Vehicles | March 21, 2017 9:00 am

Did America Build This Car, or Did This Car Build America?

The first Mustang Coupe is up for grabs. Here is its story.

In 1964, the world was blessed with the first Ford Mustang.

I should know. The ‘64 ½ and my family share a long legacy together. It was my brother’s first car, my sister’s first car and my own personal twentysomething dream ride. But before the half, there was but one: the original.

Mustang has produced 53 models (one for every year) in the half century since, with more than 9 million individual units pumping off the line. In the pantheon of American motor mythologies, it’s the one that shines brightest. Not only did it make a massive impact on the manufacturing process, it also ushered in what we identify to this day as American car culture. Out were the days of boat-sized luxury vehicles for transporting families to the countryside and back; in were the days of menacing muscle cars that left rubber on asphalt and woke babies from their sleep.

You’ve heard how John Lennon wrote Imagine in a single session? In car years, Ford did the equivalent with the Mustang. Just 18 months from conception to finish — and she was perfect.

Stang (5 images)

The idea was first floated by Lee Iacocca, who wanted to build a ride that tipped the scales under 2,500 lbs., measured no more than 180 inches long, and sported a floor-mounted shifter, front bucket seats and enough room for four joyful passengers. Small. Light. Sporty.

The release came with near-unprecedented fanfare: the car flexed its curves on all the major networks at a time when those were the only networks you could watch. And unsurprisingly, it sold like gangbusters: Ford moved more than 22,000 units on the first day. By the end of the year, 318,000 were spoken for.

If you ever hoped to see that debut make in the flesh — or own one, perhaps — feast your eyes upon the doll above: chassis no. 5F07U100002, aka one Caspian Blue 1965 Mustang with the earliest production number ever recorded for a Mustang coupe. She debuted on the Beatles’ Ed Sullivan episode, for frick’s sake. Years later, the car was discovered by one Bob Fria, a Mustang historian. He saw after a two-year restoration, after which the car was presented at Ford World Headquarters for the marque’s 100th anniversary.

Want doesn’t even begin to describe this opportunity. The 100002 is due to sell via Mecum in late May at the Indianapolis Auction.

No estimate is listed. Let’s just start the bidding at “priceless.”