Five classic Mustangs you can still afford

With the big 50th anniversary of the Mustang, prices of the classic first version of the Mustang, the 1964½ (technically a 1965 model) through 1966, have been moving up. The best convertibles and fastbacks with the highest horsepower engines can bring well over $65,000 and there has been renewed interest in vintage Mustangs of all years.  All isn’t lost however for the Mustang collector on a budget.

Here are five of our favorite Mustangs that are still affordable:

1966 Ford Mustang Convertible
1966 Ford Mustang Convertible
1964½-66 Convertible (six cylinder): If you simply must have the first version of the Mustang in a convertible and have $25,000 or less to spend on a nice one, well then you’re likely to have to settle for the six-cylinder model instead of the 260 or 289 V-8. And the six of the ’60s was nothing like today’s 300-plus hp base V-6. Nope, the 200-cubic-inch straight-six was good for just 120 hp, so performance was leisurely at best. No matter; the six still looked great.
1964 1/2 Ford Mustang
1964 1/2 Ford Mustang
1964 ½-66 V-8 Coupe: If you’d really rather have a V-8, there’s still time to find one for less than $25,000. Granted, it won’t be a swoopy fastback or a drop-top, but the basic hardtop is still a pretty car. Don’t expect the highest horsepower versions of the Mustang 289-cubic-inch V-8 at this price point, but nice cars are still out there. For now anyway.
1973 Ford Mustang Mach 1
1973 Ford Mustang Mach 1
1971-1973 Mach I 302 Coupe: “Mach I” was one of the more audacious names of the Pony Car era, however in actual fact, its top speed was a bit shy of the speed of sound. But it had pumped up good looks and none other than Sean Connery as James Bond drove a ’71 Mach 1 in the movie “Diamonds are Forever.” As usual, the biggest engine version has sailed past affordability, but the 302 V-8 Mach Ican still be had for around $25,000 if you look hard enough.
1986 Ford Mustang SVO
1986 Ford Mustang SVO
1984-86 SVO: This selection will likely get the trolls’ attention: a four-cylinder Mustang on a list of collectible Mustangs. But the SVO wasn’t a Pinto-based Mustang II or your dental hygienist’s 88 hp four-banger Fox Body Mustang; the SVO sported a turbo 2.3-liter four that made as much horsepower as the 5.0-liter V-8 of the day, a biplane rear spoiler, unique front fascia, and hood complete with a totally cool NACA duct-style air scoop. It was faster and more expensive than the V-8. Fuel prices never climbed the way that the industry expected, and the 5.0-liter V-8 was further developed with new, more-efficient cylinder heads, and eventually fuel injection, giving it better gas mileage and much more horsepower with less complication and expense, so the sophisticated SVO disappeared after 1986.
1988 Ford Mustang GT5.0 Convertible
1988 Ford Mustang GT5.0 Convertible
1987-93 GT 5.0 Convertible: We like the 1989 model because it was the 25th anniversary year of the Mustang (which Ford barely noticed). The Fox Body Mustang might not have been the most glamorous body style ever, but it was one of the cars responsible for ending the “Malaise Era” of sluggish and dull American cars. With the 5.0-liter V-8 boosted to 225 hp, in 1987, the Mustang brought cheap V-8 performance back to the masses. Care for something a bit newer? We also love the 2008-09 Bullitt Edition Mustang and think it’s a future collectible.

It’s the Petersen’s turn to celebrate Mustang’s birthday

Eleanors from both Gone in 60 Seconds movies will be at the museum | Petersen photos
Eleanors from both Gone in 60 Seconds movies will be at the museum | Petersen photos

The big celebrations at the New York Auto Show and at speedways in Charlotte and Las Vegas may be over, but festivities staged to observe the 50th anniversary of the Ford Mustang continue.

This weekend, May 3-4, the Petersen Automotive museum presents Mustang Madness which will include:

  • An all-Mustang car show.
  • A look at the next-generation 2015 Mustang that doesn’t arrive in Ford dealerships until sometime this fall.
  • The unveiling of the museum’s Mustangs Forever: 50 Years of a Legend exhibit.
  • Live interviews with various “Mustang Heroes.”
  • A visit Saturday morning by Mustang RTR creator and world drift-driving champion Vaughn Gittin Jr. and one Sunday morning by Beau Boeckmann, president of Galpin Auto Sports (Galpin Ford is the sponsor for the special weekend Mustang celebration at the Petersen).
  • Additional appearances by Bob Fria with the first Ford Mustang, by Hollywood Hot Rods’ Troy Ladd with his custom Mustang, and by Pure Vision’s Martini Mustang.
  • A “Value of the Mustang” seminar Sunday afternoon by experts from Hagerty Collector Car Insurance.
  • Screenings of both the 1974 and 2000 versions of the movie, Gone in 60 Seconds, with the Eleanor Mustangs from both movies on display.
  • Food tents, live music and a play area and scavenger hunt for children.
  • A special museum rooftop Mustang Lounge.
It will be all-Mustangs at the show
It will be all-Mustangs at the show

Speaking of the all-Mustang car show, there will be prizes awarded, and Henry Ford III will present a special Ford Heritage Award.

For more information and a time schedule, visit the www.petersen.org website.

 

Cross-country drives celebrate Mustang’s 50th

Thousands of Mustangs will hit the open road in April. (Photo: Mustangs Across America)
Thousands of Mustangs will hit the open road in April. (Photo: Mustangs Across America)

 What better way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Ford Mustang than getting together with a bunch of like-minded enthusiasts and driving the original pony cars across the United States, with a big birthday party at the end of the trip?

That’s the plan when the Mustangs Across America 50th Anniversary Drive leaves Los Angeles on April 10 and heads for Charlotte, N.C., on a seven-day tour. And this is just one of three cross-country drives that are being called the largest-ever mobilization of Mustangs.

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My Classic Car: Dale Grim’s 1965 Ford Mustang

British badges on a Ford Mustang? | Photos by Larry Edsall
British badges on a Ford Mustang? | Photos by Larry Edsall

I was born in Dearborn, Mich., on July 26, 1965. I was among the last of the Mustangs built in the 1965 model year. My original owner purchased me from the only Ford dealer in Rantoul, Ill., in August of that year.

In 1967 I moved to Lakenheath, England. I traveled the English countryside and to London many times. I even saw the Queen once! I have cruised the German Autobahn with the finest German autos. My handling package helped me climb the Swiss Alps safely and my bright red color and sleek fastback design brought me much attention on the streets of Paris.

In 1976 a friend of my current owner purchased me from my original owner and brought me back to the United States. In 1977 I was repainted my original color. I moved to Arizona and was adopted by my current owner in 1978. At that time I had just over 100,000 miles with only a valve job on my engine. I soon started on my first motor/transmission transplant.britstang2

I retired in1982 with 200,000 miles of daily transportation. Over the next 10 years end though I came out only for pleasure drives, time was taking its toll on me. So after a year of indecision and potential replacement search, my loyal owner decided to keep me and give me a new lease on life.

Jim Smart, editor of Mustangs and Fords, defined the process of maintaining a stock appearance with better-than-original performance on the road as a “restification,” now known as “restromod.”

My restored process went from October 1993 to May 1994. I am now on my “second 30 years” and plan to outlive my owner!

“Loyal” owner Dale Grim adds some details to the car’s story: The Mustang went to England with a fellow member of the U.S. Air Force. The original owner sold it to another airman, who eventually brought it back to the U.S. when stations at Williams Air Force Base near Phoenix, where Grim, also in the Air Force, saw the car and eventually bought the car. Grim has driven 46,000 miles since the 1994 restoration, shows it frequently, and already has made plans to be at the Mustang 50th anniversary celebration this year in Las Vegas.

 

First new Mustang will be sold at Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale auction

2015MUSTANG_SKV_5722

The first retail sale of the new 2015 Ford Mustang GT will occur during Barrett-Jackson’s 2014 Scottsdale auction. All proceeds from the sale will go to JDRF, the former Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation for its work on type 1 diabetes research.

“We’re kicking off the next 50 years of Mustang in style with a 2015 model featuring a sleek all-new design, world-class performance and innovative technologies,” Steve Ling, North America car marketing manager for Ford, was quoted in a press release announcing the first retail sale of the new pony car.

“We’re thrilled to be able to take advantage of Mustang’s popularity to help achieve the dream of ending juvenile diabetes,” he added.

It was just a couple of weeks ago that Ford unveiled its new Mustang, which won’t be available at Ford dealerships  until the third quarter of 2014.

The person posting the highest bid at Barrett-Jackson will have to wait to take delivery, but will get the first retail sales unit and will be able to specify transmission, color and other options. The car also will be autographed by members of the Mustang design and engineering development teams.

The 2015 Ford Mustang GT will be powered by a V8 engine producing more than 420 horsepower.

JDRF has been a frequent beneficiary of special Ford sales through Barrett-Jackson.

“Ford’s charitable vehicle sales at Barrett-Jackson have raised more than $3 million for JDRF through the years,” said Jeffrey Brewer, president and CEO of JDRF, “and these funds are helping us make tremendous progress towards therapies and treatments that will make life better for people with type 1 diabetes today as we work to find a cure for this terrible disease.”

Ford has supported the JDRF effort since 1983.

April 17, 2014 will mark the Mustang’s 50th anniversary.  Each 2015 model Mustang will celebrate that milestone with a badge showing the galloping pony logo and the words, “Mustang – Since 1964.”3

In addition to the special Mustang auction, Ford will stage a hot-lap riding experience at WestWorld during the auction featuring the Shelby GT500, Focus ST and Fiesta ST. The Mustang created for the Need for Speed movie (see photo) also will be on display. That car features a custom wide body, unique 22-inch wheels and larger air intakes for its supercharged V8 engine. The movie debuts March 14, 2014.

MUSTANG VS. CAMARO: At Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale auction in 2009, the first retail sale of the then-new Chevrolet Camaro brought $350,000. Use the “Share your thoughts!” box below to guess what the new Mustang will bring at Barrett-Jackson in 2014.

Mustang corrals in Charlotte, Vegas for pony car’s 50th anniversary

The Mustang Club of America and Ford Motor Co. have announced a joint celebration marking 50 years of the original pony car, the Ford Mustang, from April 16 through April 20 in two places at once.

Open to everyone, including the multitude of Mustang enthusiasts, the twin parties take place at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., and Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nev. The Mustang fun will include live music, cruises, ride-and-drive, exhibitions, celebrities and of course, pony rides.

With a brand-new 2015 Mustang all saddled up and ready to run, Ford is focusing on its wildly successful progeny. More than nine million of them have been sold in the past half century, and nearly everybody has a Mustang story to tell.

For more information, see  www.mustang50thbirthdaycelebration.com.

Vehicle Profile: 1965 Ford Mustang

The year of 1965 was a great one for the Ford Motor Company, with the introduction of a totally new vehicle in their lineup called the Ford Mustang! This beautiful, yet economically minded car, created a new class of vehicle which was dubbed the “Pony Car” (a sporty, 2-door coupe design which incorporated a long hood and a short, rear deck area). The car was introduced unusually early in the model year (on April 17, 1964 at the New York Worlds’ Fair and to rave reviews!) as a 1965 production model, with room to seat 4 people and was based on the affordable Ford Falcon chassis. Many purist’s still refer to these early production models (April thru September 1964) as 1964-1/2, but all were actually produced, titled and coded as 1965 models!

The Mustang also happened to be Ford Motor Company’s most successful new model launch since the Model “A” way back in 1927! The Mustang would become Ford’s third oldest nameplate to date, being surpassed only by the F-Series pickup models and the Falcon which is still in production in Australia. To date, there have been five generations of the Ford Mustang and it is also the longest running, uninterrupted production run of the original “Pony Car” in existence. Other Pony Cars that followed the Mustang have come and gone and some are even seeing a revival today, as new, current models being produced by General Motors and Chrysler.

Ford Motor Company originally estimated that less than 100,000 units would be produced for the 1965 year model, but due to huge sales and consumer demand, over 1 million were actually produced in the first 18 months of production. The car was well built and stylish, not to mention a great car to drive! It also didn’t hurt, that its 1st movie debut was in the hugely popular James Bond film, “Goldfinger”, released in September of 1964!

It’s funny, that there seems to be some confusion as to who actually chose the name for the Mustang but at least two arguments exist:

1.) That Ford’s Executive Stylist at the time, Pres Harris, who was a huge fan of the infamously successful WWII Mustangs of the North American Aviation Company not only chose the name but was instrumental in the design of the body.

2.) That Ford’s Division Market Research Manager of the time, Robert J. Eggert, due to his love of American Quarterhorse breeds, and after receiving a book, as a birthday gift from his wife back in 1960, named “the Mustangs” (by J. Frank Dobie) was responsible for using his influence to name the new car.

Either way, Lee Iacocca is still considered the “Father” of the Mustang project and his team of designers, stylists and all who were involved can be very proud of the little Pony Car that could and DID!

Vehicle Profile: Shelby GT500: Mustang at Full Gallop

shelbygt500

The Shelby GT500 more than lives up to its name.

Let’s start with its first name: Shelby. As in Carroll Shelby. As in bib overall-wearing, chili-cooking, Le Mans race-winning, Ford GT40 team-managing, Shelby Cobra-creating, Corvette-beating, Ferrari-beating, Viper-inspiring, Ford GT- godfathering, heart transplant-receiving, Barrett-Jackson auction feeding frenzy-causing Carroll Shelby himself.

Though the Shelby GT500 is built in a Ford Motor Company assembly plant and is not tweaked in Shelby’s own shop, Shelby was involved in the vehicle’s design and development and this pony deserves the Shelby name that’s branded across its rear flanks. Even Ford engineers will tell you that the reason this pony puts its power to the pavement is because of Shelby’s personal involvement in the project. In fact, the only place on the car where it says “Ford” is on the faux 1960s-style gas cap mounted between the rear tail lamps.

Middle name: GT. As in Ford Mustang GT, which is the donor chassis for this car. Though like Shelby himself, this chassis has undergone a heart transplant, which in the case of the car meant inserting a supercharged 5.4-liter V8 engine where the normally aspirated 4.6-liter V8 would have gone.

And now for the 500. As in five hundred horsepower! That’s right. This Shelbyized and supercharged version of the Mustang GT pumps out 200 more horsepower than the standard breed of this pony car platform.

And that’s not all. The Shelby GT500 also is equipped with 14-inch Brembo brakes – basically the same setup as the 200-mph Ford GT supercar – as well as track-tuned suspension pieces, some altered steering gear, traction control, a special front fascia, larger radiator, intercooler, front “splitter” and larger rear wing, white Le Mans stripes, 18-inch wheels with asymmetric tires – the rears put more rubber on the road so those 500 horses can be used more effectively.

There are changes to the interior, too, most notably — at least for driving enthusiasts — the swap of the locations of the speedometer and tachometer, so you can hold the wheel with your left hand and shift with your right and still see the tach.

Audio enthusiasts also will be delighted because the car comes with a 500-watt “Shaker” system with six-CD player and MP3 jack.

Oh, yes, the Shelby GT500 also comes only with a six-speed manual transmission. If you can’t drive a stick, you can’t drive this car. And this definitely is a car that enthusiasts will want to drive.

Although I have to admit, just driving it around town and cruising down the highway, I wondered if the car really did have 500 horsepower to offer. Why, I averaged 17 miles per gallon overall and was getting 21 on the highway.

Trust me, this car really does make 500 horsepower, and you feel it when you downshift to pass, or when you come off the line like a lightning bolt.

Work on the Shelby GT500 was done by Ford’s Special Vehicle Team (many of the same people who had just finished crafting the Ford GT supercar), with Shelby participating in the design and engineering tweaks. Much of the on-track testing was done on the road course and drag strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where Shelby’s shops are located.

Shelby himself took part in regular test drives and debriefs.

Shelby, of course, was responsible for the famed GT350 and GT500 Mustangs of the 1960s. The Shelby GT500 celebrates the 40th anniversary of those cars and marks his reunion with Ford, a reunion that also results in the Shelby GT and Shelby GT-H and soon will result in the beginning of production of the Shelby GT500KR, the King of the Road version of the GT500.

The Shelby GT, GT-H and KR all are or will be modified within Shelby’s own facility, and all are or will be available in limited numbers. On the other hand, the Shelby GT500 is produced in the same factory that builds all new Mustangs, and thus some 10,000 copies are available for the 2007 model year, with around 9000 planned for 2008 and another 9000 for 2009.

The car can be as docile to drive as a base Mustang V6, or as delightful as you’d expect a 500-horsepower pony car to be.

One thing I really liked about the car was that on those occasions when you’re simply cruising around town, you never have to worry about the stupid first-to-fourth transmission lockout that comes with another manually shifted American icon, the Chevrolet Corvette.

Another thing about the car that I appreciated was its seats, nicely bolstered for ripping around an autocross course but also very comfortable for long periods of freeway driving.

The rear seatback is split so either side or both can be folded down to expand the cargo floor. But even with the seat in its upright and locked position, the trunk has plenty of room for a couple of suitcases. Sure, no adult is ever going to want to sit in that back seat, but it’s there if you have children, pets or simply need a place to put a briefcase or gym bag.

Base price on the Shelby GT500 is in the low $40,000-range. Even with the unconscionable markup dealers are getting, this 500-horsepower pony represents a real bargain compared to the more than $69K it takes to get a 505-hp Corvette Z06 or the more than 80 grand it costs for a 510-hp Dodge Viper.

And did I mention that it lives up to its first, middle and last names?