'64 Mustang owners celebrate 50-year love affair

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Come along for a "pony drive" -- that's what Mustang owners call it when they hit the road together. Three hundred of them drove from Atlanta to Charlotte to celebrate the birthday of an automotive icon.

Kathy Miller CBS News
For American drivers, the '64 Mustang was love at first sight. It was brash and fast -- a sports car for Main Street. The base model cost $2,400; that would be $17,500 today. Ford sold 419,000 of them the first year -- four times more than it expected.

Kathy Miller still owns her '64 Mustang, a Prairie Bronze metallic coupe. Miller's father surprised her the day she graduated high school in June of 1964. She was 17.

"It was sitting in the driveway. ... I couldn't believe it! I couldn't believe it -- a Mustang," Miller recalls. "It did not have a radio, there was no air conditioning, no power steering."

Kathy Miller's father surprised her with a Mustang the day she graduated high school. Kathy Miller
But it did the job.

"And it flew," Miller says.

The Ohio realtor remembers leaving her wedding reception in her Mustang.

"They threw rice at us, all over the car, and when my son restored the car 40 years later and he pulled off this dash, there was rice all on the inside," Miller says.

Passage: Ford Mustang
Miller introduced CBS News to eight owners of 1964 Mustangs. They all bought them new; they all still have them today.

Pete Harwood was 25 when he bought his.

"You drive and you feel the wind in your face, with the windows open in the summertime," he says. "It's just a thrill to drive."

When Miller looks in her Mustang's mirror, she sees herself at 17. And everybody always looks as she drives by.

"It really does remind you of when you were a kid, and you were out with your friends -- and in my case, my girlfriends, just cruising around town, and it's a pretty day," she says.

That's the Mustang mystique. It feels young, even at 50.

  • Mark Strassmann

    Mark Strassmann has been a CBS News correspondent since January 2001 and is based in the Atlanta bureau.