By Julie Ann Madden
As Ford Motor Company officials recognized April 17 as the 50th anniversary of when its Mustang cars made their sales debut, an Akron man was reminiscing about his first Mustang.
It was just two years after that debut that Frerichs spied an Ember Glow-colored 1966 Ford Mustang hardtop with Pony interior at Gassman Motor in Akron.
“I remember they had a huge banner in the window of the showroom floor announcing 1 million Mustangs had been sold since they came out in the Spring of 1964,” Frerichs told The Akron Hometowner.
He’d told his mother this was the car he wanted for a graduation present.
“I’d had my eye on that car for a few days and had shown my mother it a few times after school,” he said. “It was the most sporty car I’d ever seen.”
Gordon Kilstrom was the salesman the day Frerichs and his mother went inside the dealership.
When his mother said they’d think about it for awhile, Frerichs’ heart nearly broke but Kilstrom was a good salesman.
“My mother finally relented and bought it for me,” said Frerichs.
The first day he drove it to Akron High School, he came up to the stop sign at Iowa Highway 12 and Reed Street, and as he pulled away from the stop sign, Frerichs squealed the Mustangs’ tires. A cop was setting nearby but just let him go as he had the kid ahead of him.
“You could squeal your tires so easy in a Mustang,” said Frerichs. “You had to be careful when starting out.”
The car’s Ember Glow color changed hues, depending on the lighting around it, he said.
“I had the best car of my senior class,” said Frerichs, and in the Norka yearbook’s Last Will & Testament by the Class of 1966, he willed “his ability to squeal my Mustang to Dave Higman” who also had a Mustang.
“I love the looks of (the Mustangs),” said Frerichs. “They are so much fun to drive. They have a lot of get up and go and are easy handling.”
“Everyone seems to know a Mustang when they see it,” he said. “At the time they were the fastest car to go from zero to 60 mph ever made.”
“I never raced my cars though,” said Frerichs. “I always took good care of them.”
“In the late 1960s about every other car you’d see on the road was a Mustang — either meeting one or one in your rearview mirror,” said Frerichs. “Mustangs are one of the most fun cars to drive ever made.”
Unfortunately, Frerichs sold his Ember Glow Mustang nine years later.
“I don’t know why,” he told The Akron Hometowner. “I guess I fell in love with a beautiful red and white 1973 Dodge Charger.”
He sold the Mustang to his neighbor, Barry Borchers.
Shortly after, a driver ran a stop sign at the intersection of County Roads K-18 North and C-16 and T-boned the Mustang, totalling it, Frerichs said. “Rod Reoh, owner of Rod’s Ford in Akron, salvaged some parts from it.”
“I thought I outgrew the Mustang,” said Frerichs, explaining he went on to purchase other cars such as a 1979 Ford Thunderbird and a Buick Park Avenue.
“But in 2000, I got the ‘Pony’ bug again,” said Frerichs, “and bought a red 1965 Mustang GT at a car show.”
The red Mustang with its white vinyl top and white Pony interior is his show car that he drives in many car cruises and competes with in classic Show & Shines.
“I have won many awards with it,” said Frerichs who is a member of the Siouxland Mustang Enthusiasts Club and enjoys cruising with other Mustang drivers in such events as the Tri-State Cruisers, which is where classic car owners drive their prized possessions to an area town and enjoy an evening meal and allow passersby to view the vehicles and talk “classic cars” for awhile.
That red Mustang just wetted his appetite to start collecting a few.
A few years ago, Frerichs purchased a Midnight Blue 1966 convertible with blue-and-white Pony interior at the same car show in Canton, S.D.
In 2008, he purchased a year-old Torch Red 2007 Mach 1 tribute car at Sioux City Ford.
“This one had been traded in for a Shelby Mustang,” said Frerichs. “This is one hot car.”
Most recently he purchased a Grabber Blue 1970 Boss 302 clone at a Nebraska auction.
“It’s kind of an eye-catcher (just like its color’s name says),” said Frerichs, who now has the difficult decision of which Mustang to drive each time he heads to a car show or cruise.
Over 9 million Mustangs have been sold in the last 50 years, and Ford Motor Company is manufacturing a special 50 Year Limited Edition model for 2015.