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Ford Mustang turns 50: A used Mustang salesman reflects on the iconic car's legacy

by John Rabe | Off-Ramp®

Jim Hangley in the yard of Mustangs Only!, where he's sold and restored used Ford Mustangs for 45 years. John Rabe

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Ford Mustang on April 17, Off-Ramp host John Rabe interviews Jim Hangley, the owner of Mustangs Only! Hangley's been selling used Mustangs  from the same address — 5863 Washington Blvd. in Culver City — since he opened the shop in 1969, just five years after the Mustang first rolled off assembly lines in Detroit and California.

Ford had a hit on its hands — even bigger than the Model A — the instant the Mustang came out. By now, 9 million Mustangs have been sold, from the sexy fastback to the California-perfect convertible, to the admittedly crappy Mustang II, to the bland boxiness of the 1980s, to the recent return to muscularity.

First Mustang commercial, shown simultaneously on all three (!) networks in 1964

Jim Hangley has seen them all from the same Presidential corner, Washington and Adams, in Culver City, where he decided, in 1969, that he could make a living selling used Mustangs. Back then, they went for about $2,000 new. Now, he can get $50,000 for a restored old fastback or convertible.

"Mustangs. The only car I've used for 45 years. Never owned a new car. Always a classic Mustang. How come? 70 options. Could order anything that I needed. Never dropped me in the street. Never dropped anyone else in the street. And they're sexy. Oh, yeah. Long hood, short deck, low to the ground. A real sporty little car." - Mustangs Only! owner Jim Hangley

Since Jim admitted to me that he's 83, and he's a car guy, I asked the obvious question. Is he one of those men who want to be buried in one of their cars?

"No, not necessarily," he said. "But I've certainly enjoyed the fact that I've been able to carry this on for this long."

I remember scrunching into the back of Parker M's Mach One at Soo High, with a bunch of us who were in "Pillow Talk." And I remember girlfriend Kay G.'s Mustang II, which had a floor so rusted that when we drove in a rainstorm on the way to a Gatemouth Brown concert in Mount Pleasant, I had to hold down a piece of plywood with my feet to keep the waves from coming in.

Did you or do you currently own a Mustang? If so, we'd love to hear your memories/stories/thoughts in the comments on this iconic car. 

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