Front Bench: 1965 Mustang Convertible

1965 Mustang Convertible

Not only is this Mustang a 289 V8 equipped convertible, but it also has the rare front bench seat option! Well, relatively rare. We are talking about Mustangs here, but the fact that it was fitted to a nicely equipped convertible makes it very cool. With the droptop, automatic transmission, and seating for six skinny people, this could be the ultimate parade day and Friday night cruiser! You’re going to have to really love that idea though because this is going to be a big project. It’s located in Verona, Kentucky and is listed here on eBay where bidding is at $1,935 with only a day left!

Front Bench

Here’s a shot of the front bench seat. Most people opted for the buckets when ordering their Mustangs, so it’s an interesting option to find in such a tricked out car. Perhaps the buyer was thinking about all the top down summer fun they were going to have with all their friends though. The restoration of this thing is going to take a while, so at least the next owner will have some time to trim down before inviting five friends to join them on that maiden voyage.

Top Down

They will want to keep that happy image fresh in the mind too because this project is going to be daunting. Luckily, Mustang parts availability is second to none. There are multiple for sources for just about any bit that may need replacing and prices aren’t all that bad either. The real challenge here though is going to be the rust repair on the underside. These are unibody, so severe corrosion in lower body can really cause problems. You can get the metal needed to repair everything, but unless you have the skills, you may want to outsource the job so it gets done right. Just keep that happy image in your head!

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    Only 2,111 Mustang convertibles came with bench seats in ’65. Of the over half a million sold that year, I’d say it was a pretty rare option. I’ve never seen a Mustang with a bench seat. The car, however, looks like a handful. I’d think it would be easier to put the bench seat in a good Mustang. Way too much work for me.

  2. redwagon

    you mean i should buy this and restore it because it has a bench seat?

    really?

    sorry. no.

  3. JW454

    I had a friend who had a Mustang coupe with the bench seat. I think his was a 1967. That’s the only one I remember seeing in person.

  4. Stang1968

    Floors look terrible. Probably needs cowl, torque boxes, kick boards in addition to rear frame rails. Suprising shock towers look good. Trunk isn’t half bad. Lots missing, and I don’t see the original 289 but I read the eBay to see if it’s included. If it’s cheap I think at current bid it’s worth it.

  5. Al D

    Rare does not equal desireable with a bench seat. I’ve never heard of someone looking for one to buy for the seat. It looks like a doable car if you can DIY and get it at no more than 3k.. The missing stuff that would have been reusable can nickel-and-dime you into a hole if you’re not careful.

    I just dragged one out of a barn (really) that has never been apart and is complete. Needs most of the same work as this one.

  6. Natec

    If this is an original bench seat Mustang then why is there a shifter hole in the floor and no shifter on the column? Swapped out by a previous owner maybe???

    • Karo

      They were all floor shift; no column shift.

      • Jim

        I’m not a Mustang guro(?) but one of my tech’s when I was service mgr at a Ford Lincoln Mercury dealer had a bench seat, column shift, bare bones 6cylinder automatic coupe Mustang his mom bought while she was in college, 30,000 original miles and dam near perfect. Maybe it was an oddball option. I remember a 68Firebird a buddy bought for parts that was similar, bench seat and column shift automatic, another strange car.

      • Rocco

        @Jim,
        If you saw a Mustang with a column shifter(from the Ford factory), you saw a mirage. Ford never made a Mustang(in any year) with a column shifter(auto or stick).
        I’ve seen several ’65-’66 Mustangs with the bench seat(had one once). The bench was the option, as bucket seats were standard on all Mustangs.

    • Bill McCoskey

      This car was equipped not with stick shift, but the floor shift automatic. [The shifter is in the center of the trans tunnel, not off to the left side as with stick shift.]

      The VIN and data plate will confirm the car had a bench seat from new, if it has the body code 76C.

      That’s assuming the driver’s door has not been replaced. Some idiot at Ford decided to put the VIN/data tag on the driver’s door, but Ford did use rivets to hold the plate onto the door as required by Federal law! But on a door that can be removed with a 9/16 socket wrench. I’ve seen plenty of early Ford vehicles with replaced driver’s doors that still had the VIN tag from the donor car, hence the VIN tag didn’t match the title!

      I worked for a local Ford dealer while in college. They had a used 65 or 66 Mustang coupe on the lot with a bench seat, I’d never seen one before. I was friends with the sales manager. He said the bench seat was standard on the 6 cylinder cars, & optional [at no charge] on the V8 cars. He said most of the bench seat cars happened because the sales staff didn’t specify bucket seats, so the car would be delivered with a bench seat! I remember him mentioning a few bench seat Mustangs being converted to bucket seats in order to sell the cars.

      • Karo

        Buckets were standard, 6 and V-8. Interior choice (buckets, bench, decor group aka pony) could be specified on any car, although you couldn’t get a fastback with a bench.

      • Rocco

        @Bill,
        The shifter hole in the center of the trans tunnel is where all trans shifters protruded. 6 cyl., V-8, auto., 3-speed, 4-speed. ALL ’65-’73 had the same location for all shifters.
        Your sales manager was mistaken about his bench seat scenario. Bucket seats were standard in all Mustangs.

    • Rocco

      @Natec,
      A lot of cars in the ’60’s had floor shifters with bench seats. Chevelle, Impala, Galaxie, GTO, Nova, etc.
      The Ford Mustang was the first car to have bucket seats and seat belts as standard equipment.

      • Jim

        I’ll see him this fall at one of the shows and get a picture of it and the trim plate. I know it wasn’t altered and it only belonged to his mom and him. He’s a believer(unlike myself) in keeping cars original, he’s got the patience to find and use only NOS parts, about four years ago he picked up a twisted rusted shell of a Boss 429, that’ll be a beauty when done. I’ll stay in touch.

  7. Karo

    I own a ’66 Mustang convertible with a bench seat (it’s called model 76C). Also dark blue (“Nightmist Blue” in ’66-’67) with a blue interior (white top, the car also has a 289 2-barrel, power top, factory A/C and the AM/8-track, automatic [it was built with a 3-speed but converted to C-4 before my time). Built really late in the model year (Aug. 1, 1966) at Dearborn.

    The bench is not for three passengers, but two. More of a “flight bench” as Ford called it later. There are only two seat belts in the front. They built 3,190 in ’66 out of more than 607,000 total that year.

    • Natec

      Thanks for the education. Obviously there is always something new to learn when it comes to old cars. 👍

  8. Karo

    This is the interior. “Rosette” vinyl is what Ford called it in ’66.

    • Karo

      You could get the bench in red, blue or black (no aqua, the other standard interior color), plus parchment with burgundy, blue, black, aqua, ivy gold, palomino or emberglo appointments depending on your exterior color. Price of the bench seat was $23 and change if I recall correctly.

      • Karo

        Here’s a red bench ’66. It’s really more like two bucket seats with a fold-down armrest. Interesting to see with a Rally Pac on this one; that option cost $63 and was also a stand-alone.

  9. Prowler

    I think I would rather buy another boat or maybe a motor home before throwing all that money in a Mustang
    Bench seat or not

  10. Jim

    I’ve done a few Mustangs with friends, my fabrication skills have gotten good but personally if it’s not a fastback I’m not interested. Please God don’t let any friends but this car, a few more miles of wire and my mig welder will have to be replaced. All kidding aside, someone will buy it and throw a ton of money at it. Good luck.

  11. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    They sold over a million Mustangs in 1965 but 1966 production dropped to 607,568. My dad had a few bench seat cars among his herd but they are rare through the years….most folks want the buckets.

    Like 1
    • Al D

      Don’t forget that the 1965 models ran for an extra 5 months. Also the 1 millionth wasn’t sold until well into the 1966 run in March 1966.

  12. Chuck Foster 55chevy Chuck F

    A dynacorn full sheet metal floor is only $600, that will save a lot of time on floor panels, I agree Mustang parts are very available, but they are second to one vehicle, a VW Beetle, or maybe it’s a tie. The prices are reasonable as well, since they made so many of them, I’ve always loved convertibles, but prefer a fastback, and have a 1965 restoration project waiting in line.

  13. Jim

    I love the fastback styling, good luck with the project.

  14. Charles

    Again, why waste your time, effort, and $$$$$$$$$ to restore this rust bucket??? Go to eBay, Hemmings, etc. and buy a Mustang ready to go!

    • Al D

      Because I can.

      • leiniedude leiniedude Member

        Thanks for saving another one Al D!

  15. Mike Williams

    Open both doors and it will probably break in half.

  16. Rocco

    The rockers and floor panels are reinforced on ‘verts. Just open the door on one and look at how wide the rockers are.

  17. Jen

    My ’65 V8 Mustang project car came with a red front bench seat. Perfect shape too, but we just bought a pair of used buckets to put in instead so that my hubby can adjust the seat location etc. Wonder what I should sell it for or maybe just hold on to it?!?!

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