Dependable Driver: 1968 Ford Mustang GT California Special

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Ford sold 472,121 examples of its Mustang in 1967, and by any standard measure, it should have been sufficient cause to break out the champagne and toast a successful year. However, when viewed in the harsh light of day, that represented a sales slump of over 22% from the previous year’s record total. It faced the double whammy of potential market saturation and competition from the new Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird. The company devised strategies to help address the slump for 1968, including introducing some special edition models. Perhaps the most well-known was the 1968 Mustang GT California Special (GT/CS). Our feature car is one of those vehicles and is a tidy driver needing a new home. The seller has listed the GT/CS here on eBay in Hagerstown, Maryland. Bidding sits below the reserve at $16,401, but plenty of time remains for enthusiasts wishing to add this classic to their collection.

The California Special brought no performance enhancements to the table. Ford offered it exclusively on the Mustang’s Coupe model, and apart from the regular GT appointments, it featured many cosmetic upgrades that were previously exclusively available on Shelby models. These included the fiberglass side scoops, the integrated rear spoiler, and Shelby taillights. This CS presents well in Lime Gold, with its paint holding an impressive shine. There are flaws and defects for potential buyers to consider, including some substantial cracking on the passenger side rear quarter panel just below the scoop. This is slightly concerning because it looks like there could be Bondo there. It may be innocent or indicate previous rust repairs that are rearing their ugly head. Any further issues are minor, with the seller not mentioning the presence of rust in the floors, rails, or torque box region. The trim and badges are correct for this classic and are in good order, as is the tinted glass.

The original owner ordered this Mustang with its interior trimmed in Black vinyl. Slight sagging and stretching on the driver’s seat are the only genuine signs of use, with the remaining upholstered surfaces looking excellent. The headliner is wrinkled on one rear pillar, but the dash, pad, plastic, and carpet show no signs of problems. The original owner ordered this CS with air conditioning, but when the buyer purchased the vehicle, the system was missing. A meticulous buyer might choose to source the parts to reinstate the A/C, and genuine components in good condition regularly appear on the usual online auction sites to achieve that goal. Aftermarket additions include the console and an AM/FM radio/cassette player.

Buyers ordering a GT/CS in 1968 faced a broad selection of engines to power their new purchase. This Mustang features a C-Code 289ci V8, while the remaining major mechanical components include a three-speed automatic transmission and power steering. The C-Code isn’t the most powerful engine in the Mustang’s armory, but it still provided effortless cruising and a wonderful V8 exhaust note. The seller recently treated this classic to a new rear pinion seal, a rear main seal, a differential seal, a timing chain, an oil pump, a thermostat, radiator hoses, wheel cylinders, stainless steel brake lines, and a brake proportioning valve. They describe it as a dependable driver-quality vehicle, suggesting it is set to hit the road with a new owner behind the wheel.

Motoring history is littered with special or limited edition models that manufacturers used to entice buyers into their showrooms. The 1968 Mustang GT/CS was one of those vehicles, but it proved to be more limited than the company intended. Planners envisaged a production run of 5,000 cars, but only 4,118 buyers were willing to part with an additional $194.31 for one of these classics. This one isn’t perfect, but it is a tidy driver. Recent sales results suggest there is a fair way to go before bidding passes the reserve, but the twenty-five bids submitted at the time of writing suggest it will probably happen. If you have craved a tidy First Generation Mustang, might you consider pursuing this one further?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Rickirick

    Not a bad asking price. Owner has sank good $$$ into it. However, the only thing special about it is that it has “California” graphics on it. Bottom line: it’s still a 289 GT.

    Like 3
    • Philip S

      No asking price is listed.

      Like 3
      • Rickirick

        Read it again. 1st paragraph states “bidding sits at $16,401, below reserve”.

        Like 3
    • Philip

      How is that an asking price? high bid is $16,401, BELOW reserve. What is reserve (asking price), do you know?
      Just stop and think, no worries.

      Like 4
      • Rickirick

        Contact seller on eBay & ask. He won’t tell you. That’s only way to know. Go ahead. No worries.

        Like 2
  2. orca17

    I did have a seller tell me once what his reserve price was. I should have bought the car but didn’t.

    Like 2

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