Driving Project: 1968 Ford XL Fastback 390

It is a fact of life that some classic cars will suit some people better than others. If you have a passion for vehicles that wear the blue oval badge, then a 1st Generation Mustang might seem like a fairly logical choice. However, if you also have teenage children, then getting them to fit in the back seat with any degree of comfort can become increasingly difficult with each passing day. That is where classics like this 1968 Ford XL Fastback might fit into the equation. It still wears the right badge, it still has a V8 under the hood, but it has ample rear leg and head-room for all but the tallest person. This one is a tidy example that can be driven and enjoyed immediately. It does need some restoration work, but that might also make it a wonderful Winter project to tackle with the teenager/s. It is located in Denver, North Carolina, and has been listed for sale here on craigslist. This one could be yours for $8,000. I have to say a big thank you to Barn Finder MattR for spotting this Ford for us.

The Fastback is a big car, and in Raven Black, it has a touch of menace about it. The owner does talk about this Ford’s originality and claims that the paint is as it left the factory. This is by no means a perfect car, but it does look like a strong candidate for restoration. Tackling the all-important issue of rust; There is some. The worst of this is in the front-right frame rail just back from the front wheel opening. The owner acknowledges that this will require repair, and it is one of the reasons he has placed a competitive price on the Ford. There is surface corrosion on the floors, but little in the way of penetrating rust. Externally, there are the typical spots of rust near the rear wheel openings. The rest of the panels appear to be quite good. The glass all looks good, but there are a few issues with some of the chrome. Once again, we’re talking about corrosion, and the bumpers will require restoration or replacement. The front one shouldn’t be an issue, but the rear does also have some minor damage.

Lifting the hood reveals a Z-Code 390ci V8, which should be pumping out 315hp. This is backed by a C6 transmission, while we also get power steering and power front disc brakes. This is a car that is not light. It will tip the scales at 4,025lbs. Even so, that 390 should push it through the ¼ mile in 16.1 seconds and on to a top speed of 127mph. This is an area where the news all seems to be good. The XL runs and drives well, and the owner takes it out at least once a week to keep the fluids moving. The transmission was rebuilt a few years back and still shifts smoothly. The vehicle has been fitted with a new dual exhaust, along with stainless steel brake lines. The brakes and water pump have all been replaced in the last 5-years, and the tires were replaced last year. It seems that this is a classic that is ready to be driven and enjoyed.

The interior will need a bit of work, but it does remain serviceable. The cover on the driver’s seat is ripped, but the rest of the upholstery seems to be in good condition. The dash pad has the all-too-common crack in the center and will need to be repaired or replaced. A new pad can be found for around $400, although the buyer might also choose to repair the existing pad. The shifter’s top has been replaced due to age, and this is not the correct color. The wheel also has a couple of typical cracks and will need to be repaired or replaced if the interior is to present at its best. The Fastback does come equipped with air conditioning, but this doesn’t blow cold. It sounds like a recharge might be on the cards for this one.

When you look across this 1968 XL Fastback and consider what it offers, it does appear to be a lot of car for your money. It is a classic that would look pretty special when restored, and it would still turn heads now. It would suit the sort of person who wants to get their entire family involved in the classic car ownership experience, and it would be a brilliant long-distance cruiser. It has only been on the market for a short time, so do you think it will sell quickly?

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  1. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    One of the best looking full size fastbacks Ford ever made and the color suits the car very well. The frame rot is very concerning but I suppose anything can be repaired by a skilled welder. I’d want to inspect every inch of the frame, though; especially aft of the rear wheels. It does need a good bit of money and time put into it if you’re seeking perfection but the buy-in is pretty reasonable. You’d certainly have something different. Personally, I prefer the ’69-’72 Galaxies having had a few but this one is close enough. These big Fords are great cars, especially for long trips and usually cheaper than comparable full size Chevys.

    Like 14
  2. Vance

    Being a Blue Oval guy, I have always loved this style of Ford. The hideaway lights gives it a bit sleeker look. In a previous write up, I had mentioned that these handled as most large heavy Fords of the time, and was chastised for saying these were heavy. Try pushing a 4000 lb car, this is a nice cruiser.

    Like 9
  3. local_sheriff

    Beautiful fastback alternative to a Torino and a great color combo. Hope the rot isn’t too comprehensive, this one seems too nice to write off

    Like 4
  4. Morgan Winter Member

    Great looking car, but the frame rust would make it a no-go for me. Still feeling the pain of frame rust on my two 67’s (Galaxie and Ranch Wagon, they had the same frame as this). We had the frames welded a couple times, they would just rust through in another spot. They tend to rust just ahead of the rear axle and also aft of the front wheels. I don’t think I’ll forget the thrill of having the axle cut loose on one side while accelerating out of the high school parking lot!

    Like 4
    • Phlathead Phil

      Just like in that scene in the movie American Graffiti huh? That was phunny!

    • Jim

      If your looking for frame parts I’m picking up a 67 for parts I will cutting up at some point here in California

  5. ChrisCo

    My mom had one in turquoise with a black interior in my junior high days circa mid 70s. Column shift. These really cool fullsize hotrods were everywhere for cheap in the midwest in the mid-70s. She had it because it was cheap. Great memories.

    Like 3
  6. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Agree with FordGuy1972…..one of the best big cars done right of the big three…those hideaways are always killer on a car.

    Like 1
  7. Phlathead Phil

    It’s a beauty for sure.

    Price ain’t too bad on glance. However, frame rot issue is concerning.

    There are ways to deal with it. Not cheap, but some gusseting and strategic welding can help a lot. Note: REMOVE THE GAS TANK FOR ANY CLOSE WELDING!

    Like 1

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