Man shares tale of ’64 1/2 Mustang

TRIMONT – Darwin Anthony still remembers the first time he laid eyes on what would become his 1964 Ford Mustang.

“When I saw that car drive into town, I remember thinking it was one of the prettiest cars I’d ever seen,” he said.

The Trimont Ford dealership, run by John Rabbe at the time, ordered the Mustang from the New York showing before it was officially released.

“John Rabbe’s brother-in-law, Sterling Adamson, had the car for a few years, and I told them if they were ever interested in selling it, I wanted to buy it,” Anthony said. “A few years later, when Sterling had a growing family, he traded it in.”

Anthony drove the Mustang as his regular vehicle for a few years, then realized he had something special.

“I’d driven it for one of the princesses in the Sherburn Dairy Days parade,” he said. “Someone told me he wanted to buy it from me and offered me more money than what I paid for it. I figured he must know something I don’t. That’s when I started learning and researching, and I then started restoring the vehicle.”

Anthony refers to his vehicle as a 1964 1/2 Mustang, because the Mustang was released later than the rest of the 1964 Ford lineup. The serial number shows the Mustang as a 1965, but records showed Anthony’s car rolled off the line in April 1964.

“We ordered all new parts, I didn’t want any putty,” Anthony said of his restoration efforts. “We had all new fenders and quarterpanels.”

The restoration also included the original paint color of “arcadian blue” with a “white crinkle” trim. The full restoration was a slow process, but Anthony finally completed it with the upholstery in 2004.

“It still runs like a charm, at least it did the last time I started it,” Anthony said. “The motor has never been broken into, and it’s mostly been in parades and car shows.”

Anthony gained a new respect for the vehicle when by coincidence he met Rowell Quinton, who designed the front end of the original Mustangs.

“It was so interesting how it happened,” Anthony said of his chance meeting with Quinton while they were vacationing in Arizona. “We had just gotten a new vehicle, and we were parked in the parking lot, and this man came up and said he liked the design of our car, and mentioned he was interested in the styling of cars because he was once an automobile design specialist. I asked what type of car he helped design, and when he told us, we were just shocked and he was shocked when we told him we owned a 1964 1/2 Mustang.”

Anthony and Quinton ended up meeting again later, and Quinton shared his stories of working on the Mustang design with Lee Iaccoca, and had some of his original drawings he was willing to make copies of for Anthony.

“I will think of Rowell Quinton each time I look at the front end of our Mustang now,” Anthony said.

It also is not lost on Anthony that this is the 50th anniversary of the Mustang.

“For the 50th anniversary, we plan to have it in the Trimont parade, and we’ll be playing some ’50s and ’60s music,” he said. “We plan to use it at the fair in our booth, and we might put it in the summerfest car show. We don’t take this car that far. It’s really our pride and joy.”