Describing a Mustang as “rare” seems a bit strange, but this 1964 1/2 convertible is truly one of a kind. Reportedly it was assembled during the first hour of Mustang production and then heavily modified before serving as the pace car for the Indianapolis 500. It is now for sale at RK Motors in Charlotte for…wait for it…$1,099,000.
As part of the media storm that Ford was conjuring up for the Mustang introduction, the company wanted its new pony car to pace the field at one of the world’s most watched sporting events. Three convertibles were slated for Indy 500 duty and sent to Charlotte-based tuners Holman Moody to get them ready for the high speed runs required by any pace car at the 500.
The biggest modification performed by Holman Moody was replacing the standard 260 cubic inch V-8 with a high performance 289 that was essentially a detuned unit from the Ford GT40. It was good for 450 horsepower and featured solid lifters, a forged crank and 10.5:1 compression.
Only two of the cars were actually completed. It is this one that actually served as the pace car for the race, with Ford Motor Company heir Benson Ford at the wheel. It then went to the Sebring International Raceway, where it served as a parade car for 11 seasons before being tucked into storage.
Authentically and exquisitely restored in the early 1990s, it is now as it was when it paced the Brickyard. The reason it is so desirable is that it isn’t just a gussied up ’64 1/2 Mustang convertible, but has the unique distinction of being one of the first Mustangs ever produced and one of only three Mustangs to serve as the pace car for the Indy 500.