1965 Ford Mustang Coupe Donated to the National Museum of American History

December 7, 2004
A light blue 1965 Ford Mustang hardtop coupe has joined the transportation collections of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. The Mustang is the latest addition to the more than 70 automobiles in the collection, many of which are on display in the museum’s permanent exhibition “America on the Move,” which opened in November 2003. The Mustang will be on view in the first floor lobby from Dec. 8 through Jan. 3, 2005. Eleanor McMillan, a retired Smithsonian conservator, donated the near-mint condition vehicle during a ceremony on Dec. 8, ending her almost 40-year ownership of the car. This particular vehicle was assembled in October 1964 in Dearborn, Mich., during the first calendar year of Mustang production. Ford began producing Mustangs in 1964, at a time when adults and young baby boomers were discovering pleasure of driving. The Mustang was developed to meet the desires of the new car consumer, who was interested in economical models with flair, excitement and optional equipment that enhanced comfort and performance. Following its debut at the New York World’s Fair in April 1964, the Mustang was an instant hit and the practical coupe was the most popular body style, outselling the convertible. “The Mustang was the first mass-produced, moderately priced sports car,” said Roger White, the museum's road transportation specialist. “It capitalized on America's youth culture and showed that image and emotion could sell cars.” The museum’s collection of automobiles also includes a 1950 Buick sedan, a 1955 Ford station wagon, 1967 Pontiac Grand Prix and a 1986 Dodge minivan, all of which are on display in “America on the Move,” a 26,000-square-foot permanent exhibition that immerses visitors in the sights, sounds and sensations of transportation in the United States from the 1870s to the present. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The National Museum of American History traces American heritage through exhibitions of social, cultural, scientific and technological history. Collections are displayed in exhibitions that interpret the American experience from Colonial times to the present. The museum is located at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W., and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., except Dec. 25. For more information, visit the museum’s Web site at http://americanhistory.si.edu or call (202) 633-1000.