Written by John Wishart & Photos by Ed Sindoni
Nestled in the sprawling area of Lakewood Ranch, Florida is a hidden gem of a classic car. It’s not often that the opportunity to see a 1964 ½ concourse level Mustang arises, but when it does, it should be shared. John Wishart (MCA #85927) interest in Ford performance cars started in the early 1960s during his teen years in Vermont. At first it was as a spectator watching Ford Thunderbolts and the Daytona 500, but eventually, he began to “hang out” at the local garage. The owner was into flatheads and oval racing, and as a pit crew member, John’s love for Ford performance began there.
Graduating from high school in May of 1964, the Ford Mustang was all the hype. Ford introduced the “K” code that month, and he was one of the first to order one. Ownership of the vehicle was short-lived as Uncle Sam awarded him with a draft notice, and he was forced to sell the car. Fast forward 43 years later, and John found his first Mustang’s near twin in St. Louis at a local dealer. It is a “K” code Ivy Green convertible with matching numbers, 289 high-performance four-speed. He became only the third owner of the vehicle which was originally purchased in Chicago in July of 1964. After three years, the car was moved to Houston where it remained until sold at a Mecum Auction.
Returning a 55-year-old classic to original condition and to MCA Concourse standards has been an ongoing effort. The windshield and headlights have been replaced with the proper style with the Ford logo. The drive train has all been rebuilt with the engine heads converted to accept the unleaded gasoline. The engine bay, undercarriage, and suspension have all been painted/upgraded to concourse standards for appearance and to ensure safety. Also replaced was the carpet in the interior and trunk, and the top.
During this time of renovation, he willingly took advice from his two buddies in the “Show Me Mustang Club of St. Louis” Mitch Mitchell and Tim Whitson. John entered his first show and was awarded second place. This began a series of trophies being earned at the local events, building up to MCA national shows. This beauty has been well received: 2013 “Race to Indy” Silver in Concourse Trailered, 2014 “Prairieland Roundup” Silver, and 2017 “Overland Park” (KS) Bronze. In 2014 this Mustang was chosen as the feature car for the Easter “Concours d’Elegance” of St. Louis for the Mustang 50th Anniversary. Most recently, it was awarded the “Founders Award” at the “Ponies Under the Palms” show in Lakewood Ranch (FL).
This first-generation Mustang does not rest solely in its garage awaiting the next show. John regularly parades this beauty throughout his neighborhood to stretch out its legs and to let others appreciate this extraordinary example of an All American classic.