Sell a Classic Car is the best place to sell my Classic Ford Mustang 1969-73. The first-generation Ford Mustang was manufactured by Ford from March 1964 until 1973. The Mustang created a new class of automobile known as the pony car. The Mustang’s styling, with long hood and short deck was extremely popular and inspiring a slewof imitators. There was a hardtop and convertible with the fastback version put on sale in August 1964.
The Mustang, like the Falcon, was a compact car. Each Mustang produced saw an increase in dimensions and in engine power. The 1971 model saw a revolutionary redesign to its predecessors. After an initial surge, sales were steadily declining, as Ford began working on a new generation Mustang. Due to the 1973 oil crisis, Ford designed the smaller Mustang II for the 1974 model year. This new car had no common components with preceding models.
Donald N. Frey was the head engineer for the Mustang project. It took him only 18 months from September 1962 to March 1964 to complete.
Lee Iacocca, chied designer, ordered development of a new “small car” to vice-president of design at Ford, Eugene Bordinat.
Bordinat asked Ford’s three design studios (Ford, Lincoln-Mercury, and Advanced Design) to create proposals for the new vehicle
The design teams had been given five goals for the design of the Mustang: It would seat four, have bucket seats and a floor mounted shifter, weigh no more than 2,500 pounds (1,100 kg) and be no more than 180 inches (4,572 mm) in length, sell for less than $2,500, and have multiple power, comfort, and luxury options.
The Lincoln–Mercury design studio ultimately produced the winning design under Project Design Chief Joe Oros and his team of L. David Ash, Gale Halderman, and John Foster.
They basically wanted a car to appeal to women and men and wanted it to be as sportya s possible
- David Ash is often credited with the actual styling of the Mustang.
Lacocca is really known to have been the conceiver of the car and Oros and Ash were responsible together for creating the design along with the Industrial Designers’ society which included a wide team of designers.
To cut down costs the Mustang used chassis, suspension, and drivetrain components derived from the Ford Falcon and Fairlane.
It used :
- A unitized platform-type frame from the 1964 Falcon
- A welded box-section side rails
- Welded crossmembers.
Although hardtop Mustangs accounted for the highest sales, durability problems with the new frame led to the engineering of a convertible first, which ensured adequate stiffness.
Overall length of the Mustang and Falcon was identical, although the Mustang’s wheelbase was slightly shorter.
With an overall width of 68.2 in (1,732 mm), it was 2.4 in (61 mm) narrower, yet the wheel track was nearly identical. Shipping weight, approximately 2,570 lb (1,166 kg) with the straight six-cylinder engine, was also similar to the Falcon.
It had a fully equipped V8 model weighed approximately 3,000 lb .
Most of the mechanical parts were from the Falcon however the Mustang’s body was completely different
- A shorter wheelbase,
- Wider track,
- Lower seating position
- Lower height.
The “torque box” was a structural system that strengthened the Mustang’s construction and contributed to better handling.
Gale Haldeman spoke of the incredible design of the car in his interview, stating:
“Everybody just loved it, even the engineers, though we must have bent 75 in-house engineering and manufacturing rules. The Mustang had the first floating bumpers. The whole front end was a die-casting with a floating hood. There was so much enthusiasm right from the beginning. Even the drivers at the test track loved it.”
Oros originated the idea of the fastback too and this and was designed in Charlie Phaneuf’s studio.
An additional 4-door model was designed by Dave Ash as a clay model, but was never construcyed or produced.
March 1964–July 1966
Since it was introduced five months before the normal start of the 1965 production year and manufactured alongside 1964 Ford Falcons and 1964 Mercury Comets, the earliest Mustangs are widely referred to as the 1964½ model.
However all were given 1965 U.S. federal VINs at the time of production, and – – were marketed by Ford as 1965 models.
The low-end model hardtop used a “U-code” 170 cu in (2.8 L) straight-6 engine borrowed from the Falcon, as well as a three-speed manual transmission.
It retailed for US$2,368.
Standard equipment included:
- Black front seat belts
- A glove box light,
- A padded dash board.
Official introduction of the car occurred at the 1964 World’s Fair.
The engine lineup was changed in 1965, with a 200 cu in (3.3 L) “T-code” engine that produced 120 hp (89 kW; 122 PS). Production of the “F-code” 260 cu in (4.3 L) engine ceased when the 1964 model year ended.
It was replaced with a new 200 hp (150 kW) “C-code” 289 cu in (4.7 L) engine with a two-barrel carburetor as the base V8. An “A-code” 225 hp (168 kW; 228 PS) four-barrel carbureted version was next in line, followed by the unchanged “Hi-Po” “K-code” 271 hp (202 kW; 275 PS) 289.
The DC electrical generator was replaced by a new AC alternator on all Fords (a way to distinguish a 1964 from a 1965 is to see if the alternator light on the dash says “GEN” or “ALT”).
The GT version was introduced as the “GT Equipment Package” and included a :
- V8 engine
- grille-mounted fog lamps,
- rocker panel stripes,
- disc brakes
The interior of the GT had a new instrument panel that consisted of:
- a speedometer,
- fuel gauge
- temp. gauge
- oil pressure gauge and
- ammeter in five round dials
A four-barrel carbureted engine was now available with any body style. Additionally, reverse lights were an option added to the car from August 1964 production.
The Mustang was originally available as either a hardtop or convertible, but during the car’s early design phases a fastback model was strongly considered.
In 1965, the Shelby Mustang was born.
It was available only in newly introduced fastback body version with its swept-back rear glass and distinctive ventilation louvers.
The 1965 Mustang standard equipment included:
- Adjustable driver and passenger bucket seats
- AM radio, and
- Floor mounted shifter in a variety of color options.
Ford added additional interior options during the 1965.
The Interior Decor Group was popularly known as “Pony Interior” because of the addition of embossed running ponies on the seat fronts.
- Integral armrests
- Woodgrain appliqué accents,
- A round gauge cluster that would replace the standard Falcon instrumentation.
Also available were:
- sun visors,
- mechanical remote-operated mirror
- floor console,
- bench seat.
Later Mustang offered:
- An under-dash air-conditioning unit,
- Discontinued the vinyl with cloth insert seat option
One option designed strictly for fun was the Rally-Pac which was introduced in 1963. It was a combination clock and tachometer mounted to the steering column.
It was available as a factory order for US$69.30, installation for US$75.95.
A 14″ rim option was available for Rally-pac and GT350R vehicles widening front and rear track to 57.5″.
Reproductions are presently available from any number of Mustang restoration parts sources .Also optional were a compass, rear seat belts, A/C, and back-up lights.
Many people were however unhappy about leg room although Fuel economy was very good with a published test by Popular Mechanics rating the small 260 cubic inch V8 with automatic transmission at 20.93 mpg at 60 mph.
The 1966 Mustang debuted with trim changes including:
- new grille
- side ornamentation,
- wheel covers and gas cap.
Also Ford’s new C-4 “cruise-o-matic” three-speed auto transmission became available for the 225 hp V8. The 289 “HiPo” K-code engine was also offered with a c4 transmission, but it had stronger internals and can be identified by the outer casing of the servo which is marked with a ‘C’.
The long duration solid-lifter camshaft that allowed the high revving 289 to make the horsepower it was known for, was not friendly for a low stall speed automatic torque converter. The “HiPo” could be spotted very easily by the 1-inch-thick (25 mm) vibration damper, (as compared to 1/2 inch on the 225-hp version) and the absence of a vacuum advance unit on the dual point distributor. With the valve covers off, there is a large letter “K” stamped between the valve springs, along with screw in studs (vs. a pressed in stud for other 289s) for the adjustable rocker arms.
There was also a large number of new paint and interior color options plus:
- An AM/eight-track sound system
- One of the first AM/FM mono automobile radios
It a removed the Falcon instrument cluster; the previously optional features, including the round gauges and padded sun visors which all became standard equipment.
The Mustang would be the best-selling convertible in 1966 with 72,119 sold.
Differences between 1965 Mustang and 1966 Mustang
They are differentiated by variations in the exterior, despite similar design.
These variations include;
The emblem on the quarter-panels behind the doors was a single vertical piece of chrome, while for 1966 models the emblem was smaller in height.
The front intake grilles and ornaments were also different, The 1965 front grille used a “honeycomb” pattern, while the 1966 version was a “slotted” style.
Both model years used the “Horse and Corral” emblem on the grille, the 1965 had four bars extending from each side of the corral, while on the 1966, these bars were removed.
The 1966 model year saw introduction of ‘High Country Special’ limited edition, 333 of them were sold in Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska.
The Mustang in Germany
Unfortunately for Ford the Krupp company in Germany had already registered the name for a truck. They would have sold the rights for US$10,000.
Ford refused and removed Mustang badges from exported units, naming the cars as T-5 for the German market until 1979 when Krupp copyrights expired.
1965 Mustang AWD prototype
In 1965, Harry Ferguson Research purchased 3 Mustang notchbacks and converted them to 4×4 in an attempt to sell potential clients on their FF AWD system.
1967 was the first year that the Mustang was redesigned.
Ford’s designers began drawing up a larger version even as the original was achieving sales success, and Iacocca oversaw the redesign for 1967.
The major re-designs
The major re-designs and restructures include:
- The installation of a big-block V8 engine
- Size interior and cargo space were increased.
Exterior Trim Changes
On the 1967 model these included:
- Concave taillights
- Side scoop (1967 model) and chrome (1968 model) side ornamentation
- Square rear-view mirrors,
- Yearly wheel and gas cap changes.
The 289 option was placed behind the newer 335 hp 390 cu engine from the Ford Thunderbird, which was equipped with a four-barrel carburetor.
A 390 GT engine, and a 4-speed manual transmission recorded quarter mile times of approximately 13 seconds and trap speeds of over 105 mph.
During the mid-1968 model year, a drag racer for the street could be ordered with the optional 428 cu in (7.0 L) Cobra Jet engine which was officially rated at 335 hp (250 kW; 340 PS) all of these Mustangs were issued R codes on their VIN’s.
The interior was re-designed continuing with the embossed running horse and a new interior package including:
- special color options
- brushed aluminum (from 8/1966 production) or woodgrain dash trim
- seat buttons
- special door panels.
The hardtop also included upholstered quarter trim panels, a carryover from the 65-66 deluxe interior.
The 67 hardtop also had:
- The chrome quarter trim caps
- Was painted to match the interior in 1968 models.
The interior included:
- Stainless steel-trimmed seat back shells
These were not included in the woodgrain-trimmed 1968 interior.
The deluxe steering wheel, became optional, and could also be ordered with the standard interior.
The models that were produced from January 1968 were also the first model to incorporate 3 point lap and shoulder belts (which had previously been optional, in 67-68 models) as opposed to the standard lap belts.
Other improvements included:
- The air-conditioning fully integrated into the dash
- The speakers and stereo were upgraded
- Unique center and overhead consoles
The fastback model offered:
- A rear fold-down seat
The convertible was available with folding glass windows.
The new instrument cluster had provisions for an optional tachometer and clock.
Additional features included:
- four warning lights for low fuel
- seat belt reminder
- parking brake not released
- door ajar were added to the instrument panel,
If one ordered the optional console and A/C, the lights were mounted on the console.
Increased safety was an issue at this time so this meant changes such as:
- A two-spoke energy-absorbing steering wheel
- Newly introduced shoulder belts.
- Other changes included;
- Front and rear side markers
- “FORD” lettering removed from hood
- rearview mirror moved from frame to windshield,
- A 302 cu in (4.9 L) V8 engine was now available,
- C-Stripe graphics were added.
The GT/CS, was based on the Shelby model and was only sold in Western states.
It’s sister, the ‘High Country Special’, was sold in Denver, Colorado.
While the GT/CS was only available as a coupe, the ‘High Country Special’ model was available in fastback and convertible configurations during the 1966 and 1967 model years, and as a coupe for 1968.
The 1968 Ford Mustang GT Fastback reached iconic status after it was featured in the 1968 film Bullitt, starring Steve McQueen.
McQueen drove a modified 1968 Mustang GT 2+2 Fastback. Two vehicles were used in the filming of the movie. One is still in existence today.
The 1969 model added more heft to the body with body length extended by 3.8 inches (97 mm) (the wheelbase remaining at 108 inches), width increased by almost half an inch, and the Mustang’s weight increased.
1969 design changes included:
- Quad headlamps placed both inside and outside the grille opening.
- Corralled grille pony was replaced with the pony and tribars logo,
- The car was longer than previous models
- Convex rather than concave side panels.
The fastback body version was renamed Sportsroof, styled as SportsRoof in Ford’s literature.
The 1969 Mach 1
1969 saw the introduction of the Mach 1. It had powerplants options and many new styling and performance features.
- Distinctive reflective striping was placed along the body sides
- a pop-open gas cap
- dual exhausts
- matte-black hood with
- simulated air scoop and NASCAR-style cable and pin tiedowns
- Steel wheels
- Bold-lettered Goodyear Polyglas tires
- A functional “shaker” hood scoop –
- Tail-mounted wing and chin spoilers
- Rear window louvered blackout shade.
The Mach 1 Interior
Obviously the interior was deluxe with:
Simulated wood trim
High backed seats
Extra sound deadening,
Remote sports mirrors and other comforts.
The Mach 1 proved very popular with 72,458 cars sold in 1969.
The Boss 302 was created to meet Trans Am rules and featured distinctive hockey-stick stripes, while the understated Boss 429 was created to homologate the Boss 429 engine (based on the new Ford 385 series engine) for NASCAR use.
The two Boss models received fame on the track and street and to this day they still demand premium pricing for their pedigree. 1628 Boss 302’s and 859 Boss 429’s were sold through 1969- making these vehicles somewhat rare.
A new “luxury” model became available starting for 1969, available in only the hardtop body style. The ‘Grande’ featured a soft ride, 55 pounds (24.9 kg) of extra sound deadening, as well as deluxe interior with simulated wood trim.
22182 units sold through 1969.
1969 Mustang E
The 1969 Mustang E was offered for those desiring high mpg. It was rare only about 50 produced.
It came with:
- A six-cylinder engine
- A high stall torque converter for the standard automatic transmission
- A very low, 2.33:1 rear axle ratio.
It also had Mustang E lettering on the rear quarters and the special Mustang EAir conditioning was not available on the ‘E’ model.
Due to poor sales The Mustang GT was discontinued in 1969. The new Mach 1 outshined it with only 5396 GT models sold that year.
A new 250 cu in (4.1 L) Thriftpower I6 engine with 155 hp (116 kW; 157 PS) filled the gap between the existing 200 cu in (3.3 L) Thriftpower I6 and the V8 engine line-up.
Although 1969 continued with many of the same basic V8 engines available on 1968 models
There was a now revised 302 cu in (4.9 L) Windsor engine with 220 hp (164 kW; 223 PS), and the recently launched 428 cu in (7.0 L) Cobra Jet engine (with or without Ram-Air) with an advertised 335 hp (250 kW; 340 PS)
Variety of Options and changes
A variety of revised options and changes were introduced to keep the Mustang fresh.
- A new performance V8 available in 250 hp (186 kW; 253 PS) or 290 hp
The 428 cu in (7.0 L) Cobra Jet engine continued unchanged in the 1969 and 1970 model years and continued to be advertised at just 335 hp (250 kW; 340 PS) despite being closer to 410 hp (306 kW; 416 PS).
Cobra Jet Mustang
However, whenever a V or W axle was ordered (3.90 or 4.30 locking ratio) on any Cobra Jet Mustang, this kicked in various engine improvements which were designed to make the engine more reliable on the strip.
These improvements included:
- An engine oil cooler
- Stronger crankshaft and conrods
- Improved engine balancing
It was called the ‘Super Cobra Jet’.
On the order form, these improvements were later referred to as ‘Drag Pack’.
1969 Shelby Mustang
The 1969 Shelby Mustang was now under Ford’s control.
The custom styling included:
- A fiberglass front end with a combination loop bumper/grille
- Five air intakes on the hood.
Two models were available, GT-350 and GT-500 in both sportsroof or convertible versions.
All 1969–1970 Shelby Mustangs were produced in 1969.
However sales dwindled and so the 789 remaining 1969 cars were given new serial numbers and titled as 1970 models.
They had modified front air dam and a blackout paint treatment around the hood scoops.
The 1970 model year Mustangs were restyled to be less aggressive.
This meant a return to single headlamps
It’s worth noting though that 1969 model year sales exceeded those of 1970.
The rear fender air scoops were removed and the taillight panel was now flat instead of concave as seen on 1969 models. The interior options remained unchanged.
Though some early 1970 mustangs, built in 1969, had the 351W. The 351C 4V (M code) engine featured 11.0:1 compression and produced 300 bhp (224 kW; 304 PS) at 5400 rpm.
This new performance engine incorporated elements learned from the Ford 385 series engine and the Boss 302, particularly the poly-angle combustion chambers with canted valves and the thin-wall casting technology.
Ford made 96 ‘Mustang Twister Special’ cars for Kansas Ford dealers in late 1969. The Twister Specials were Grabber Orange Mach 1s with special decals. Ford also made a few ‘Sidewinders’, which were built in Dearborn, shipped to Omaha, and sold in Iowa and Nebraska. They were available in Grabber Green, Grabber Blue, Calypso Corral, and Yellow. The stripes came in the trunk to be installed by dealers
The 1971 Mustang – introduced in September 1970 – was green-lighted by Ford’s new president, Semon “Bunkie” Knudsen, formerly of General Motors.
Again, the revised model grew in size, gaining 3 inches in width in order to accommodate Ford’s big block 429 cu in (7.0 L) V8.
As before there were three body styles offered:
- Hardtop (available in base or Grande trim)
- Sportsroof (available in base or Mach 1 trim),
- Convertible (no specific trim packages available).
The new 1971 hardtop featured:
- A prominent “tunnelback” rear window design
- Flowing rear pillars
Hardtops with ‘Grande’ trim also had a:
- Vinyl roof
- Grande badges on the C-pillars.
The Spring Special
An additional edition, the Spring Special, was available between March and May 1971 which added Mach 1 styling cues.
- side stripes
- tu-tone paint
- urethane bumper
- honeycomb grill with sportlamps
Sportsroof models were available in base configurations in addition to the Mach 1 and Boss 351 sport/performance options.
The Mach 1
The Mach 1s were available with:
- two-tone paint schemes
- optional hockey-stick stripes,
- NACA (NASA)
- hood scoops (functional on examples ordered with Ram Air),
- color keyed side mirrors
All Mach 1 models came stock with urethane front bumpers and an alternate grille equipped with amber sportlights.
Though the Mach 1 is often associated with the NACA hood (a no-cost option) and other styling cues, base Mach 1s could be had with the standard hood and the 302 2V engine.
Boss 351 examples were similar in appearance to the Mach 1, and included:
- A larger black-out hood than Mach 1’s
- front and rear spoilers
- dual exhaust with no rear valance cutouts,
- Chrome bumpers paired with the sportlamp grille.
Convertibles were equipped with a power top and a glass rear window.
The 1973 models were the last Mustangs available as a convertible until 1982- the ’83 model year. Convertibles featured no unique exterior visual package of their own during their first year of introduction.
Due to tightening emissions regulations, the Boss 351 edition and optional 429 big block were dropped after 1971, leaving the 351 cu in (5.8 L) variants as the largest available engines for 1972 (and 1973).
All 1972 models were revised with “Fasten Seat Belt” warning lamps on the right side dash panel. The “Decor Group” exterior trim package was also revised, allowing coupe and convertible owners to option their car with tu-tone lower body paint, plus the honeycomb sportlamp grille from the Mach 1/Boss 351 and the Mach 1’s urethane bumper.
A commemorative Olympic Sprint Edition (also available on the Pinto and Maverick) was released between March and June of this year.
Sprint editions were available in Hardtop and Sportsroof variants, and featured white paint schemes with light blue accents and USA shield decals on the rear quarter panels. An additional 50 Sprint convertibles were produced exclusively for the 1972 National Cherry Blossom Parade in Washington D.C.
1972 saw the end of the special Ford muscle car performance engine era. At mid-year, Ford offered a slightly detuned Boss 351 engine, which could be ordered with any model.
Only 398 Mustangs were built with the drag race oriented R code motor and was designated as the 351 HO. Mandatory options were the top loader 4 speed, competition N case rear end (427, 428, 429, Boss 351, 351HO), and air conditioning delete.
Vacuum operated Ram Air was not available, however the HO came with the first full time cold air induction system in a Mustang, routing cold air via a 2 piece plastic duct under the battery tray to the air cleaner snorkel. All 351 HO cars were manufactured in Dearborn, MI.
1973 brought some mild restyling which included:
- The urethane front bumper became standard,
- sportlamps re-purposed as turn signals,
- These new lamps were now oriented vertically.
Both a Mach 1 and base grille were offered, with differing insert patterns.
Mach 1 decals were also revised in 1972 for 1973 models, and the previous hockey stick side stripes of 1971–1972 models became an option on hardtops and convertibles with the addition of the ‘Exterior Decor Group’. Magnum 500 wheels, previously optional, were superseded by forged aluminum 5-hole wheels.
The 1973 model year Mustang was the final version of the original pony car.
A small number of Mexican-produced cars were manufactured with the ‘GT-351’ trim package, under license by Shelby de Mexico. Additionally, 14 Shelby Europa vehicles were modified and decaled by Belgian Shelby dealer Claude Dubois for European clientele.
Automakers in the U.S. switched from gross to net power and torque ratings in 1972 (coinciding with the introduction of low-compression engines); thus, it is difficult to compare power and torque ratings between 1971 and 1972
In 1964 Mustang production started with 22,000 orders taken on the first day at the World’s Fair and around the country. In the first two years of production, three Ford Motor Company plants in Milpitas, California; Dearborn, Michigan; and Metuchen, New Jersey produced almost 1.3 million Mustangs.
Mustang success left General Motors unprepared.
Chrysler introduced the Plymouth Barracuda a few weeks before the Mustang, and although it was later redesigned as a distinct “pony car”, it was initially a modified Plymouth Valiant.
General Motors executives thought the rear-engined Chevrolet Corvair Monza would compete against the Mustang, but it also sold poorly by comparison
The Monza performed well, but lacked a V8 engine and had a reputation for being unsafe
It took GM until the 1967 model year to counter with the Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird.
Lincoln-Mercury joined the competition in 1966 with the Mercury Cougar, an “upmarket Mustang” and subsequent Motor Trend Car of the Year.
In 1967 AMC introduced the Javelin, an “image changing” four-place pony car.
In 1969, the Dodge Challenger, a version of the Plymouth Barracuda platform, was last to join the pony car race.
If you’re looking to sell my Classic Ford Mustang 1969-73, please contact Sell a Classic car at (310) 399-3990.