Early Build? 1965 Ford Mustang Convertible

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Through the mid-1964 storied launch of the Mustang and the rest of the 1965 model year, Ford built more than 94,000 “pony car” convertibles. Most of them have since disappeared from our landscape except this one (which is not far from it). The ’65 Mustang drop-top here is a project that will require most everything, especially some new sheet metal. It’s located in Wilmington, Delaware, and available here on eBay where the bidding stands at just $2,700.

Mustangs built through August/September 1964 are sometimes referred to as 1964½ models, but all of the hot, new cars produced before the 1966 model year were titled as ‘65s. There are some differences between the two runs, such as the switch from a 260 to a 289 cubic inch V8 after the first few months. And alternators would replace generators. The seller indicates this Mustang was built in September, so it could be considered an “early” Mustang, but it has the 289 and an alternator from what we can tell.

We assume this Ford has been sitting for quite some time and was subject to the whims of Mother Nature. It’s said to have been running when it was parked, but just how long ago was that? The engine (with a 2-barrel carburetor) does not turn over, so you should assume it was need rebuilding along with the C4 automatic transmission. The car came with factory air conditioning, which was rare for convertibles in the mid-1960s.

The body is in rough shape and calling it a rust bucket is not an overstatement. The undercarriage is quite crusty and the trunk is just one giant hole. The doors have lots of corrosion and the rear end of the car is practically dragging the ground, so what problems does that suggest? Although the dashboard looks good, the upholstery is shot and the ragtop is, well, rags at this stage. The seller says “what you see is what you get” so if something is not visible in the photos, you should assume it’s not there. Is this a viable project or should you seek out a better candidate?

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  1. jageaterMember

    Both the 260 and the 289 were available for 1964 1/2. The D code had a 289, and that code ended when the K code came available. The alternator could be a giveaway as it was not available for the 1964 1/2, but it could still be a 1964 1/2 with the generator replaced with an alternator. However, the easiest to tell giveaway is several very big louvers in front of the battery. They were used to cool the battery. There were not just regular louvers, they were made for Ford by an airplane manufacturer, so much larger than regular car louvers. Very difficult to fake.

    Like 5
  2. jageaterMember

    the headlight surrounds and hood were different too, but they can be obtained from a wrecked 1964 1/2.

    Like 2
  3. CCFisher

    The cutoff for “1964.5” Mustangs is generally accepted as mid-August, 1964. This car, with a September 9, 1964 build date, is not a “1964.5” car, though it may still have a few holdover items from the early cars.

    Like 2
  4. mike

    All it needs is everything….very rusty is an under statement

    Like 4
  5. Classic Steel

    The shark type gilles around the grille is also s give away for 64.5 Stang

    Like 0
  6. Maggy

    Ummmm….I don’t think I ‘d look for a better one to restore, I KNOW I would. Too much rust.Parts car material.imo.

    Like 4
  7. Horst N Burgert

    Unfortunately this is at best a parts car to far gone ;rusted in my opinion & to serve better a car in more solid shape !!

    Like 0
  8. pwtiger

    Doesn’t the gas tank go into the big hole in the trunk?

    Like 5
    • Henry DavisMember

      That big hole in the trunk IS the gas tank!

      Like 4
  9. Troy

    I know its the wrong car but the top missing with the frame up reminds me of the movie planes trains and automobiles, this one is to far gone for me to tackle getting it back on the road.

    Like 1
  10. DA

    The seller would do better to remove the various trim components that are bright and let mother nature reclaim what already hasn’t been. Way too far gone.

    Like 0
  11. Henry DavisMember

    These aren’t all that rare, and there are plenty of others out there that’d be easier to restore. Save the data plate, the rest for parts.

    Like 1
  12. angliagt angliagtMember

    Title should be “Early Bird Get’s the Tin Worm”.

    Like 0
  13. Stan Campbell

    As stated, mid-August was cut-off for 64 1/2. Also VINs over 250000 are not considered as “64 1/2” cars

    Like 0

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