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Ford Mustang: Buying guide and review (1964-1973)

Ford Mustang: Buying guide and review (1964-1973) Classic and Performance Car
Ford Mustang Convertible Ford Mustang Convertible Ford Mustang Convertible Ford Mustang Convertible Ford Mustang Convertible interior Ford Mustang fastback Ford Mustang fastback
Mention the name Ford Mustang anywhere in the world, and it will conjure up images of Bald Eagles, stars and stripes and cheeseburgers. This is quite possibly the most American car ever produced. For many it’s the appeal of running a Mustang outside of the USA, proving a taste of American culture at what is still a hugely reasonable price. 
 
There are plenty of iconic American cars, but if you want one with real presence and plenty of power, it’s the ‘Stang that ticks most of the right boxes. While this year it’s actually possible to officially buy a new Mustang in right-hand drive form in the UK – a first for the model – but it’s the original that we’re talking about here. 
 
For many, the introduction of the Mustang in the UK has re-kindled an interest in the classic models, even though not originally sold here, in particular the first-generation cars. Built between 1964 and 1973, the original Pony car has a huge following around the world. While you might think buying one in the USA is your only option, there are many Mustangs on offer in the UK, and the great thing is they’re actually still rather affordable. 
 
When it went on sale in 1964, the Ford Mustang became the fastest-selling car in history. In its first year, a whopping 418,812 found buyers and by the end of the second year, a million had been sold. There was a huge range of options and engines available – no two Mustangs needed to be the same, and the car could be all things to all people – a shopping hack, a sports car or something flash for the weekend if the drop-top option was chosen. 
 

Which Ford Mustang to buy?

 
For the faint-hearted there were straight-sixes, in 170ci (2.7-litre) and 200ci (3.27-litre) flavours. Anyone with a stronger constitution could opt for a V8 – if a 260ci (4.2-litre) unit was too tame it was possible to buy a 289ci (4.7-litre) engine instead, with either two-barrel or four-barrel carbs. True power junkies opted for the Hi-Po 289 (known as the K-Code option), which was a 271bhp 4.7-litre V8 – or the iconic (and now hugely collectable) Shelby GT350 from 1965. 
 
American cars are generally unsuited to UK roads as they’re so big – not so the Mustang. It’s just compact enough for British roads, you can get the parts and they’re easy to work on. Throw in a huge choice of engine choices and other options and there’s a spec for everyone. Although buying one shouldn’t be too fraught with problems, knowing what to pay and what’s worth buying is a minefield. Engine, options fitted and bodystyle are all important in deciding whether a basket case is worth restoring or fit for parts only. 
 
The least valuable Mustang is the coupé, with the fastback in the middle and the convertible easily the most valuable. Similarly, six-cylinder cars are worth less than those packing a V8; K-Code cars are the most valuable of the bunch. 
 
It’s just as well owners of six-cylinder cars aren’t generally in a hurry, as uprating these engines is pretty much impossible. The inlet manifold was cast as part of the cylinder head so carb swaps are out of the question.
 
V8 conversions on six-cylinder cars are fine if everything is done properly. That means the brakes must be uprated, which isn’t a small job as the hubs must be changed in the process. On top of this, the springs and dampers have to be uprated as the V8 weighs more than the six, but kits are available. 
 

Performance and specs

 
Ford Mustang V8 289
Engine 4735cc, V8 
Power 225bhp @ 4800rpm
Torque 305lb ft @ 3200rpm
Top speed 111mph
0-60mph 8.0sec
Fuel consumption 18mpg
Gearbox Three-speed manual, optional four-speed manual/three-speed auto
 

Dimensions and weight

 
Wheelbase 2743mm
Length 4613mm
Width 1732mm
Height 1298mm
Kerb weight 1162kg
 

Common problems

 
• Poorly repaired accident damage is common; look for misaligned bumpers and panels, although the factory panel fit was never that great. 
 
• Expect rust in the sills (even though they were galvanised), floorpans (especially the driver’s footwell), bulkhead plus the front and rear valances. Cars from dry states are ideal, but even a few years in the UK can lead to corrosion.
 
• Engines last forever if looked after – check for leaks, blown gaskets, thick black oil and signs of neglect. The fact they are so robust often leads to a lack of maintenance. 
 
• Six-cylinder engines last at least 150,000 miles – considerably more if looked after. Six-pot buyers tend to be less worried about performance, so such examples are unlikely to have been thrashed. 
 
• The V8s last pretty much indefinitely if not too highly tuned, then thrashed. If the engine has been modified, ask for receipts and see who has done the work. 
 
• V8s overheat because of poor maintenance and the under-sized radiator. Removal of the radiator fan shroud, a leaking water pump and the fitment of tubular exhaust manifolds are other reasons. Springs were put in the coolant hoses to stop them kinking; they corrode with predictable results. 
 
• The three-speed manual transmission is the weakest of the lot while the three-speed auto is the most common. None of the transmissions is quiet, but a transmission in its death throes will be vocal. The manual transmissions are all interchangeable. 
 
• Clutches are mechanically actuated (rather than via hydraulics or cable) – they’re strong and cheap to replace. 
 
• The power steering gives zero feel; the GT got a quicker box but no power assistance. If power steering is fitted, check for pump leaks and a worn steering box. 
 

Model history 

 
1964: Mustang launched in April as a 1965 model and subsequently known as 1964 1/2 model. A three-speed manual gearbox is standard, optional are a three-speed auto or four-speed manual. From September there’s a fastback with optional disc front brakes. 
1965: GT is introduced, with five-dial instrumentation, uprated engine, front disc brakes, twin exhausts, GT decals and fog lights. Pony interior first offered (with embossed ponies charging across the seats), in place of standard vinyl trim. Shelby-built GT350 appears, with 306bhp, side exhausts, stronger gearbox, anti-tramp bars and lowered Koni suspension. 
1966: The five-dial cluster is now standard across the range; the 170ci and 260ci engines are dropped. 
1967: There are styling changes plus a bigger, heavier bodyshell. The suspension is revised and a 325bhp 6.5-litre V8 arrives. 
1968: A 335bhp 428ci (7-litre) V8 appears, with front disc brakes and auto gearbox. 289 engine replaced by 302ci (5-litre) unit. 
1969: Major restyle; car is four inches longer, there are two extra headlamps and the luxury Grandé debuts. More cabin and luggage space. Mach 1 arrives with air scoops, rear spoiler and 250bhp 351cu in (5.7-litre) V8. 
1973: Another major restyle – the Mustang is now eight inches longer, six inches wider and 600lb heavier. 250ci ‘six’ or V8s between 302ci and 428ci. 
 

Owners clubs, forums and websites 

 
• www.mocgb.net
• www.mustang.org 
• www.vintage-mustang.com
• www.allfordmustangs.com
 

Summary and prices

 
Despite its relative rarity in the UK, the Mustang remains surprisingly affordable to buy, if not fuel. Early V8 convertible cars are probably the most sought after, and very clean examples tend to cost upwards of £35,000, although the entry point for a tidy car is closer to £25,000. Six-cylinder cars are actually pretty unusual in the UK, and the V8 is far more desirable. 
 
Two-door Coupe cars are the cheapest, and you should be able to find a good example from around £15,000. Probably due to the Bullitt connection, it’s the Fastback Mustang that people really want, and that’s why prices for these are around 40 per cent higher than the standard two-doors. Shelby, Mach 1 and Boss Mustangs are all significantly more expensive, and are difficult to find outside of the USA.
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Last updated: 3rd Oct 2016
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Ford Mustang
26487 41455 GBP
  • Ford MUSTANG

    £37,492.80 £37,492.80

    Variant name:Fastback GT ,Derivative:GT ,Variant: 5.0 V8 GT 2dr Auto Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 GT 2dr Auto

    • Year: 2018
    • Mileage: 50 mi
    • Engine size: 5
    For sale
    £37,492.80 £37,492.80
    SMC-SMC Ford Crayford
  • Ford MUSTANG

    £34,983 £34,983

    Variant name:Convertible GT ,Derivative:GT ,Variant: 5.0 V8 GT 2dr Auto This low mileage, one owner Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 GT Convertible 2dr Auto is available now at SMC Ford. With the desirable Custom Pack (19 inch Lustre Nickel alloy wheels, Heated and Cooled Leather Seats, Rear Parking Sensors), this stunning Mustang was originally supplied new by SMC and benefits from a full SMC Ford service history too. Call us today to arrange your test drive, and ask about our finance packages available for this car.

    • Year: 2016
    • Mileage: 5018 mi
    • Engine size: 5
    For sale
    £34,983 £34,983
  • Ford - Mustang - 1966

    €10,501 - €13,651.30 est. (£0 - £0 est.) €10,501 - €13,651.30 est. (£0 - £0 est.)
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    RESERVE PRICE
    Online Auction
    €10,501 - €13,651.30 est. (£0 - £0 est.) €10,501 - €13,651.30 est. (£0 - £0 est.)
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    RESERVE PRICE
  • Ford MUSTANG

    £28,970 £28,970

    Variant name:GT ,Derivative:MK6 (S550) ,Variant: GT, CUSTOM PACK. Hughes Selection is part of the privately owned Hughes Group that represents Mercedes-Benz, Smart, Mazda, Skoda, Seat, Chrysler Jeep, Peugeot and commercial vehicles both retail and fleet. We take in over 1000 part exchanges per year, and carefully select the best ones to retail., Upgrades - Custom Pack, Shaker Pro Stereo, Nav., Heated/Ventilated Seats, Metallic Paint, Last serviced on 07/12/2017 at 6,967 miles, Full dealership history, Excellent bodywork, Black Full leather interior - Excellent Condition, Standard Features - DAB - Radio, Dual Zone Electronic Automatic Temperature Control (EATC), Rear View Camera, SYNC 2.8in Colour Touchscreen, Voice Control System with Ford Emergency Assist., 6-Way Power Adjustable Front Seats, Alloy Wheels - 19in Lustre Nickel Multi-Sp., Bluetooth & USB Connectivity, Electrically - Operated Front Windows, Ford Power Starter Button, Rain Sensing Wipers, Upholster Leather. 4 seats, Ruby Red Metallic, Awesome car with Full Service History and a great spec including Custom Pack, Shaker Pro, DAB, Reverse Camera etc. Car will come with the remainder of Manufactures Warranty until 16/12/2018. Taken in part exchange by ourselves here at The Hughes Group, a well known and very well respected Multi Franchise Motor Group.

    • Year: 2015
    • Mileage: 7816 mi
    • Engine size: 5
    For sale
    £28,970 £28,970
  • Ford Mustang

    £34,000 £34,000

    Colour SatNav, Climate controlled seats, Dual Climate Zones, Bluetooth, Xenon Headlamps, Parking Camera, Parking Sensors, Full Leather, Sports Seats, Air Conditioning, Heated Seats, Electric Seats, Auto Lighting, Keyless Entry, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Colour Coded Body, iPod Connectivity, Immobiliser, Remote Central Locking, Front Centre Armrest, Height Adjustable Seat, Lumbar Adjustment, Adjustable Steering Column, Cruise Control, Power Steering, Stability Control, Traction Control, Trip Computer, ABS, Multiple Airbags, Quick-Clear Screen, Front Fog Lamps, Metallic Paintwork, Automatic Electric Windows, Push Button Start, CD Player, Radio, Steering Wheel Audio Controls, Alloy Wheels, Rain-Sensing Wipers, Powered Folding Mirrors, Colour Coded Interior, One Owner, Service History, We provide an Inclusive Parts & Labour Guarantee, 19'' Alloys, Full service history This model has the Custom Pack which includes - Shaker Pro premium audio system with navigation, Climate controlled seats, Reverse parking sensors, 19'' Lustre Nickel multi-spoke alloy wheels + Sidewindows chrome surround., OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK - A SELECTION OF UP TO 200 CARS AND VANS AVAILABLE. Click on dealer 'VISIT WEBSITE' link for many more large photographs of this car. We are a West Sussex Trading Standards Approved 'Buy with Confidence Dealership'.

    • Mileage: 7147 mi
    • Engine size: 4951
    For sale
    £34,000 £34,000
  • Ford MUSTANG

    £34,160 £34,160

    Variant name:Fastback GT ,Derivative:GT ,Variant: 5.0 V8 GT 2dr Auto We are happy to offer this fantastic 2016 Ford Mustang Fastback. Presented in Metallic Grey with Full Black Leather Interior. This Mustang is in an incredible colour combination with a beautiful specification including, Automatic Xenon Projector Headlights, Gloss Black Alloy Wheels, Brembo Brake Calipers, Dual Exit Exhaust, Reverse Parking Sensors, Fully Electric Seats, Illuminated Kickplates, Electronic Folding and Adjusting Mirrors, Electric Windows, Multi Functional Leather Steering Wheel, Paddleshift, Cruise Control, Bluetooth Phone & Audio Streaming, Trip Computer, Automatic Wipers, Keyless Push Button Start, Heated & Cooled Seats, Dual Climate Control, Air Conditioning, Switchable Driving Modes, Satellite Navigation, DAB Radio, Reverse Parking Camera, Brushed Aluminum Interior Trim. To discuss this wonderful Mustang in further detail please don't hesitate to give us a call on the number as shown above.

    • Year: 2016
    • Mileage: 6000 mi
    • Engine size: 5
    For sale
    £34,160 £34,160
  • Ford MUSTANG

    £34,899 £34,899

    Variant name:Convertible GT ,Derivative:GT ,Variant: 5.0 V8 GT 2dr Auto We are delighted to offer this tremendous 2016 Ford Mustang Convertible with 11,100 Miles. Presented in Gloss Black with Black Full Leather Interior. Throughout you will find this car has been cherished from new and has a wonderful specification which includes, Gloss Silver Multi Spoke Alloy Wheels, Automatic Xenon Projector Headlights, Reverse Parking Sensors, Dual Exit Exhaust, Multi Functional Leather Steering Wheel, Paddleshift, Cruise Control, Bluetooth Phone & Audio Streaming, Keyless Entry & Push Button Start, Trip Computer, Automatic Wipers, Electronic Folding & Adjusting Mirrors, Electric Windows, Dual Cup Holder, Heated & Cooled Front Seats, Dual Climate Control, Air Conditioning, Heated Rear Screen, DAB Radio, CD Player, Full Colour Satellite Navigation, Reverse Parking Camera. This car really is as clean as it looks in the photos and will certainly not disappoint when viewed. To discuss this exceptional Mustang in further detail please don't hesitate to give us a call on the number as shown above.

    • Year: 2016
    • Mileage: 11100 mi
    • Engine size: 5
    For sale
    £34,899 £34,899
  • Ford MUSTANG

    £35,326 £35,326

    Variant name:Convertible GT ,Derivative:GT ,Variant: 5.0 V8 GT 2dr Auto We are happy to offer this fantastic convertible 5.0 Ford Mustang GT . Presented in Black with Black Full Leather Interior. This Mustang has a great specification including, Full Colour Satellite Navigation, Reverse Parking Sensors and camera, Automatic Xenon Projector Headlights, Multi Functional leather Steering Wheel, Heated and Cooled Seats, Shaker Sound System, Fully Electric Adjusting Seats with Lumbar Support, Paddleshift, Trip Computer, Electronic Heated Adjusting and Folding Mirrors, Electric Windows, Dual Climate Control, Air Conditioning, Sport Mode, FM Radio, Push Button Start. Throughout you will see this car has been thoroughly looked after from new. To discuss this car in further detail please don't hesitate to give us a call on the number as shown above.

    • Year: 2016
    • Mileage: 6000 mi
    • Engine size: 5
    For sale
    £35,326 £35,326
  • Ford MUSTANG

    £37,995 £37,995

    Variant name:Fastback GT ,Derivative:GT ,Variant: 5.0 V8 GT 2dr Auto *REDUCED TO CLEAR* This brand new, unregistered Mustang Fastback V8 Automatic is available now at SMC Ford for immediate delivery. Triple yellow with Ebony Leather. Save thousands off of the list price of this iconic muscle car! Factory options fitted to this car include Shaker Pro Audio with Navigation, Climate Controlled Seats, Rear Parking Sensors and contrast Black Roof. Call us today to arrange your test drive, and ask about our finance packages available for this car.

    • Year: 2018
    • Mileage: 28 mi
    • Engine size: 5
    For sale
    £37,995 £37,995
  • Ford MUSTANG

    £39,995 £39,995

    Variant name:Fastback GT ,Derivative:GT ,Variant: 5.0 V8 GT 2dr Auto This brand new, unregistered Mustang Fastback V8 Automatic is available now at SMC Ford for immediate delivery. Race Red with Ebony Leather. Save thousands off of the list price of this iconic muscle car! Factory options fitted to this car include Shaker Pro Audio with Navigation, Climate Controlled Seats, Rear Parking Sensors and contrast Black Roof. Call us today to arrange your test drive, and ask about our finance packages available for this car.

    • Year: 2018
    • Mileage: 10 mi
    • Engine size: 5
    For sale
    £39,995 £39,995