Highly Optioned: 1965 Ford Mustang

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We see our share of First Generation Mustangs at Barn Finds, but this is understandable when you combine their high production totals with their ongoing desirability. Sometimes one stands out for the right reasons, as is the case with this 1965 model. It has sat for years and requires total restoration. However, its generally solid nature and list of desirable options help make it a tempting project candidate. It is listed here on Craigslist in Phoenix, Arizona. It could be yours for an affordable $7,800, and I must say a big thank you to Barn Finder T.J. for spotting it.

The faded state of the Vintage Burgundy paint on this Mustang is unsurprising because the Arizona sun can exact a high toll on the finish. The seller states it has sat for over twenty years and requires love to return to its former glory. The panels wear an assortment of marks and bruises, and there are a couple of missing items. However, nothing appears beyond repair, and the availability of replacement parts should make addressing those issues a walk in the park. The White vinyl top is lifting in spots, justifying replacement to prevent rust from developing beneath. It’s a First Generation Mustang, meaning we need to cover the subject of rust. Externally, it looks relatively clean. I can spot issues in the lower door corners that are candidates for patches, there may be some developing in the lower rear quarter panels, and there is a spot in the lower decklid. Otherwise, there is nothing that would be difficult to tackle. The floors also seem pretty solid. One section requires repair or replacement, but the rest of the underside wears nothing but the occasional dusting of surface corrosion. The engine bay requires close examination because I think I can spot the typical deterioration of the battery tray. I’ve scratched my head over the shock towers because the paint there looks fresher than the rest of the engine bay. It makes me wonder whether it might hide some earlier repairs. I always recommend an in-person inspection if possible, and this spot justifies close examination. The rails look good, as does the torque box region. The tinted glass and styled steel wheels appear excellent, but the optional luggage rack will probably divide opinions. Some trim pieces require replacement, but this restoration could be straightforward if an inspection reveals no hidden surprises.

Opening the doors exposes one area where the original owner “made merry” with their pen when ordering this Mustang. They added air conditioning, a console, and the desirable Rally Pac gauges to a car that already ticked the right boxes. The interior requires plenty of TLC, but it is complete and unmolested. A trim kit would seem the logical approach, with high-quality ones that would recapture the car’s former glory retailing for under $2,000. That sounds like a significant sum to spend on one aspect of the build, but it is a wise and justifiable investment. It would lift the presentation to a factory-fresh state, and if installed correctly and treated respectfully, it should still present nicely in another fifty-eight years. That makes it worth the cost.

Most readers will feel warm and fuzzy when they lift this classic’s hood to find a V8 in residence, and those feelings will intensify when they discover it is the A-Code version of the sweet 289 that churned out 225hp in its prime. The original owner ticked the boxes beside the three-speed automatic transmission and power assistance for the steering and four-wheel drum brakes. The A-Code trod the middle ground in the Mustang range, allowing this car to cover the ¼-mile in 15.8 seconds before winding its way to 123mph. The seller indicates this Mustang doesn’t run, and it may not have fired a shot since it went into barn storage more than twenty years ago. There is evidence someone may have had fun with the reliable old rattle cans at some point, with the valve covers, air cleaner lid, and shock tower braces all showing signs of a prior refresh. It is unclear whether that sweet little V8 turns freely, but if it does, reviving it may not be difficult.

The lack of significant rust in this 1965 Mustang is no surprise considering its location. It would make it an ideal restoration candidate for someone considering a hands-on approach, and there’s no doubt it would attract attention for the right reasons once the new owner completes their work. Considering some First Generation projects we’ve seen at Barn Finds, this car looks comparatively affordable. This is especially so when you assess the desirable options it features. Is that enough to tempt you to pursue it further?

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  1. CadmanlsMember

    Looks a little rough here and there but all in all doesn’t look a bad buy. In today’s market could be a steal and price is negotiable. What’s not to like.

    Like 11
  2. GuernseyPagoda

    Posting is Already deleted

    Like 1
  3. Dennis atjaden

    The valve covers and air cleaner should be gold not red that color was for 260’5

    Like 0
  4. Howie

    This weeks Jay Leno video on You Tube is a great one on a 64 1/2 Mustang.

    Like 2
  5. DA

    I’d make a guess that there is more to the story than the few pictures really show. Usually, old vehicle that have been non-running for a long time need more, not less.

    Like 0
  6. CCFisher

    Cougar wheels.

    Like 0

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