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The old adage of never judge a book by its cover might be best described by Chicago resident Gail Wise who didn’t fit any of the usual muscle car archetypes. However, on 15 April 1964, Gail would, unbeknown to her, make worldwide history by becoming both the first Mustang owner and the first woman in the world to own a Mustang.

Gail instantly fell in love with a skylight blue convertible Mustang, partially hidden under a tarp at the back of her nearest dealership, and with her very first teacher’s pay cheque, bought the car two days before the official world premiere.

Her story, along with those of many others, have left such an indelible mark in Mustang’s iconic history that Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa has chosen to bring them back to life for women’s month this August.

Gail’s life at the time in a quaint Chicago neighbourhood was fairly ordinary, but at the wheel of the Mustang she was about to feel like a movie star. A college graduate about to enter her first job as a teacher, Gail needed transportation with only one criterion on her mind – it needed to be a convertible. “The dealership manager said he didn’t have a convertible on the floor but said I should follow him to the back of the dealership, as there’s something special,” she later said. Gail bought the baby blue Mustang on the spot for $3 400 and never looked back.

While many owners, upon realising this particular Mustang’s esteemed significance, would have immediately parked it safely away as a collector’s item or possibly consigned it to a museum, Gail used the car every day until little niggles eventually arrested its place on the road. It stood abandoned for 27 years!

Riddled with rust and a baby blue colour that had faded to a pale white, the very first Mustang was on the verge of being forgotten until 2005 when Gail and her husband decided to restore the car. Now this genesis of the Mustang nameplate is in good health, with the half-century patina loved by Mustang aficionados the world over.

Although South African businesswoman Kedibone Jozine Moloisane wasn’t yet born when Gail walked into her dealership, Moloisane’s sense of excitement as well as the daily salutes from other drivers echoes what Gail must have felt all those years earlier.

Having never owned a sportscar before, Kedibone bought a new 5.0-litre V8 Mustang from Lazarus Ford after spending time in her nephew’s similar car enroute to Mpumalanga. “I’ve been a fan of the Mustang from those early Vin Diesel movies, and from there I fell in love with the car. A Mustang is always a collectors’ item, and I will pass it down to my son and daughter who absolutely love it too. Since buying this car I can’t let go of it, it is the best decision I’ve ever made, and that sound is mighty!”

“It was breathtaking,” Kedibone said, when asked about the unusual colour choice. “My first preference was orange but the sales lady at Lazarus, after realising my outgoing personality, showed me this colour called Velocity Blue, and when I saw that colour I knew it was exactly what I wanted.”



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