Paper Trail & Magazines

As the end of the car show season starts to creep in upon us here in the UK I am slowly turning my attention to all things Mustang in the mean time to give me my daily dose of Mustang I need, just until the car shows start again. The model car I have was posted a few weeks ago and the story behind that, but how about articles. The paper magazines that people had way back then and just threw away as they weren’t going to be worth anything, right? Well not quite.

To set the scene; in 1964 the Ford Mustang sports car, is officially unveiled by Henry Ford II at the World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York, on April 17, 1964. On the same day, the new car also debuted in Ford showrooms across America and almost 22,000 Mustangs were ordered by customers. Ford sold more than 400,000 Mustangs within its first year of production, far exceeding sales expectations.

1) To celebrate such a huge launch at the time three of the biggest magazines at the time all held articles on the Mustang. The Mustang was first automobile to have an editorial feature in all three big USA publication’s April 1964 editions – Time, Life and Newsweek…

2) This was significant as Time and a Life tended to only focus on ‘life changing’ and ‘significant events’. Newsweek was more like a newspaper and was full of current issues and views.

3) The only copies left from those April 1964 issues are because people subscribed to the magazines and we tend to keep old mags!

4) As that generation reached an age when they either downsized or left estates to be cleared, the magazines show up from time to time as part of house clearances.

5) The magazines (Time/Life) tended to get kept and those that survived are in pretty good condition – often still in the original addressed envelope and some even unread.

6) The rarest is the Newsweek copy as it tended to get thrown after reading.

7)  Individually,  the Life magazine can be bought for a reasonable amount while the Time edition has become extremely rare as the popularity of the iconic first Mustang has grown – particularly after it celebrated its 50th birthday. The Newsweek edition has always been rare and therefore expensive when those copies are found and offered for sale.

8) Together in one collection, the three copies are hard to come by and, if you could find a collector willing to sell all three as a group, the cost would be very significant – well into 4 ($) figures.

9) Rarity  can be evidenced by looking for the big three magazines other editions before or after these Mustang editions on a well-known auction site, they are easy enough to find and go for very cheap prices considering their age. The Mustang editions on the other hand are not that easy to find nor are they cheap.

The magazine covers are very well-known especially the Time magazine and Newsweek editions, all these pictures are from my own collection.

These imagines are not for distribution or copying, no copyright infringement is intended. Where applicable the copyright remains with the owner of the works. I am using the images for fair use to show the editorial coverage of Ford’s historical Mustang launch from the World Trade Fair 1964. Under fair use I believe it’s in the interest of the new generations of Mustang owners and automotive historians to see where it all began. Without tracking down these rare, out of print and now expensive magazines, nobody would be able to appreciate the excitement the Mustang launch caused at the time, in my opinion that would be such a shame to loose such great editorial works. These images are to allow you to read the articles whilst considering their historical importance to the automotive world.

What is less known is what those articles actually said. I have taken a few pics of the Mustang articles, and a small sample of the adverts from each of the magazines of that long bygone era.

Time Magazine – April 17th 1964

The article:

Advertisements from Time Magazine;

The magazine still has the subscription card in place.

Life Magazine – April 17th 1964

The article:

Advertisements from Life Magazine;

Newsweek – April 20th 1964

The article:

Advertisements from Newsweek;

Pocket Guides

Something else just as rare as those editions but much less known which I didn’t know existed is the following pocket guides.

‘Visitor’s Guide to New York City & Long island’.

This little a5 pocket guide is full of vouchers and all sorts of tips for the City, subway map, travel information, services, entertainment and surrounding area.

I just love this little booklet as it’s a snapshot in time of New York in 1964.

The last booklet may have come with Newsweek I believe, other than that I have no idea of its origin;

‘What to wear at the fair and what to do when you get there’.

Another little pocket-sized booklet of only sixteen pages and another insight to the fashion of New York in 1964.

All these magazines and guides are just incredible, it amazes me that the paper has stood up to the ravages of time as these editions were disposable and not intended to be kept.

I hope this enables fellow enthusiasts to be able to read the magazine’s articles in full on the Mustang launch and to see just what all the fuss was about way back in 1964.

You see today’s magazines are also on-line and the world can see them pretty much anytime they want to, so those corresponding magazines are no so unique, apart from owning the physical copy of the paper article what ever it may be. Old comics are collectable because of the paper and limited runs, the paper was the only media type at the time to view them, at that time print was king. So some of the early magazines which were intended to be thrown away are collectable for the same reason. Tickets to events at the time or leaflets were not intended to be kept, and after a few years nobody had them. Move on fifty years, the paper or magazines has been used to start fires or wrapping up delicate items when moving home, so the existing copies become even more scarce. Old news papers are exactly the same idea, worth nothing on the day, try and get a back copy for somebody’s eighteenth birthday and you will have to dig deep to get it, if you can even get it. Off course not all magazines are collectable, which is a bit of a contradiction of what I was just saying I know. But the subject matter will be a key factor for such items will determine their collectability.  Articles, adverts, cigarette cards, stamps, postcards etc. for such big names like, Marilyn Monroe, JFK, Elvis, Henry Ford, Frank Sinatra, Babe Ruth, Abe Lincoln, George Washington, Dr. Martin Luther King, James Dean, Howard Hughes, Al Capone, Walt Disney, The Beatles, Winston Churchill etc. will command high prices because of who they were. It’s rare that a car can have such an impact on this type of collectable market, yet early Mustang adverts, literature, photo’s and so on can demand some good money. At the end of the day most memorabilia is only worth what somebody is willing to pay for it.

Now I have posted this article maybe I have just made people aware of the values for some of the these items and hang onto them, thus making it difficult for collectors like me trying to get a copy of it and if I do find a copy of the cost has just gone up knowing that I want it. I suspect not, as I just one man and his Mustang who likes to collect Mustang things.

So, have I just shot myself in the foot as we tend to say? 🙁

Share my Content

9 thoughts on “Paper Trail & Magazines

  1. Good read. Not being a huge Ford fan, I really didn’t realize the true impact that that first Mustang had on our culture. I always appreciated the car for its own sake. And of course, I knew that were it not for the Mustang and its continuous existence, there would likely be no modern muscle cars today, so no Dodges for me.

    But I really enjoyed your article and the perspective and education it gave me. Thanks so much for the great post. The magazines were just incredible. I feel lucky to be following your blog. Thanks again, and keep up the spirits until next spring. And keep making posts. 👍

    1. Thanks Tim, The Mustang may have started the Pony cars, but that rivalry produced some beautiful cars, such as the Charger, Plymouth roadrunner, Stingrays, Camaro SS I would love to have one of each. The continued muscle car wars still goes on today where I think the Hellcat just edges it at the moment.
      The little post was something I had in mind for a while whether I should do an article like that or not, I quite enjoyed it although information that far back is a little scarce. I will try and find things to post about I’m sure when the shows stop hopefully. I’m the lucky one to have readers and followers who found my little ol’ blog in the first place. So it’s a big thanks to you guys who make it all worth while with the likes and comments, I honestly appreciate it. 😃👍👍

  2. Haha well hey if you just shot yourself in the foot then you are a fine fellow, cos we ignorant masses did not know……thanks!!

Leave a Reply