CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WKBN) — A local woman led a big celebration Friday for the Ford Mustang’s 50th anniversary.
Kathy Miller of Boardman was featured on a segment about the celebration on the CBS Evening News on Thursday. She is still in Charlotte, N.C., sharing her love of the muscle car with others.
“It flew. It was just the peppiest little car,” Miller said of her original 1964 Ford Mustang.
The copper-colored muscle car was a surprise gift from her parents.
“I have had this car since June 3, 1964, which was my graduation night from Poland High School,” Miller said. “It was in the driveway when we came home from graduation and I was just shocked. It had a big sign on it that my dad had painted. The best part was that my mother got me a watch. She didn’t know a thing about the car, so it was kind of an exciting evening.”
So what did she do to deserve such a special gift?
“I think the real truth of it was I was going to Ohio State, and being the oldest of eight children, I don’t think they could figure out how they were going to get me back and forth to Columbus with all the other kids and business responsibilities, so I think it served two purposes: My dad was kind of impulsive to do things like that, and the other was how are they going to get me to Ohio State for four years,” Miller said.
She said all the kids in her neighborhood wanted to go for a ride in the car because the Mustang had only been out for about a month when she got it. Its original price tag was $2,600.
On Friday, she was with a small group of owners of those original pre-production models at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. For them, it is not about the $1 million values placed on many of those cars, but about reliving the fun of their younger days.
“When I first got it, it was just fun. It was exciting, it was something new. It had bucket seats,” Miller said.
She later became a mom, a Realtor and a Boardman Township trustee. But the car was always with her.
“Most people don’t even have a really good reason why they kept it, but they did. I just did mine as well. I’m not sure why, but it became part of the family,” Miller said.
And just like his mom, her son Nate now loves old cars. He even found rice under the dashboard, which is a remnant of her wedding day.
“My son became an auto restorer. He restores classic cars and Mustangs. If we didn’t have this car, that would have probably never happened,” Miller said.
Nate restored the car to celebrate the Mustang’s 40th anniversary in 2004. Although her parents, Lois and Ken Mitchell, have since passed away, her mother was alive to see the 2004 restoration.
Her son and husband, John, are in Charlotte with her.
Also in Charlotte is a resident of New Wilmington, Pa. and Bruce Beeghly, a former editor at the Youngstown Vindicator, who also owns a pre-production Mustang model.