body filer in it(factory though).

  31. Cubs win

    And you thought the Gremlin was stupid. What a waste because you can’t drive it. Stupid trailer queen that is only for investment, not car guys.

  32. cidevco Member

    Believe it or not, I know of #00003 that is located in So Cal. It is a metallic turquoise green V8 with a white vinyl top white interior with black carpet non fast back, that is still with the original owner who owned the Ford dealer in town. I grew up with the family and they still love the car. The car is totally original, paint everything.

    You all know if it ever goes for sale Im on it….

  33. RoselandPete

    Jay, are you reading this?

  34. angliagt

    I drove an early Mustang (’66?),back when they were
    sub- $1000 cars.It was nice,but I wasn’t impressed enough to want
    to buy one.
    I looked at a one owner Turquoise one (289/auto) 5-10 years
    ago.Owner wanted $3000 for it,but I passed,as I knew I wouldn’t
    kkep it.

  35. Craig MacDonald

    A lot of criticism here for anyone who would buy a car only to park it and maybe stare at it occasionally, or brag about owning it. But the guy with this kind of money is always thinking about return on his investment. If he chooses to bet on the price of gold, or art, or land, it’s his money and his choice. We love cars for the combination of form and function. But cars as an investment “vehicle” is a new part of this field and I, for one, won’t argue with someone who has the bucks and balls to jump in.


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