The 1965 Mustangs - A Highly Anticipated Sequel
As is typical with car release dates, the 65 Mustangs were introduced in September of the previous year. What was not so typical was the fact that Ford had just released a 1965 Mustang version six months prior, in April of the same year. Thus, the earlier pace car version is still known as the 64 1/2, whereas the 1965 Ford Mustang version is known as the late model '65 Mustang. It can get a bit confusing, but hopefully we've clarified it for you.
Ford had rushed to get the 64 1/2 prototype out to the general public, with the announcement that the Mustang would be the Indianapolis pace car of 1964. In an effort to keep cost down and speed up production, Ford borrowed a few parts from their earlier models, namely the Ford Falcon. 1966 was the last year that Ford used these parts and in 1967 the Mustang was revised and made more uniquely it's own.
It seems apparent that Ford's marketing plan was highly sucessful. After giving away 195 1964.5 hardtop Mustangs, Ford then sold 1965 hardtop Mustangs at a 5 to 1 ratio over convertibles and fastback versions. Today, this makes good news for 1965 fastback owners as it is a rarer find. The fastback may not have sold as well in 1965, but it provided a basis for the future Mustang Shelby GT350 which was housed in fastback Mustangs. The 65 fastback was referred to as the "2x2 fastback" because although it was intended as a two person car it had room for two more in the fold down rear seat.
In 1964.5 versions a 260cui engine was offered, but in the 1965 Mustang edition all Mustangs had V-8 engines with a minimum 289cui, and the Mustang GT had made it's debut. The generator on the 64.5 Mustangs was also replaced with an alternator.
Some of the cosmetic changes from the earlier 1964.5 version included different rounded corners on the leading edge of the hood. On the interior there were many new options available. Pony interior was offered for 65-66 Mustangs, officially known as Interior Decor Group Option. It featured molded panels, pistol-grip handles, courtesy lights, walnut-grained vinyl appliqués on the dash, more chrome, optional console and embossed galloping mustangs on all four seat back supports.
Special Edition 1965 Mustangs
1965 MUSTANG GT
The 1965 GT Mustang was available in hardtop, convertible or fastback. It also came with the option of a 225 or 271hp V-8 engine and a 3 or 4 speed manual or cruise-o-matic transmission.
Cosmetically, it featured GT a (gran turismo/grand touring) badge on the lower front fender and the low stripes. Driving lights located in the grille and dual exhausts were an option for regular 65 Mustangs but they came standard in the GTs.
The rally-pac instrument cluster of tach and clock was a popular option in 1965 and became standard in all 66GTs.
1965 Mustang Shelbys
The 1965 Mustang Shelby was debuted in January of 1965. This was a later release than the 1964 1/2 and the 1965 Mustang, which debuted in April and September of 1964. All 1965 Mustang Shelbys were fastback models and came with no rear seat. The idea was to produce a model specifically geared toward racing.
The '65 Mustang Shelby came in two versions; the GT350 street model and the GT350R racing edition. Some of the modifications of these Shelby editions included a Shelby grille, a fiberglass hood with a functional air scoop and racing pins, racing mirrors, louvers, side exhaust and side markings of G.T.350. On the inside you'd find a three spoke steering wheel, a tachometer, oil pressure gauge and racing style seat belts. The horn was located as a switch on the dash since it didn't fit well with the race style steering wheel. These Mustang GT350s were also only available in white with dark blue racing stripes.
Compared with the price of the original Mustang, the GTs were pricey! The street version retailed at $4,547 compared with the Mustang base price of $2,320. Only 516 of these street model Mustang GTs were made, making them a highly sought after vintage car today!