Information / Buyers Guide / Price Guide
The Ford Mustang was introduced in 1964. The car was an instant success that set a new record for first year sales. One story talks about a truck driver drove right through a showroom window, staring and enchanted by the car.
The car was the brainchild of Lee Iaococca, who envisioned an inexpensive, sporty car for the masses. On April seventeenth, 1964 Ford unveiled the Mustang Convertible at the New York Worlds Fair. These cars and others with early production features are often referred to as 1964 1/2 model year, although all the cars that rolled off the assembly line through August carry 1965 Mustang designation and vin number's .
The car was also offered as a hardtop coupe, the fastback was available to the public five months later ( see our Photo Gallery for pictures ).
During the first five months of production, you could get a factory fresh hardtop equipped with a 170 cubic inch six cylinder engine for less than $2500 (1964). Later, Ford offered a 200 cubic inch six, or a 200 horse power 289 c.i. V8. Specialty Mustangs, such as the "K" Code or Shelby came with even more powerful V8 engines.
Transmission's offered for any 1965 - 1968 Mustang were three speed manual, four speed manual, or automatic with the latter being the most popular. The body sheet metal for 1965 and 1966 Mustangs are identical. The different years are distinguished by subtle trim changes.
1967 saw minor changes in the body (except for the Fastback that went form a partial to a full fastback). The engine compartment was three inches wider allowing for a big block V8. The tail light area above the bumper was concave, and the grill opening was larger ( see pictures of changes ). In 1968 cars Ford did not change the body except for minor trim changes, side marker lights and other government mandated safety features.
The 1969 Mustang received a makeover. The cars still had the long hood and short rear deck that was the trademark of its predecessors, but the sculpt was longer, wider and more aggressive. Specialty models were added to the lineup. The 69-70 Boss, Mach 1 Fastback, and Luxury Grande offered a variety of performance and dress up packages. Stylist changed the car in subsequent years, but the 64 1/2 through 70 Mustangs remain the most popular amongst collectors, and the years we are most often asked to locate.
There were over two million Mustangs sold between 1964 and 1970. Parts are easily obtainable. After market companies offer fenders, hoods, interior kits, mechanical parts and almost anything you might need.
Buying a Vintage Ford Mustang
The Mustang was originally offered by Ford with a variety of options. A discriminating buyer could outfit his car as anything from a stylish, well built transportation car to a nimble, high powered racer. Today's buyer has a choice of everything from a vintage Mustang coupe that can double as a second car (for about $12,000) to a rare, highly collectable '68 Cobra Jet with a 428 Ram Air engine. Your choice of a car will depend upon your budget and intended use.
early Mustangs are a good choice for a first collector car. There
are many informal car shows across the U.S
When considering a prospect the buyer should be wary of these items:
1. Originality ... has the car been unprofessionally modified in such a way that adversely effects handling or performance? Does the exterior color and interior trim duplicate 1960's factory offered combinations? Are aftermarket items added to the car period correct?
2. Mechanical Condition ... are all major components i.e. engine, transmission, drivetrain, front end, brakes serviceable? A car with components in need of work would not automatically disqualify it, but cost of repairs should be factored in to negotiated selling price.
3. Bodywork ... Has the car been in a severe accident & major body components such as torque boxes and undercarriage been straightened or incorrectly repaired ? What is the condition of door panels, fenders, quarter panels etc. ?
4. Rust ... Is there extensive rust on the car hidden by paint or heavy undercoating ?
Ford made these cars in California, New Jersey, and Michigan. You can determine point of origin and sale from the data plate code. Be judicious of cars not native to the South West US (dry climate). Many have had rust restoration. Undercarriage floor pans , wheel wells have been replaced. This does not rule a car out but check carefully for professional work . Most of the cars we find for clients are San Jose, California made cars. We have refused many 'snow state' cars due to improper floorpan repairs of evidence of rust.
These are 50 year old cars and all have had some body work and repair, but stay away from cars that have had extensive, poorly done repairs or are total rustbuckets !
Cars that have spent their lives in dry climates such as the American Southwest are usually structurally sound with minor or no undercarriage rust restoration. In 'snow state' cars check for rust or make sure repairs are clean and professional !
When buying a classic car from a private party or dealer the old adage"buyer beware" applies. We have seen cars with decent paintjobs and appearance, look good at first glance or in pictures but after a 20 minute inspection we came across major flaws and amateur restoration work . We quickly packed up and ran away . Sellers, including reputable dealers range from those naive and unfamiliar with their cars to the downright dishonest . If you are relatively new to this hobby get a second or third opinion from a knowledgeable source. On a 40+ year old car expect some flaws but avoid being stuck with a total dog !
Buying a Restored or Original Car ..... Understanding Condition !
The terms original and restored are often misused and can be misleading or confusing........
Original ... Proud owners might like to show off their cars and claim "it is all original". I am never sure what they mean. Does the car have the "original" paint applied at the Ford factory in 1965 ? Haven't the "original" spark plugs been changed in the past 40 years ?
Original means the very same part (i.e. engine block, fender, paint , seat fabric ) that came from the factory in the year the car was made, the components never been replaced, refurbished, rebuilt or painted.
Original versus Restored as original.... These are two different criteria. Original is described above. Restored as original means the car has been repainted in correct 1960's colors, seats recovered in the right color fabric and grain patterns. The mechanical components, suspension and drivetrain are "stock"... same as offered when the car was built.
Most 40 year old cars have had (at least) the paint and interior "restored as original" (new paint /fabric). Many of the mechanical components (starters, valves, transmissions) wear out and can be replaced with new or rebuilt parts that that are identical to 40 year old components. They have no wear and tear and work as new. If the part has been replaced or painted and the work duplicates the look, color, or operation of the factory made part, it is "restored as original".
A tired "original" car with faded paint, pitting on the chrome, in need of work is not inherently more valuable than one that has been restored as original with all shiny paint, working components. The exception to this rule is the fabled low mileage car that has been sitting in Grandfathers dry, climate controlled, pest free barn since he lost his spectacles in 1968. The car is cosmetically very presentable ( #2 condition) and and all components are original "Ford Factory Made" in excellent working order , just needs a new battery and drive it away .
Restored... You will often hear someone point to a classic car and ask with enthusiasm "is it restored" ? Strictly speaking, a restored car is an excellent #1 condition showcar. Practically every mechanical part on the car has been restored as original ..... replaced with a freshly manufactured aftermarket part (or NOS new old stock part), or repaired to factory new tolerances. Cosmetically, components have been replaced / repainted / rechromed / reupholstered, including metal, interior panels and hardware, seat covers and carpet, ......or the car has been sitting in the Twilight Zone.
... Collector cars are judged on a one to five scale :
#2 and #3 condition cars are presentable "drivers" showing wear . They are a combination of "restored as original" and good, presentable, operable original components . Most collector cars are #2 and #3 condition.
A #4 car needs major restoration to be presentable and functional. A #5 is wrecked, rusted, and incomplete, often only good for parts.
Showcar or show quality... Strictly speaking, a national class "councours" showcar is a #1 or strong #2 condition car with every part excellent original or restored as original, i.e. down to the factory decal that tells you how to operate the jack. These cars compete with other cars of the same model i.e. Mustang vs. Mustang and are rarely driven. After being on the road for more than a short distance , they are professionally cleaned inside and out, and put back into storage.
Informal "showcars" are very presentable with few obvious flaws to the casual observer. The cars are driven on a regular basis. They might have wear comparable to what you would find on a 8 year old "new" car, i.e. small parking lot door dents , carpet showing some wear or soil, etc. They might compete in informal local shows and judged alongside a variety of other makes and models. These are #2 to #3 condition cars .
Old car....21st Century Drivetrain ?
We are often asked about finding a 1960's car with new, carefree 21st century designed mechanical components. Since aftermarket ( new or reconditioned ) replacement parts from engines to doorhandles are widely available, there is little reason to make a 21st century designed part fit and work on a vintage Mustang. What they are really after is a reliable #2 condition car .
The exception to this rule are the breed of enthusiast who are into hotrodding or making resto-mod (restored and modified ) cars. Complete kits are available for modern upgrades such as rack and pinion steering, 4 wheel disk brakes and engine performance packages. Modifications and installation are best left to knowledgeable gearheads.
The condition / price guides below indicate realistic prices for vintage Mustangs.
Putting a price tag on a collector car varies with who is doing the pricing !
We often see ads for cars with outrageous high price tags, and a note that "the car was recently appraised for something thousand dollars". I would like to know who is doing the appraising. Was it done by a professional who is familiar with the particular make and model, and in touch with current market price's ? Or was it done by Uncle George who sells Winston Tires and saw a couple of Mustangs pass through the Barrett Jackson auction block on T.V. last weekend ?
Cars needing work ( i.e. several mechanical components worn or paint / interior and trim marginal ) are often overvalued by sellers. To its owner, a car with a tear in the drivers seat may need "just a small seam repaired", but to a discerning buyer the interior will show wear that calls for replacement of the seatcovers, doorpanels, and carpet .
Low priced "project cars" needing work seem like a bargain, but a zealous buyer could spend more on restoration than the finished car is worth. Project cars require a through inspection to determine the cost of cosmetic or mechanical repairs needed to bring them up to #3 or #2 condition . A low mileage car in and of itself does not raise value, what is more important is the condition of the car.
Highly optioned cars will run towards the top or exceed these ranges i.e. strong #2 condition convertible, excellent cosmetics, strong drivetrain, center console, rally package, styled steel wheels, power top or other mix of extra's will sell for $32,000 on up. For examples of some of these cars and options, see our Photo Gallery .
The following price guide is for Coupes, Convertibles and Fastbacks with standard interior, "C" code 289 V8 engine and automatic transmission. A buyer might pay more or less depending on options or documentation of major repairs .
Price Guide for Basic
V8 engine, automatic transmission, power steering
|#3 Condition||#2 Condition|
|Fastback 67-68||$30,500 - $32,500
||$33,500 - $38,500
1969 -1972 Deduct Apprx. 25%
- Front disk brakes---Fog Lights
Guides do not include specialty
cars such as Shelby's, Mach 1, and Boss models.
Please contact us for info and priceing on these highly collectable Muscle Mustangs.
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