By Marty Denzer
Catholic Key Reporter
KANSAS CITY — For those old enough to remember, the 1964-65 Ford Mustang was a dream machine. And for many of those too young to remember the 60’s, the classic “muscle car” is still a dream machine.
In April, the Bright Futures Fund will raffle off a 1964½ red Mustang convertible as a fund raiser for scholarships to Archbishop O’Hara and later St. Michael the Archangel high schools. A lucky someone will hear their name called as the winner of this dream machine during the annual School Bell Breakfast.
Bright Futures Fund director Jeremy Lillig said he was contacted by a local Catholic family whose children attended Catholic schools. They wanted other kids to have the opportunity to attend a Catholic high school and thought the Mustang would be a good item to raffle off.
Of course Lillig said “Yes!” When he saw it, up close and personal, he was amazed, delighted and thrilled.
Remember, the car is 50 years old, the same age as Archbishop O’Hara High School, which was the impetus for the raffle’s name, “50 years for 50 years.”
Take one 164 horse power/260 cubic inch V-8 engine, add new brakes, a motorized convertible top with matching boot cover, AM-FM radio with MP3 wiring, and low mileage —about 83,000 miles which, over 50 years, is about 1,660 miles annually — and then imagine it in your driveway! The interior has been cleaned and a few cosmetic touchups done. It has a new dashboard and a new paint job on the front end. Bright red, with a cream interior, the convertible is “lookin’ good” as a passerby said.
The idea of a smaller luxury car to rival the influx of imports was first floated in the very early 1960s.
Credit for the concept of the Mustang is given to Lee Iacocca, who began selling his idea to Ford executives in 1962. The Mustang was designed to appeal to young buyers who were starting to flood the market for a new, not-so-conservative looking car. Certain parameters were established for the new design: it couldn’t be longer than 15 feet, had to weigh 2,500 pounds or less, and have a standard 6-cylinder engine. It also could not cost more than $2,500 ($18, 855 today).
The first Mustang rolled off the assembly line in Dearborn, Mich., on March 9, 1964. It was introduced to the public at the New York World’s Fair on Friday, April 17. The list price was $2,368, and 22,000 Mustangs were ordered by the end of that weekend. About 303,408 Mustangs were built that first year. While actually billed as a 1965 model, due to its introduction in the Spring rather than in the Fall, it was nicknamed the 19642.
The repairs, parts and labor were donated or purchased for reduced prices. Rick Howard of RK Collision Repair in Belton donated the repainting of the front end. The new brakes were installed by Steve Hollo of Steve’s Auto Services in Raytown, and his auto mechanics class at O’Hara High School. Mustangs Plus in Northeast Kansas City had or was able to obtain matching new parts, including a new dashboard, for the Bright Futures Fund to purchase. Lillig said owner Joe Saitta, Jr., and his staff had “certainly been a help.”
Shares are available now. Each share is $25, or 3 shares for $50, with a limit of 6 shares per individual. They can be purchased online at www.brightfuturesfund.org or at Archbishop O’Hara High School, 9001 James A. Reed Road, Kansas City. Shares will be mailed to purchasers within five business days. The drawing for the winning share will be during the School Bell Breakfast for the Strong City Schools on April 16, 2015.
Lillig said funds raised will be dedicated to need-based scholarships to honor the 50th anniversary of the opening of Archbishop O’Hara High School. Lillig hopes the raffle will raise $50,000, to provide scholarships to O’Hara and later to St. Michael the Archangel High School for 5 – 10 years.
Vroom! And Good Luck.