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From the U.S. to the DMZ and Back - 1967 'Vietnam Mustang' on Sale for Veterans' Education
The Ford Mustang was introduced to the public at the World's Fair in Flushing Meadow, New York on April 17, 1964, by Henry Ford II, the eldest grandson of the Ford Motor Company's . The 1964 ½ as the model was also unveiled in showrooms across America and literally, the rest is history.

From the U.S. to the DMZ and Back - 1967 'Vietnam Mustang' on Sale for Veterans' Education

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Arguably, one of the greatest introductions of a car model in automotive history, Ford would go on to sell almost 22,000 Mustangs that day and 400,000 that model year.

As a Mustang fanatic from my early teens, I thought I knew everything there was to know about this iconic car until recently. Over its 58-year history, there may be no other hidden fact about the Mustang with more intrigued and confusion than its connection with the Vietnam War.

I wrote about my relationship with the Mustang in an autoevolution article back on July 11, 2022, but the Vietnam connection was a bit of a surprise and put a bit of a door ding on my driver's door; not a dent, but a ding.

It's not completely clear whether Ford manufactured what is known as the 'Vietnam Mustang' to be part of a marketing campaign, but factually, the New Jersey-made car was originally bound for Germany

Looking at the photos, Mustang experts will quickly realize some things are missing. Ford removed all 'Mustang' references from the car because a German truck maker owned the rights to the name so, the model was dubbed T5. Ford would produce 154 T5 Mustang models with five ending up not in Germany, but war torn South Vietnam as evidenced by the buck tag still visible under the hood of this car.

Increasing the rarity of this car is the fact that of the four other Mustangs delivered to Vietnam, this was the only fastback variation. YouTuber Dennis Collins of 'Coffee Walk' is the current owner and holds documentation in the form of a letter from Ford and Deluxe Marti Report, to support the vehicle's past.

Collins' research would reveal that his car was purchased by the U.S Government. Moreover, it was specifically built for the Head of the Navy Defense Contractors in Vietnam with the HXO option that came with a Shelby-like heavy-duty export suspension.

After two years the car was sold to Ron Cain, a 98th division paratrooper, who would go on to drive the car throughout the war zone for another two years. At some point during the car's tenure in Vietnam, someone placed a 'River Rat' decal on the back windshield that remains today. River Rats were known to be the fiercest fighters patrolling the Mekong River as part of the U.S. Navy's Brown Water Navy.

The car would eventually make its way back to Cain's home in Florida, where his daughter would drive it throughout her high school years just as I did with my 1967 Mustang Fastback back in the '80s; Ironically, my car was the same 'Moss Green' color. Collins purchased the car some years later from another owner who had acquired it from Cain.

Surprisingly, the interior is in original condition, surviving the brutal weather in Vietnam and Florida and in great condition. What is even more impressive is the great condition of the dash cover. Because of the design and thermo-forming manufacturing process, they were prone to crack in the middle.

For Mustang purists, it should be noted the car is not 'all original'. The original 2-barrel carburetor was replaced with a 4-barrel and the manual three-speed transmission was swapped out for a four-speed. The is some rust evident on several of the body panels, but there is no mistake about the value of this car given its interesting history.

It is not clear if the mileage is accurate nor can it reflect the 13,000 nautical miles from the Port of New Jersey to South Vietnam.

This classic car Lot No. 641 will be auctioned off at the Worldwide Auctioneers event in Auburn, Indiana, September 1-3. All proceeds from the No Reserve auction will go to the J. Kruse Education Center Career Coaching Academy in Auburn, Indiana. The academy provides scholarships for veterans transitioning out of military service and into civilian careers.

 
 
 
 
 

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