A retired salesman in Canada is going to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, to meet with a Ford Mustang that he accidentally sold 55 years ago.
Prior to the 1964 Ford Mustang launch, dealerships received a pre-production vehicle to display. They were not intended to be sold to customers, but one – with Mustang's first serial number – was bought by a pilot in Newfoundland.
Harry Phillips, a salesman for George G.R. Parsons Ford in St. Johns, Newfoundland, told CNN that it was the "easiest" sale he has ever made.
The brand new Mustang had just been sent to the factory dealership and was on display near the road. It was a "revolutionary car" of the time, Phillips said.
It was a white Wimbledon convertible with a black interior and quickly caught the eye of a plane pilot, Captain Stanley Tucker.
"He saw it on the road and I was the lucky one who was closest to him at the time," said Phillips. "He looked at him and said," It's mine. "
The car sold for $ 4,300, according to Phillips.
Mustang's official release date was April 17, 1964, but Tucker bought it on the 14th, according to Matt Anderson, the museum's transportation curator.
With that in mind, Tucker made a deal with the dealership that would buy her, but let her stay in the parking lot for display for a few weeks.
"We moved the car to the showroom that day," said Phillips. "He came every day to check and make sure no one did anything."
Phillips did not know the importance of the model until a few months later, when there was a dispute to find out where the Mustang with serial number 5F08F100001 had gone.
"This vehicle was a pre-production and should be sent back to Ford," said Anderson.
Preproduction vehicles are essentially practice cars for the workers who ride them, according to Anderson. They do not have the quality of cars intended for sale, and this Mustang is evident in the crooked panels and missing details such as rings around the lock, according to Anderson.
Ford took two years of negotiation with Tucker to recover the vehicle. In exchange for the first Mustang built, Ford gave him the millionth – a 1966 model with all the bells and whistles.
"He covered about 10,000 kilometers in those two years," said Anderson. "But it was in good condition."
The car was saved and in 1984 debuted at the museum.
Phillips had a career in car sales and retired in 1995, never seeing the Mustang that he sold by mistake in 1964.
But this week he will finally have the opportunity to see you, thanks to a social media campaign, "Send Harry to Henry" started by his granddaughter, Stephanie Mealey.
Phillips, his daughter and granddaughter are going to Michigan on Friday for a VIP tour.
"It's not very common to find someone involved with our cars, especially a notable one like that," said Anderson.
The museum has a full day of activities reserved for Phillips, which even includes a tour of the Rouge factory where the historic Mustang was built. This will be Phillips's first time at the museum.
"It's just fantastic, I don't believe it," Phillips said of the trip. "Everyone tells me to take a lot of pictures."
In addition to the Mustang, Phillips said he is looking forward to seeing all the older Ford, especially the mid-1950s.