California Special: 1968 Ford Mustang GT

This 1968 Ford Mustang GT California Special is another nice car introduced to us by Ikey Heyman. The car is said to be in very good condition with no rust. The Mustang GT/CS is located in San Bruno, California and is listed for sale here on craigslist. The seller is asking a very reasonable $21,000. Painted in Meadowlark Yellow, the car was built in February 1968 and is one of 4,118 California Special Mustangs built-in 1968. The Mustang GT/CS was the brainchild of the Ford Southern California District Sales Manager Lee Grey

The black vinyl interior features low back bucket seats with a clean appearance and an aftermarket steering wheel wrap. The Mustang is optioned with power steering, power brakes, Selectaire air conditioning, AM Radio, deluxe seat belts, and an automatic transmission. The seller says the exterior paint and the interior are original and the car has traveled only 68,000 miles. The VIN on all GT/CS Mustangs starts with “8R01” as does this fine example.

The car still retains its original 289 cubic inch V8 engine. Based on the Marti Report, this is a C Code 289 cubic inch engine. The motor is backed by a C-4 automatic transmission and the rear axle houses a 2.79 gearing. The two-door coupe is said to have good power and all the accessories are operational. The glass looks good and this appears to be a nice survivor. The Mustang GT/CS package added $194.31 to the price of a Mustang. I like the side scoops even though they are non-functional.

While the Mustang GT/CS is just a cosmetic package and does not have any special performance parts, buyers could order what every Ford performance they wanted up to the 428 Cobra Jet engine. The rear tail lights for California Specials looked similar to the Shelby Mustangs (aka 1965 Thunderbird) and the cars were modified in San Jose California. I think these look great and this 2 door coupe with its California black plates looks great.


  1. Howard A Member

    My nephews 1st car was a ’67 coupe, one of my favorites. Even more rare than the Cal. Special, was the “High Country” Mustang, for Denver dealers with similar options. Naturally, we never heard of them in WISCONSIN,,,but we had our own “Special” Mustangs. Cool find.

    Like 5
  2. Steve Bush Member

    If everything checks out it should be a very nice car you can drive home today at a reasonable price. Why not buy something like this instead of paying similar prices for garbage that will need a ton of time, effort and cash to be this nice?

    Like 11
    • Steve R

      It appears you aren’t the only one that thought the same way since the ad has been deleted by its author. This is a nice looking car that someone can get in and enjoy immediately, that’s worth a premium.

      I grew up a few miles south of the sellers location. California Specials we’re common in the 80’s, most were in good shape since they were not popular among “hot rodders”, largely because they sold at a premium compared to regular Mustang’s and were considered gimmicky. The older women loved them so they probably survived in relatively high numbers.

      Steve R

      Like 7
  3. JBD

    Real CS ‘68 Mustangs are bringing nice prices. There are a lot of clones so the Marti Report is a must.

    Like 2
  4. rextreme Member

    Should have made a fastback version!

    Like 2
  5. glenn hilpert

    I lived a about a mile from the San Jose(Milpitas) plant during the 60’s. A High School buddy’s Father was a supervisor out there and took us on several tours in the day. I was surprised as to how many models were made at the plant including Cougars. This was a 16 year old’s dream to see all these vehicles being produced. A neighbor around the corner had a red with white striped CS and that car was sharp.

    Like 3
  6. E. Jason Pelletier

    Nice Mustang, but is missing the correct California Special fog lights. Instead has the regular production in grille fog lights. Something must have happened in the front to have caused them to be removed.

    Like 1
  7. WCG

    This must have been a hoax. In this condition the car is worth A LOT more than the asking price and it’s no longer on Craigslist. Too bad I would have bought it for $21k in a nanosecond and flipped it.

    Like 3
  8. E. Jason Pelletier

    Nice Mustang, but the grille with the factory fog lights is incorrect for a California Special. Should have either the Lucas or Marchal fog lights and a black out grille.

    Like 2
  9. Troy s

    It’s a good looking ride that hints at being a performance car, which it isn’t. I get it, Ford sold a lot of cars where the excitement ended once underway. After all, how many 428 CJ Mustangs were actually built? Not really that many, especially in ’68.
    I like the look of these California Specials, always have, neighbor had one, actually a few blocks away, with some built engine and flowmaster 2 chambers on it. Could here that thing rapping for what seemed like miles away.

    Like 0
  10. Fran

    I wish “barn finds” we’re actually “barn finds!!!”

    Like 2
  11. Bill Hall

    When this was new in 68 we had a Nieghbor Ford Dealer who’s wife and son were ocassional customer. The Son had a neat California Special. I don’t recall what motor but it was a 4 speed. Even a 289 4 Speed would a neat piece and I am sure rather rare.

    Like 1
  12. Steve

    Just a comment to the author of this article regarding the VIN. 8R01 does not indicate a California Special – 8R01 only indicates that it was a ’68 San Jose built 2 door coupe – this part of the VIN does not indicate a California Special edition. California Special is not determined by any character of the VIN.

    Like 5
  13. Erik

    When it comes to the post being already pulled down…Who are we all kidding here? Likely the buyer was a dealer who snapped it up and it will then be up for sale again soon at a much higher price. What one can hope is that this was instead maybe a case where the modest seller was selling his car at a fair price that made him happy and in turn made the modest buyer happy by getting the car at a fair price? You know this is still a possibility out there…rare but still happens. And hopefully it was a seller and a buyer that have not “bought” into the mentality of “I’ve got gold here and I am a gold prospector and will wait until I get a foolish gold prospector to come along” that is sadly so rampant in 2020. Our beloved classic car hobby used to be a hobby where sellers and buyers had an appreciation for old used cars and in turn had a respect for each other as hobbyists and this respect even applied when it came to selling or buying. By all means, every once in a while you had “gold prospectors” but we all laughed them off and said “Must think they have gold…pffftt!” as you watched their car be perpetually for sale year after year unless some deep pocketed uniformed new to the scene buyer came along. But for most part, our hobby thrived because of respect for the hobby, for classic cars, and for fellow hobbyists, and that is what allowed these cars to survive decades under one owner or a sequence of owners and as original unrestored or at some point restored. And here we are today with these cars still out there to be enjoyed. But now most of us hobbyists stand on the sidelines of our beloved hobby because of the hobby overrun by “gold prospectors”. But there are still sellers and buyers out there that respect the hobby and each other and now that is where one needs to keep digging for until the fair priced classic car is found. Keep hope…they are still out there!

    Like 2
  14. Retiredstig Member

    While earlier advertising indicated that first the 427, and then the 428 would be available with the GT/CS package, this did not happen, the S Code 390 was the top engine. It is presumed this was to avoid the obvious competition with the GT500.
    There are some documented High Country Specials with the 428 however, less than a half dozen.

    Like 0

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