LIMA — Bob Dirksen has owned his 1964 1/2 Ford Mustang Convertible since 2008.
Upon hearing of the Wings of Freedom Tour with World War II bombers and fighter planes at the Allen County Airport, Dirksen was adamant about getting a photo of his Mustang alongside the fighter plane it was named for, the P-51 Mustang.
The P-51 Mustang was used during World War II and the Korean War. The plane was designed by North American Aviation for the British Royal Air Force. It was later adopted by the U.S. Army Air Forces. The P-51 is regarded as one of the best all-around piston-engined fighter planes produced in significant numbers.
The Ford Mustang debuted in Ford showrooms across the United States and at the World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York, on April 17, 1964. That day alone, 22,000 Mustangs were purchased. Ford sold more than 400,000 Mustangs that first year of production.
It debuted five months prior to the normal start of the 1965 production year, thus the first model year is referred to as a 1964 1/2. Stylist John Najjar was a fan of the World War II P-51 Mustang fighter plane. He is credited by Ford to have suggested the name.
The 1964 James Bond movie “Goldfinger” was the Ford Mustang’s first appearance in a feature film and timed with the car’s introduction in the marketplace. As of 2018, Ford has now made 10 million Mustangs.