Base Model Survivor: 1965 Ford Custom

In remarkable survivor condition, this ’65 Ford Custom was a base model Ford offered to folks looking for an affordable car. Although many of these Ford Customs wound up as Police cars, and Taxis. This Custom has lived a humdrum base model life, but is a very clean example, having covered less than 78,000 miles. Priced with an opening bid of $5,995, someone must want this creampuff. Find it here on ebay out of Rosenburg, Texas.

Although lacking many features, this Ford does flaunt a 390 cubic inch V8. We think the only option box checked on this Ford was the “Power Nothing” check box. There is no mistake about it, this Ford Custom will be a work out to someone who is not accustomed to manual components.  Standing high on the brake pedal, rowing the column shifted manual transmission, and sawing away at turning the steering wheel. Despite the base option, this is a very cool car that would certainly be a fun driver. The engine bay and engine itself have minor signs of age, but the engine bay itself looks as if it would clean up nicely. The engine has some surface rust sprinkle over it, but still looks mighty good after the test of time.

Inside of this Ford is a very nice surviving interior. The door panels look like NOS items. The only real evidence of age is the fabric on the bench seat is a little wavy from use, but it does not appear to be torn. The front bench upholstery could be saved maintaining this Ford’s awesome originality. We know the Ford Custom isn’t the most luxurious car of the time, but this Custom does have a carpeted interior. The carpeting looks reasonable based off of what we can see. Overall the dash is awesome, but with the minor issue of the ignition switch sinking into the dash. This is likely a simple fix that could be resolved one way or another. The steering wheel doesn’t look to be discolored, though there is some cracking. For a mid-1960’s Ford, this Custom is in great condition.

With a stunning shine, there are only a few minor issues with this Ford Custom. The roof has developed some surface rust on the top, and also a small amount near the rear window. Also there is minor surface rust on the trunk pan apron area where water travels around the trunk opening. Aside from these minor concerns, this Ford is very nice. The paint glistens nicely in the light as do the chrome bumpers. Although this may be a base model Ford, there are not many remaining in this condition. What would you do with this ’65 Ford Custom? Would you maintain it as is, or do you have something else in mind?



  1. Howard A Member

    I find it odd that this car is equipped the way it is. Almost like it could have been a cop car or something. That 390, 4 barrel, and 3 speed, was a very popular setup with LEO’s at the time. It’s amazing you could get a car like this, only it does have a few options, radio, carpet ( no cop car there) cig lighter, and who knows, maybe the passenger visor was extra. They gave you very little in a base car. And no power, I knew some people that still “just didn’t trust those things”. I read, this was the cheapest Ford you could buy in 1965 at $2313 ( base car had the 289, so the 390 added a bit). Quite a rare find here. I bet this car really goes nice.

    • al8apex

      base car had the straight six …

    • Trey

      A cop car would have a special order DSO, and this one has a basic one from Phoenix.

      • Utes

        @ Trey…..
        and a certified speedo.

    • Johnny

      A friend of mine has a 65 Custom with straight 6 and 3 speed manual transmission.

  2. Will

    It could have been bought by someone who remembered the days when any type of climate control was a big deal. This car was seen as a major step up by the person who bought it. As we age new cars get more stuff. At some point a base model is better equipped than a top model of an earlier age. The bigger engine is interesting. I like it.

  3. JW

    Very nice base model, would love this but not for double it’s new car price.

  4. dirtyharry

    The Police/Taxi used sedans. Somehow I can’t think it could ever look better, than dressed in racing garb. I can only imagine how unpopular I would be with my homeowners association, life is short and I don’t care.

    • Rick

      That was the first thing that crossed my mind: NASCAR tribute car. A lot of these Fords were on the track during that era.

      • Randall

        Right. I think of Ned Jarrett driving the Holman-Moody 65 Ford NASCAR.

    • Pfk1106

      Md state police and my local county sheriff dept used 2 and 4 door customs. Detectives, and up drive 2 door. My neighbor bought a well used 65 2 door custom with auto and 390 from the police auction.

  5. geebee

    When I see cars like this, I often wonder if someone at the dealership just didn’t know how to order. My dad bought a new Ford pickup of the lot in 1968. It had the nicest trim package, but zero other options, other than a 360 V8, and automatic transmission. Not even a radio!

  6. Terry Johnson

    Yup, odd combination. The base was a 6 banger. Dad and mom would have gotten a 4 door, even IF dad had checked the 390 box when she wasn’t looking. Even some NASCAR fan would have ordered a Galaxie to copy the Holman-Moody race cars. Better roof line for going fast. By ’65 here were better choices than a full sized car for a “Muscle Car” buyer. Musta been a police fleet order notwithstanding the minor options. Don’t suppose Car Fax would have any history on it? Pal Dennis had this same car in about 1968 except for a 289/auto. Sounded fast. He drove it like it was fast. Wasn’t. :-) Terry J

    • L.M.K. Member

      Ha ha, I knew guys like your pal Dennis….

    • Trey

      This is not a cop car.

  7. Art M.

    Back in the 80’s, I bought a 65 Custom (yes, a 2 door) that had been ordered new as a patrol car by a local Constable. I pulled the 390 and spotlights for a truck I had, and rest was scrapped. It was a solid body, the interior, however, was a different story as a dog had taken up residence inside. Only had 60K miles on it and still had the stars on the doors, but he did remove the “bubble gum machine ” light from the roof. Just another car that I sent to that great scrap yard in the sky way too soon.

    Like 1
  8. boxdin

    Even though non stock I would replace the taillights w Galaxie units as they look much better.

    • Loco Mikado

      I wonder if Ford saved any money at all having to have a special metal stamping and different parts for the round tail light as opposed to the full rectangular tail light of the higher models. At least from the rear other drivers could tell you were a “thrifty Ford car owner”.

      Like 1
  9. grant

    It is optioned weird. I would be tempted to think someone wanted to go fast for cheap, but the column shift is a puzzler. Still really, really cool. I think I’d clean it up and probably a color change, and just make it a nice cruiser.

    • Terry Johnson

      Again points to a Cop car. My sister once bought an ex sheriffs car, 2 door post 1959 Ford with a 430 and a 3 on the tree. My town tried out a ’61 Chevy Biscayne 2 door post ex fire chiefs car, 327 , 3 on the tree. Common in those days. :-) Terry J

      • Trey

        The car’s data plate clearly shows it’s not a cop car.

      • ROTAG999

        62 was first year for 327…

      • Utes

        @ Terry Johnson…..
        ’59 Ford’s never had 430’s, & Chevrolet didn’t produce 327’s until ’62….

  10. Fred W.

    Re: the “non power” aspect, non power brakes were no big deal at the time, brake systems had evolved to the point that the car was fairly easy to stop and power brakes were really for grannies. Non power steering, with a 390 bearing down on the front end, was a whole ‘nother story.

  11. Scotty Staff

    That is one great looking car! I would not change a thing, other than to detail the engine and engine bay, make sure the rust was stopped in its tracks, and make sure that all of the mechanicals were in perfect shape. I can almost guarantee that in a year or two most of us will kick ourselves when this car is worth much more than the current buy it now price.

  12. Chebby

    Turn the corner. Allow tiller to slip between your hands until it’s back to center. Upshift to second. Grab the wheel. Punch it!

    Like 1
  13. Terry Johnson

    Trey, I missed your comments. Teach us how to read the data plate that i.d’s it as not a cop car. Sounds interesting. :-) Terry J

    • Trey

      Look at the DSO, which says 75. Do a web search and find out the location – that’s Phoenix. A cop car likely would have a DSO that would signify a special order.

      Additionally, the color code is conventional (again, do a web search), and cop cars generally had special order paint.

      • Utes

        @ Trey……
        & either certified speedo’s or speedo’s w/incremental 2-mph markings.

    • Terry J

      Yup RotaG, ’62 Biscayne. It was only in town one evening in about 1965. :-) Terry J

  14. fordfan

    Trick to driving a non power steering car is to try to keep it in motion while parking, my dad taught me that

  15. Gearhead

    I have a similar mystery ’65 Ford, although mine is a Galaxie ragtop. Equipped a lot like this car:300hp Z code 390, plain bench seat, 3 on the tree, manual steering and brakes. No other options that I can tell.

    I’d like to know the story. Why a 300hp big block paired with the column shift?

    FWIW, the manual steering and brakes aren’t hard to deal with. Doesn’t require lot of pedal pressure to stop, even with drums all around. Steering is geared so its not hard to turn, as long as you keep moving like fordfan says. It does take a lot of turns of the wheel.

    The clutch pedal, however, is a leg beaker. Its a good thing I’m a cyclist and have strong legs!

  16. Morley Member

    This is or was the same car sort of–except for the bigger engine and four speed

  17. Morley Member

    First was the engine and now the car

  18. chad

    Love “the lines” right B4 the muscle cars (bump over the rear wheel). I’d goferit if a wagon!

  19. Terry J

    Yup me too. Dicks folks bought a new one, Galaxie 2 door HT with lots of options. Dark forest green with a white top. 352 V8/auto wasn’t a big deal, but what a very nice car. :-) Terry J

    • boxdin

      As advertised at the time the LTD 4 door was quieter than a Rolls Royce !! The ad showed people in the back enjoying the quiet ride with microphones around.
      And ford said at the time the hubcaps on the LTD were inspired by a torque converter.
      The 4 door hardtop 65 LTD was a good looking car.

  20. Chuck Cobb

    Can’t believe someone won’t change the 3 speed to a 4 speed, add some slicks and go racing.

  21. DENIS

    I like it in spite of the color…I’m old enough to remember these broom-peddler post cars with nothing on em. I remember a guy from my hometown got a mustard-colored cheapie-new ’61-with a bad-ass 406/3 speed, beanie hubcaps…you just knew it had to be a 6 cyl(til you tried to pass him…

    • Trey

      406 didn’t come out till ’62.

  22. Terry Johnson

    UTES : “tes
    Dec 12, 2016 at 10:13am
    @ Terry Johnson…..
    ’59 Ford’s never had 430’s, & Chevrolet didn’t produce 327’s until ’62….

    None the less UTES, After reviewing my memory banks, the 1959 Ford ex sheriffs car owned by my sister for a number of years circa 1967 did have a 430 engine. Also to retract an earlier statement to RotaG, The bright red ex Fire Chiefs (?) 2 door Biscayne that the town tried out circa 1965 did have a 327 and was in fact a 1961. I’ve been aroung long enough to know by experience that the “books” or these days the “internet” doesn’t always tell the whole story about real cars in the real world. :-) Terry J

  23. Morley Member

    Thunderbirds had 430 engines as an option in 59

  24. Terry Johnson

    From “Jalopy Journal” : In a discussion on another forum one of the members said he remembered reading in an ’80s “Collectible Automobile” magazine that the 430 was available in the standard Fords in addition to the T-birds. So today I looked it up, since I have that mag, but didn’t remember that. The article, by Tim Howley appeared in the Oct. ’86 issue. Here’s what it says…

    “Not generally known is the fact that you could get the 350-bhp Lincoln Mercury 430 V-8 on the standard Fords as well as the Thunderbird this year, though it wasn’t listed for the passenger models and was thus rarely ordered.”​

    In that JJ forum was another guy who knew of a 430 Ford. Curious. The rest of that JJ forum were comments by others that said” Not true,not true” . Kinda like a stock fuel Injected 283 c i 1959 Impala that I saw in an ad once. :-) Terry J

    • Trey

      Magazine articles are not the arbiter of truth when it comes to automotive history. As much esteem as CA has, writers sometimes use original literature that don’t always tell the whole story due to running changes, etc.

      The 1959 Ford police and emergency brochure makes no mention of anything bigger than a 352, but again brochures are not the last word.

      But they did build fuelie Chevys in 1959.

  25. Terry J

    Oh sure Trey, Also a rural County car could have any engine in it that the Sheriff or Fire Chief wanted his shop to install, or a subsequent owner for that matter. I was doing 85 ish and got pulled over on the freeway circa 1975 by a Deputy that rolled up on me in an unmarked 1964 Plymouth with a chunk of the grill missing. Looked like a beater. Lord only knows what was under the hood, but I saw him waaay back there and then he was on my bumper. Told me that that old Fury was a big money maker for the Department. :-) Terry J

  26. Morley Member

    Guys, look in the Ford parts book, In 58/59/ a “J” code was for a 430 Mercury/Lincoln engine. It was available in all Fords in 58/60 , but mostly in installed in Thunderbirds. It was also available in the T-Bird in 60. Morley

  27. Trey

    The parts book doesn’t determine what was available and what wasn’t, just like an omission doesn’t mean it wasn’t available.

    I seriously doubt the 430 was available in a Ford aside of the Thunderbird.

  28. Morley Member

    I kind of agree with you about the J code being in a regular Ford, You would think one would have shown on Ebay, or Barrett Jackson by now, but it wasn’t that uncommon in the T-Bird. Those I have seen. Morley

  29. John C Cargill

    That was after my dad had moved away from the base model habit, his last was a 59 4 door, rubber floor, no radio. he had 64,66,68.Galaxies, and 70 Ltd. All different v8s. In college I had a 59 Ford Custom no radio, rubber floors, 6 stick, no armrests, one visor. real stripper, All I did was put portawalls on it and a stock radio, with additional speakers. Great car.

  30. Brad Black

    This car now lives in Canton Ohio. Being restored as we speak. Changing to correct type 4 speed. Same color. Rubber floors. The frame and bottom of this car is truly rust free. Going up in the air like a 60’s car should be.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      Thanks for the update Brad!

    • Morley Member

      Brad, thanks for the update. Good luck, here is a picture of mine. Wish I had your rubber floor mat

  31. Brad Black

    The rubber mats are available thru Auto Custom Carpet. Dealer is Raybuck. 800 352 8316. If 4 speed part number 3112.

  32. Morley Member

    Thanks Brad, Morley

  33. Brad Black

    Morley, what tires and wheels are you using? I’m going up 3 1/2 inches.

  34. Morley Member

    This car had had a hard life drag racing. The chassis was more than a bit crude so it was swapped out for a 66 7 litre car. The new frame was cleaned and powder coated, all ne bushings and brakes-the stock disc up front, the rear end is the large 9 and 1/2 stock to seven litre cars. The suspension is all stock with neoprene bushings . Because of the disc brakes we used the stock ford wheels for that chassis and the tires are 225 70 by 15 . The gear is a 4;10. The tires are 28 inches in diameter. Everything seems to work quite well. It turns well, stops great and goes very quick. Anything you would like to know, just ask. I do not know everything but I am learning just like the rest of us. Morley

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.


WANTED Caterpillar Any Wanted Caterpillar , in any condition running or non running for restoration project parts machine Contact

WANTED 1970 or 1071 Ford Torino squire wagon Looking for nice car ready to drive. Might consider rust free car to build. Contact

WANTED Lancia Scout 4×4 55 Contact

Submit Your Want Ad