1965 Mustang Coupe: Beater or Blank Canvas?

You could look at this 1965 Mustang coupe as a blank canvas, or you could view it as a semi-beater. Your choice then is to restore it to like-new condition or to make It something that suits your vision. Either way, it’s currently available here on eBay for a bid of $3209 with four days left in the auction. You’ll collect it in Williamston, SC. Then the sleuthing will begin, because there’s a lot you don’t know from reading this ad.

The first thing you’ll want to know is what this car was originally. It has the “C” in the VIN code that tells you it started out with a 289-CID engine between the shock towers. That’s good, though we don’t know if the one in there now is the original engine. The listing just says the car  has “a 289.” Nor do you have any idea of the fitness of that engine, though the ad does say, “This Mustang runs good.” It would be hard to make that happen in its present, no-battery state, of course. What you also don’t know is what color the car was originally, which would be revealed by the VIN plate inside the driver’s door. It will not reveal everything, though. Options on a Mustang, other than potential engine, trans, color, and some interior options, are not called out on a data plate. This one doesn’t show any sign of power steering or brakes nor AC. So what you’ve got is the basic V8 Mustang. Don’t forget—this was the dream car of hundreds of thousands of people, so there ain’t nothing wrong with that.

Bringing it back or resto-modding it would face the same obstacle: namely, you have to figure out how good (or not) the body is and redo as needed. What’s clear is that the red is definitely not original, as is evidenced by the overspray on the inner fenders, the radiator support, and some of the under-hood hardware. The seller does give one potential fear factor when saying “Minor rust in the floor pans”—what’s minor about rust? If it were “surface” rust, no big deal. “Minor” might be code word for holes big enough that the floor needs replacing. The only visual clue, and this is important, is a picture of the left rear rail, which looks OK. What appears to be peeling up there is factory goop of some kind, I can attest. Is the bit nearest the bottom of the photo evidence of crusty rust? Not sure, but this is the crucial part of the car when it comes to tin worm. There also seems to have been a rear quarter panel repair as well at some point. The exterior shots don’t reveal what body damage or rust perforation might have been subject to putty repair. You’ll know soon enough when this one arrives in your garage.

The interior is a combination of thrashed in the front and very clean in the back seat. You’ll need a glove box insert and door, a steering wheel, and more—the dash pad might have been painted and need replacing—but as we all know, anything here can be bought out of a catalogue with ease. Thankfully, some parts often gone, like the proper 1965 gas cap and the grill bars and pony, are there. Small savings will give you money to buy a set of steel wheels and proper hubcaps, also easy to find new or used. When you’re done with this re-do, whatever direction you’ll go, you’ll have an easily resaleable Mustang, but why would you part with it? You’ll also have an American dream car.


  1. Rw

    Just another coupe.

    Like 2
  2. gregb

    Red flag. VIN id’s as a1966 . VIN on the inner fender?

    Like 2

      Where do you see a fender tag ?????

      Like 1
      • Dr Ron

        When you pull a driver’s side front fender off of a first generation Mustang or mid to late ‘60’s Ford you’ll find the VIN stamped into the top of the inner fender. MOPARs had “fender tags”. Fords didn’t.

  3. Robert West

    A 60s Mustang they aren’t asking 5 figures for? I don’t believe it!

    Like 2
  4. DA

    I wonder if it spent some time in water? The heater matrix is likely gone, as the heater core is clearly visible. The dash was hacked for a radio install, and clearly somebody did a quick and dirty (albeit shiny) paint job some time ago. Looks like they also painted interior panels as well, because they are too smooth. Lots of other issues that would make me lose interest fast.

    Like 3
  5. Dr Ron

    Before I r got to “carbonator” (😂) I thought that this thing was probably from the Carolinas…
    This is likely to be a Bondo Monster.

    Like 1
  6. Jason Pelletier

    The 289 has 1967 valve covers on it. The red front seats and rear seats are 1967 style upholstery, and the dash pad is the 67-68 style placed on the steel framework. Looks like 1967 lipstick has been applied to this 65 coupe.

    Like 1

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