Mustang Fastback Showdown

1965 Ford Mustang Fastback

After seeing Larry’s project the other day, we were reminded of just how much we love the looks of the Mustang Fastback. It’s easy to see why the Mustang made such a splash when it hit the road in ’64. It offered classic styling and performance that anyone can enjoy. For us, the list of pros has almost turned into a list of cons. Not because we don’t love V8 performance, great looks, or fun handling, but because the features that made it desirable to regular car guys has ironically driven prices up and out out of regular car guy territory. There are seemingly great deals out there for projects, but sometimes you’re better off spending a little more to get a better car. We found two Mustang Fastbacks on eBay and thought we would compare which is the better deal. Take a look at our contenders, a ’65 Fastback with bidding at $12k and a ’66 Fastback with bidding at $5k.

1966 Ford Mustang Fastback

Now for those that say, “But there is a huge difference between a ’65 and a ’66 Mustang!” There are differences, but not a significant difference in price. The biggest differences between these cars that impacts value are condition and options. Since condition is our key concern, we are going to focus on it as a deciding factor, not that options shouldn’t play a role in making a decision though. Just looking at these two Pony cars, one can instantly identify which is in better condition on the outside. Of course your mother probably taught you not to judge a book by its cover, but this is one case where it’s not only allowed, it’s encouraged. Fixing rust, body damage, and paint can get expensive, so buying a car that has a clean body and paint makes sense (cents). The ’65 wins this comparison hands down. It has flaws and imperfections, but should polish up nicely and will save thousands of dollars in the long run.

Mustang Comparison - interiors

The interior is one area that is often overlooked during the buying process, but really shouldn’t be. Not only can replacing an interior get costly, it also tells you a lot about previous owners and how they treated the car. Finding parts for the Mustang is rather easy, so we aren’t too concerned with that, but the cost is always a concern. Both cars need attention on the inside, but again the ’65 wins this one. We will note that both have interesting interior options. The ’65 is white on white, which isn’t a very common combination, and the ’66 came with the Rally-Pac gauges and the Deluxe interior. Very cool.

Mustang Comparison - motors

Again, the engines in both cars are similar in specs but very different in terms of condition. They both came with the 289 V8, although the ’65 came with the higher power A code motor instead of the base C code like the ’66, but let’s not get too focus on options. Both cars were found outdoors, so neither was running when discovered. The ’66 was seized, so the seller put oil on the cylinders and now has it turning. The seller of the ’65 on the other hand has already gotten their Pony car up and running again. Yet again, this one goes to the ’65. Sure it’s more money, but you know you will be able to drive and enjoy your new purchase the moment the keys are in your hands.

Ford Mustang Comparo

With the Mustang’s 50th birthday fast approaching, we don’t see either of these sellers struggling to get rid of either of these cars. The question really isn’t if they are worth saving, it’s a matter of what they are worth in their current condition. Buying a running and driving car is always the better choice, but sometimes you just can’t bear to see a great car go to waste. So if you were shopping for a Mustang Fastback, would you pony up the extra cash to get the running and driving car or would you use the difference to fund a restoration?

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Comments

  1. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    Or you could just buy my Mustang and get air-conditioning…

  2. Rustang Fastback

    The white one might have visible rust, but it is probably not as rust free as advertised. A picture of the trunk in the eBay ad shows a plastic cowl cover. From the factory, Ford saved a few cents by not painting the cowl vent hats and just left them bare metal. The bare metal is not a huge issue if you live where it never rains and there are no trees (basically Arizonia), but if leaves or other material get in the cowl and are wet all of he time, it will rust out the “top hats”. When that happens water leakes onto your feet every time it rains or you wash the car. Replacement panels are cheap enough, but there is a TON of work in putting them into the car. For a cheap way to prevent the water from getting into your car, some guy created the plastic cowl vent cover.

  3. Peter R

    So Jesse – what is the Mustang which you are now willing to sell – air-conditioning is not an option for me – I need it. So tell us more
    BTW I would always buy the best I could reasonably afford while still leaving budget for getting it in shape – unless someone is planning a long-term restoration because that’s how the money will flow – I’d take the ’65 for sure no question in my mind

  4. JP

    Either way you’re spending the money, so what it really comes down to is how much of a project you want. But if the ’65 was outside, chances are the condition is not nearly as good as it looks at first glance. After giving it a thorough going over you might find yourself having to pull it all apart to do a proper restoration anyway. In that case I’ll take the ’66. At least you know what you’re getting and what you’re going to have to do from the get-go…

  5. SoCal Car Guy

    As I write this, the ’65 has been bid up to over $16,000 and reserve is not met. With a crap condition interior, lots of unknown as to structural integrity, true mechanical condition and who know how high a reserve, I’ll pass.

    The ’66 is a pile. Lots of rust that shows in the pics, probably tons more inside and underneath, and it’s been wrecked on the right front and very poorly repaired (the apron forward of the spring tower), both spring towers have have holes torched into the to access control arm bolts. It needs everything, and unless you are a highly skilled craftsman and builder with a well-equipped shop, just the professional labor will put you upside down for the next decade. Pass.

    The one “pro” I see on both is that all of the rare/unobtanium fastback only bits appear to be present on both cars.

  6. Dutch 1960

    The 65 gives a nice first impression. The white over white is an attractive and unusual combination. But the engine should not be blue, so figure that it may be a replacement, if one cares. There is no “numbers matching” thing for Ford engine blocks of this vintage, as far as I know. Would probably take a lot of time and money to get everything “proper”, but is likely worth it in long term value. The convertibles were always the ones to have, over the fastbacks or coupes, but it seems that the fastbacks have really risen in desirability in recent years.

    The 66 looks like a good candidate for hot rodding or a custom build of some sort.

    • MikeW

      Fastbacks have passed convertibles in value for the last 5 years.

  7. Gregory

    I recently purchased an unrestored 1966 Mustang fastback K code GT… I got lucky. Rust free San Jose built car, Wimbledon white , black deluxe interior. The underside is super clean, one respray that looks like it was done at Earl Scheib back in the 70’s… it’s bad. I drive the thing and It’s fun!! That’s what it’s about. I’d take the 65 I don’t have the time for a ground up .And if I did a ground up restore I’d be afraid to drive it.

  8. Charles

    For someone who wants a serious project, a rotted out, but nicely optioned rare numbers car might make sense. For me, if it’s rusty or bent up forget it. I work 70+ hours a week, and would have to pay someone to do the metal work.

    My two Trans AM’s are both low mileage original cars, that are very clean, and only needed odds and ends to be number 2 condition and still be mostly original. In other words a set of tires, a few hoses, belts, and a couple of minor mechanical repairs and both cars are ready to enjoy. We have been through this with the 86, and it is road ready, and still have to do this to the 82. It will be about the same deal though.

    I am undertaking the building of an 89 IROC into a Prostreet rod, and that is a big project for me. The body of the car is nearly perfect with no rust or previous damage. The Previous owner converted the car from an automatic car to a manual shift. Then his engine failed. My plans are to install a GM crate LS3 and a T56 six speed. By the time I get this car on the road, the parts bill will top 20K. Paint will costs another 4K. I will have a one of a kind IROC, with 550HP, but will still have about 3x the amount of money in this car as I have in my original TA’s. I will have 24K invested in a car that might be worth 10k for the right buyer. And the modified IROC will never be worth what the original TA’s are worth as they continue to appreciate a few hundred dollars each year. I am building this car because I want it to drive, not as an investment. Still, if it needed major metal work the costs would triple.

    65 and 66 Mustangs are far more collectable then thirdgen F-Body cars, however the principal is the same. Buy the rust bucket, spend 60 to 80K to restore it and it will sell for 40K at auction. I love to see old cars restored and preserved, however the costs of taking on a project that needs everything blows my mind. One can probably purchase a very nice original fastback Mustang for the less then the costs of rehabilitating one that has been rotting in a field for many years. There were so many Mustangs built, that they are not rare. They are very cool though.

  9. MikeW

    The 66 is a rust bucket and not worth saving, you will need a new shell and they are $16k alone. The 65 will take a close exam to determine it’s value, do not buy without a inspection.
    https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/classicmustang/

  10. bud kennedy

    cool, man………dude!

  11. Vanderwaal

    Yeah, I don’t think the ’66 is salvageable. Probably better off parting it out. There appears to be a lot of usable interior parts.

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