“Mrs. Wade, your car is ready”

In the mid-1960’s dad (James C. Wade) was working for Hamill and then Firestone.  Firestone purchased Hamill when J. D. Ligon retired from Hamill.  Hamill was one of the primary producers of seat belts for the automobile industry.

Dad had received a promotion and was given a new company car – A Chevy.  He decided to get mom (Jane Hoyt Wade) a new, sportier car.  He sold our 1964 Ford Galaxie 500 to Earl Boyle and bought a 1966 Mustang GT convertible with a 289 cubic inch engine with a 4 barrel carburetor, Ivy Gold color with a black interior and top.  Mom was very happy and I was ecstatic.

1966 Mustang GT

A couple of months after we got the Mustang, dad had a Thursday meeting at the Ford Proving Ground in Romeo.  Driving to a Ford facilitate in a Chevy was not a good idea.  He arranged to drive mom’s Mustang to work and then go to the Proving Grounds.  As he left for work, mom cautioned him to take care of her baby.

That Thursday, the Ford engineer and project manager drove to Washington to meet with dad at Hamill before going to the Proving Grounds.  The engineer and project manager rode to the Proving Grounds with dad in the Mustang.  Before the meeting began, the engineer commented to the Director of the Proving Grounds that they came in a new Mustang with a 289 four barrel engine.  At the end of the meeting, the Director suggested that they take the Mustang out onto the high speed oval.  The high speed track did not have anything schedule for that afternoon, so they could try out mom’s Mustang.  Dad agreed.

Dad took it for a couple of laps reaching speeds well over 120 miles an hour.  The engineer, project manager, and director rode along.  As they were driving back to the headquarters facility, the three Ford men thought that they should be able to get the car to perform better.  They drove the Mustang into one of the facility’s service bays and a crew of mechanics went to work on the engine’s setting. 

The next trips around the high speed oval were considerably faster.  How fast is not known.  The speedometer of a 1966 Mustang GT went to 140 miles per hour and the speedometer was “pegged” past that speed.  When they stopped the car, the speedometer’s dial would not come back to zero – it was stuck.  By the time they finished their run, the Proving Ground mechanics had gone home for the day, so dad would have to take the car into the dealership to get the speedometer fixed.

When he got home, Dad told mom that he had to go back to the Proving Ground on Friday, so he would need her car again.

The next morning dad left early so he could get to the dealership.  He needed to get the car in and fixed that day.  The Proving Ground Director had called the dealership’s Service Manager and told him what happened and that the speedometer needed to be fixed that day so dad wouldn’t get in trouble with his wife.  The Service Manager told dad he would get it done and then drove dad to work.

That afternoon the car was fixed and the Assistant Service Manager called home.  When mom answered the phone, the Assistant Service Manager said, “Mrs. Wade, your car is ready.”    Mom said thank you and that dad would pick it up on his way home. Imagine dad’s surprise when he got home and mom asked him what was wrong with her car.

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