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HomeFeatured VehiclesPick of the Day: 1964-½ Ford Mustang Indy Pace Car

Pick of the Day: 1964-½ Ford Mustang Indy Pace Car

If there’s such thing as an enigmatic, this is it

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Today is April 17th, which is the 60th anniversary of the official debut of the Ford Mustang. At the time, it set sales records and carved out a class of vehicle in the American market. How could our Pick of the Day not be a Mustang? In the case of this 1964-½ Ford Mustang that is listed on ClassicCars.com, it’s a very special and unusual Indianapolis Pace Car Replica for sale by a dealership in Beverly Hills. (Click the link to view the listing)

A few enthusiasts know this but, in case you don’t, the Mustang was introduced at the 1964 New York World’s Fair as a 1965 model. Every reference you may read for a 1964-½ would actually be for a 1965. However, enough running changes happened during the first few months of the (soon-to-be-known-as) pony car that collectors make distinctions between the early cars and those that were built at the start of the traditional model year schedule.

When the Mustang was first introduced, it was available only as a hardtop coupe and convertible. The fastback and GT package that gave the Mustang its sporty image was not introduced until the 1965 model year began. Powerplant choices began with a 105-horsepower 170cid straight-six, with the first step up being a 164-horse 260 V8 with a two-barrel. Want a four-barrel? Then you could select a 210-horse 289 V8. If all that didn’t tickle your enthusiast inclinations, even in a lightweight compact like the Mustang, then the summer of 1964 brought the introduction of the 271-horse 289 High-Performance.

At the start of the 1965 model year, Ford discontinued the 170 and introduced a 120-horsepower 200. For V8s, the 260 was discontinued and the 289 four-barrel was upgraded to 225 horsepower. Ford also implemented alternators to replace the old-fashioned generators.

Ford Motor Company

The Mustang was chosen to pace the Indianapolis 500 but, as popular as the Mustang became, the pace cars have been surrounded by an enigma. There were two actual pace cars, plus at least 40 white convertibles for dignitaries. The actual pace cars available to the public were distributed through “Checkered Flag” and “Green Flag” dealer incentive contests – replicas were not something that members of the public could order to their specifications. This may explain why these cars have been somewhat mysterious over the years. In fact, due to the impressive research of AMC expert Tom Benvie, who’s working on a pace car book, much of what you might have read in the past about 1964 Mustang pace cars has been wrong.

This 1964-½ Ford Mustang Indianapolis Pace Car Replica is finished in code C Pace Car White (different than the traditional Wimbledon White) with a white and blue interior. “The unmistakable “Official Pace Car” decals along the sides of the car pay homage to its prestigious heritage,” says the seller. “Additional equipment includes an automatic transmission, V8 engine, ‘260’ badges on the front fenders, 2-barrel carburetor, dual exhaust outlets, white-line tires, Mustang-branded hub caps, jack, and a full-size spare tire in the trunk.”

Built in April 1964 and sent to the Seattle DSO (District Sales Office), this Mustang coupe has a salvage title, which likely has held its price to a relatively palatable $36,500. Take a look at the documentation pics and you’ll see that this is a nice opportunity for someone to celebrate the Mustang’s 60th in rare form.

Click here for this ClassicCars.com Pick of the Day.

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Diego Rosenberg
Diego Rosenberg
Lead Writer Diego Rosenberg is a native of Wilmington, Delaware and Princeton, New Jersey, giving him plenty of exposure to the charms of Carlisle and Englishtown. Though his first love is Citroen, he fell for muscle cars after being seduced by 1950s finned flyers—in fact, he’s written two books on American muscle. But please don’t think there is a strong American bias because foreign weirdness is never far from his heart. With a penchant for underground music from the 1960-70s, Diego and his family reside in metropolitan Phoenix.

9 COMMENTS

  1. There’s no way this tin lizzy, as we used to call them back in the day, this car is worth anything close to what he wants for it! maybe 10,000 at the most….if it were a fastback, maybe more..15,000 …

    • If it’s not the actual pace car or festival car, it’s a replica. If it’s a factory-sanctioned pace car sold through dealerships, it’s a replica.

  2. I’m sorry, Diego. I’m Indianapolis born and bred. My father and Uncle Bruce hung out with, raced and built cars with folks like Steve and Sheldon Kinser. My best Jr/HS bud’s Mom dated Indy driver Bob Harkey for almost a decade. I have had and never abused access to the IMS museum’s basement collection. Had this nice lil coupe any provenance, it would be a half million dollar car. It doesn’t. It isn’t. Hey! Do you have any idea how many ’69 Camaro RS/SS Pace Car clones exist? Visit Dan Young Chevrolet in Indianapolis, they provided all the Indy Cameros in ’69. They keep #1 on the showroom floor, or at least they did for a couple of decades. White, Hugger Orange stripes, Orange houndstooth interior, RS hidden headlights… Yeah. If that ‘stang is real, and can be provenances, that’s a million dollar+ car.

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