Gail visited the showroom of Johnson Ford on Cicero Ave. in Chicago. None of the cars there really caught her eye. Then, a salesman decided to give her an advance peek at a Skylight Blue Mustang. Ford’s all-new Pony Car was slated to be introduced at the New York World’s Fair on April 1, 1964. So the car that Gail saw was what collectors call the 1964-1/2 model, even though all of the first Mustangs were made with 1965 vehicle identification plates and titled as 1965 models. This timimg emphasized the newness and uniqueness of the car.
The fully-loaded Pony Car at Johnson Ford had the 260-cid V-8 and Rally Pac instrumentation. The car had been under wraps in the back of the dealership awaiting the official release date, which was set for April 17. It was only April 15 when Gail saw the car, but a sale is a sale and the dealership sold the convertible to her. Neirther Gail nor the dealer realized they were making automotive history, because Gail became the first retail buyer of a Ford Mustang.
In 1966, Gail married her longtime sweetheart Tom Wise and the couple settled in a Chicago suburb, where they raised a family. Gail’s Mustang convertible was a part of the young family. The car would become Tom’s daily driver for several years. Eventually, the demands of work and family responsibilities regulated the car to the garage, where it sat for 27 years. The Wise family did not have the income needed to restore their classic car.
The car was not forgotten about, however. Tom had plans to restore it and in 2007 he started the project. Three years later the car was back on the road. Since then, they have entered the fully-documented car in numerous shows and taken it to cruises in nearby towns where they amaze people with their story of being the very first owners of a Mustang.
With the Mustang celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2014 (remember the first ones were built and sold in ’64) the light blue ragtop with the dark blue interior has been in the limelight recently. It fact, it was one of the big attractions in the Ford booth at the Chicago Auto Show.