Ford Mustang 1968 Shelby GT-500KR, 1967 GT Fastback, 1966 Coupe, Shelby GT-350
What is your favorite Mustang?
The Mustang is undoubtedly one of the all-time classic motor cars and has earned a special place in automobile history standing alone for the influence and impact it has had on the marketplace. Made available with a wide array of “options”, it could be an economical six-cylinder runabout, or a highly competitive performer on the track, it could be a luxury compact or a high specification mile-eater in the true GT tradition. Today the most famous of all ponycars, the Mustang has become highly prized by collectors and its long-term survival looks assured. This guide celebrates nine Mustangs from 1964 – 1968.
1964½ Mustang Convertible
From the moment of its April 17 1964 introduction at the New York Worlds fair, the Mustang became a standard by which American cars would be judged forever. In the years that followed, sales records were broken and awards for design were given, the Mustang changing the face of the entire automobile industry. By tradition 1964 models normally appeared in September 1963 but as the Mustang was launched mid-year in April, the early cars are referred to as ’64 1/2s. Total 1964 Mustang production was 121,538 vehicles.
1965 Mustang Coupe
Whichever way you look at it, the ’65 Coupe looks more expensive than its original stocker price would have us believe and perhaps this is why it was the hottest selling model of the entire range. When the sixteen moth 1965 model year ended, the Mustang had sold just shy of 681,000 units and the pony-car phenomenon was well and truly underway.
1965 Mustang Fastback
Badged the 2+2, the ’65 Fastback hit the market with a base sticker price of $2,589, although there were enough options to push the price up to nearly $4,000. The 200cid six engine was made standard at the time and cranking out 120 horsepower it gave the 2589lb Mustang a respectable level of performance. Most buyers however chose the optional 289cid V8. In standard form, with two-barrel carburettor, 200bhp was offered, but 225bhp (four barrel) and 271bhp (Hi-Performance) were also available.
1966 Mustang GT Convertible
Reluctant to tamper with success, Ford altered the ’66 Mustangs only slightly. Exterior changes were limited to a new horizontal-bar grille and a restyled gas cap, while all but the GT, 2+2 and luxury models got a new side scallop with three wind splits. The GT equipment group required a V8 and included fog lamps, front disc brakes, dual exhausts, handling package and GT racing stripes on the sides.
1966 Shelby Mustang GT-350
Having created a car with mass appeal, Ford wanted a performance option for the Mustang and for that they turned to the creator of the AC Cobra, Carroll Shelby, who turned the fastback V8 variant of the first Mustang into the fast and rugged Shelby GT-350.
1966 Mustang Coupe
Sales for 1966 could not match 1965 because of the longer 1965 model year, but taking a comparable 12-month period, 1966 sales were actually 50,000 higher. For 1966 Ford picked up close to half a million hardtop sales along with 70,000 convertibles and 35,000 fastbacks.
1967 Mustang GT Fastback
Ford knew Chevrolet were developing its own ponycar for ’67, so the Mustang received more extensive changes than it might otherwise have. Styling alterations were obvious yet the flavour of the original was retained. Most noticeable was the larger and more prominent grille and taller separate-element taillights. Setting the headlines though, was the new 390cid four-barrel Thunderbird Special V8 engine option. Rated at 320bhp it offered outstanding acceleration with 0-60mph figures around 7.5 seconds and the standing quarter in 15.5 seconds.
1968 Shelby Mustang GT-500KR
The ’68 Shelby GT-500KR replaced the GT-500 at mid-year, KR of course stood for “King of the Road”. The difference was that a more powerful 428cid Cobra Jet V8 replaced the standard 428. Conservatively rated at 335 horsepower, it actually pumped out about 400 horses. The GT-500KR was considerably quicker than the GT-500 despite the fact that transmissions and rear end ratios were the same. Tested at the time by a leading car magazine the “King of the Road” turned in the quarter-mile in 14 seconds at 102.7mph (Fastback with manual shift).
1968 ½ Mustang GT/CS
One of the more interesting Mustang offerings in 1968 was the GT/CS. The CS stood for Californian Special and this limited edition model borrowed much of its looks from the mean Shelby GT-350/500s. Features included unique side-striping and side air vents, rear spolier and Shelby-style taillights. A’68 GT/CS could have any engine available in ’68 Mustangs, including the six-cylinder. An estimated 5,000 Californian Specials were produced, and these are avidly sought by collectors today.