Golden An­niver­sary Mus­tang

To cel­e­brate the mil­lionth Mus­tang built, Ford cre­ated 50 spe­cial edi­tion Golden An­niver­sary Mus­tangs— here’s the spe­cial story be­hind one of the sur­vivors

Mustang Monthly - - CONTENTS - Rob Kin­nan TEXT • Jorge Nuñez

To cel­e­brate the mil­lionth Mus­tang built, Ford cre­ated 50 spe­cial edi­tion Golden An­niver­sary Mus­tangs—here’s the spe­cial story be­hind one of the sur­vivors

Fifty years is con­sid­ered a golden an­niver­sary. In mar­riage, that land­mark of time to­gether is sig­nif­i­cant for its in­cred­i­ble longevity, and it means that you’d bet­ter get your sig­nif­i­cant other (es­pe­cially the wife) some­thing shiny made of gold or you’ll be in big, big trou­ble. The Mus­tang cel­e­brated 50 years of con­tin­u­ous pro­duc­tion just a few years ago, but the model’s real golden an­niver­sary hap­pened in 1966, a year and a half after the Mus­tang de­buted.

When the mil­lionth Mus­tang was about to roll off of Ford’s pro­duc­tion line after only a year and change, those in charge at Ford re­al­ized they had to com­mem­o­rate it some­how, and the Golden An­niver­sary Mus­tang was born. A to­tal of 50 (hence the Golden An­niver­sary) Mus­tang hard­tops were built in the San Jose, Cal­i­for­nia, plant on March 29, 1966, with 289 2V en­gines, au­to­matic trans­mis­sions, and Deluxe black Pony in­te­ri­ors (though two had Parch­ment Pony in­te­ri­ors). They were painted An­niver­sary Gold (which had no paint code) and had sixdigit DSO codes of 331111, but were oth­er­wise iden­ti­cal to other 1966 Mus­tangs.

“When the mil­lionth Mus­tang was about to roll off of Ford’s pro­duc­tion line after only a year and change, those in charge at Ford re­al­ized they had to com­mem­o­rate it some­how, and the Golden An­niver­sary Mus­tang was born.”

The 50 Mus­tangs were sent out to each Ford Divi­sion sales district as a spe­cial pro­mo­tion to cel­e­brate the mil­lionth Mus­tang built, and it is thought that most, if not all of them, were given away by those deal­ers.

One such ex­am­ple was the “Trea­sure Chest” pro­mo­tion that was done by Metke Ford in Belle­vue, Wash­ing­ton. Area res­i­dents were mailed a key that could po­ten­tially open a locked chest con­tain­ing keys to the Golden An­niver­sary Mus­tang in the show­room.

Mus­tang Monthly has been fol­low­ing the story of one of the Golden An­niver­sary Mus­tangs, the one you see here, since 2009, when Delia Wolfe con­tacted Brad Bowl­ing and Jerry Heasley about her Mus­tang. Ms. Wolfe pur­chased this car from the orig­i­nal owner’s chil­dren, who told her the story be­hind the car.

Al­fred and Mar­garet Thomas, the orig­i­nal own­ers, re­ceived the golden key in the mail just after Al­fred had re­turned from his ser­vice in the Air Force at McChord Air Force Base in Ta­coma, Wash­ing­ton. (In a nice co­in­ci­dence, Al­fred also hap­pened to have been a Golden Gloves boxer.) The story goes, as Al­fred re­turned from his duty, he took his wife to buy a dress that she wanted at a

lo­cal an­tique dress shop. As she was look­ing at the dress, Al­fred popped into Metke Ford in Belle­vue, Wash­ing­ton. He took the “Trea­sure Chest” key sent to them in the mail and, lo and be­hold, his key won the 1966 Golden An­niver­sary Mus­tang.

Mr. Thomas’ fam­ily had kept the car many years after their par­ents had passed away. Son Mark Thomas still chuck­les about driv­ing the car into a tree on the fam­ily’s prop­erty.

His brother-in-law at­tempted to re­store the car at one time, but after years in des­per­ate need of a proper restora­tion, the Thomas fam­ily sold the car to Ms. Wolfe—after she gave her heart­felt prom­ise to pre­serve and, one day, re­store this golden trea­sure to its orig­i­nal glory. Ms. Wolfe is a BMW me­chanic so she knows about cars, but after time and her re­search into what the restora­tion was go­ing to take, she re­al­ized it was be­yond her abil­i­ties and de­cided to sell the car.

Fast-for­ward to 2015 when Los An­ge­les res­i­dent Eric Ruimy was on the In­ter­net look­ing for a good 1966 Mus­tang to re­store for his best friend’s 16-year-old

son, An­drew Mar­chasin, for his first car. After Eric had read all the in­for­ma­tion on­line and after speak­ing to Ms. Wolfe for many hours, Mr. Ruimy knew two things—this was no or­di­nary Mus­tang and this was not a car for a 16-yearold kid. Eric then con­tacted Brad Bowl­ing and Mus­tang Monthly’s Mark Houla­han, who took the time to ex­plain and ed­u­cate him about the ex­cit­ing and rare car he had just found.

This par­tic­u­lar car is be­lieved to be the first Golden An­niver­sary Mus­tang pro­duced in

1966 with the 000 VIN (6R07C178000). The door code 1111 made this the mil­lionth Golden An­niver­sary Mus­tang for sure.

Then the real fun started. Eric, be­ing a clas­sic car col­lec­tor him­self for over 30 years, started call­ing on all his re­sources and peo­ple he knew in the Mus­tang world. Ray Car­mody at R3, Inc. saved the in­tegrity of the fac­tory body and painted this car three times to get it per­fect. The car then went to Eric’s old friend and Mus­tang ex­pert, Scott An­drews, at Cal­i­for­nia Mus­tang and Col­lectibles. Eric knew Scott was the right per­son to help him keep Ms. Wolfe’s prom­ise of bring­ing this lovely car back to its orig­i­nal con­di­tion, and Scott would give the car all the love it de­served.

After two years the restora­tion was fi­nally com­plete, and then came the even harder decision for Eric. Should the car go to The Ford Mu­seum in Dear­born, Michi­gan? Should it go on the Mus­tang show cir­cuit to ed­u­cate peo­ple and show­case the rar­ity of the mil­lionth Mus­tang? After all, not a lot of peo­ple have ever even heard of a Golden An­niver­sary Mus­tang, let alone re­al­ize that only 50 of them were built. And of those 50, only five are known to still ex­ist, mak­ing the Golden An­niver­sary Mus­tangs the rarest of all

the hard­top Mus­tangs built.

Of course, func­tion­ally the Golden An­niver­sary Mus­tangs are just stan­dard 1966 hard­tops with 289 2V/ au­to­matic com­bi­na­tions, and there are thou­sands of those out there still on the streets. Cer­tainly some of them may have been re­painted dif­fer­ent col­ors over the years, so who knows for sure? Eric has cre­ated a web­site and reg­istry ded­i­cated to find­ing the ones that may still be out there at 1966Gold­enMus­tang.com. If you hap­pen to run across a ’66 hard­top with a door code of 1111 and a blank paint code with a March 29 build date, chances are that it is a Golden An­niver­sary Mus­tang and Eric kindly asks you to con­tact him at the web­site.

Rob Kin­nan PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

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