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Parked In ’87: 1965 Ford Mustang V8

Occasionally a classic car will appear on our desks here at Barn Finds, and we start to wonder what the backstory is behind it. That’s the case with this 1965 Mustang. It is a car that features a host of desirable options, but it has been parked since 1987. It has belonged to the same family since new, but the time has come for it to head to a new home. It is located in Douglass, Kansas, and has been listed for sale here on Craigslist. At $5,450, this is one of the cheapest complete Mustang project cars that I have seen for a while. I have to say a big thank you to Barn Finder Sam A for spotting this little pony for us.

I’ve looked at the photos of this Mustang, and I can’t decide whether it is covered in dust or whether it might have been wet and dirty when it went into storage. I tend to lean towards the latter theory, and it appears that this might have produced the sort of result that you would expect with a 1st Generation Mustang. The car wears its original Raven Black paint and White vinyl top, although both have seen better days. There is rust for the buyer to contend with, which has impacted many of the lower body surfaces. None of the exterior rust is beyond repair, but it will take some time and effort to address it. The worry is what might be lurking below the surface. The owner says that the frame is “straight,” but it isn’t clear whether that means that it is structurally sound. Having said that, there is one crumb of comfort with this vehicle. The engine bay is quite dusty, but there is no evidence of the sorts of surface rust that can appear due to long-term exposure to a damp environment. That means that the Mustang might have spent the past three decades somewhere relatively dry. If that is the case, then it has the potential to be good news.

The Mustang isn’t numbers-matching, but it did start its life with a C-Code 289ci V8 under the hood. It received a transplant of a new 289 back in 1982, but the specifications of this new engine are unknown. Hooked to the back of the V8 are a 4-speed manual transmission and a 2.80 standard rear end. The original C-Code would have been producing 200hp, which was enough to propel the vehicle through the ¼ mile in 16.1 seconds. That would be the minimum that you might expect from the replacement, but it could also have received some upgrades to boost those figures. It isn’t clear what sort of state the engine is in, but if it was healthy when parked and still turns freely, getting it running again might not be difficult. What I find encouraging here is the fact that while it’s all pretty dusty, there is no evidence of issues like the build-up of green corrosion on the battery terminals. That suggests that the car was well maintained before the owner parked it.

Given the overall state of the exterior, the interior of the Mustang is interesting. I mean, it isn’t going to win any prizes, but its overall condition is a lot better than I was expecting. The dash cap is wrinkled, and the front seats will need new covers. Beyond that, it would be interesting to see how it all responded to a couple of weekends of hard work with some high-quality cleaners. I think that the result would be a pleasant surprise. The original owner ticked a lot of right boxes when they ordered this classic. As well as tinted glass, it is equipped with air conditioning, an AM radio, a full console, and the really cool Rally Pac gauges.

The owner of this 1965 Mustang raises the possibility of it serving as a donor car. If it is structurally sound, that would be a real shame. If it is physically sound, then it could be a great project car. It might not command mega-dollars once restored, but the combination of options makes it something quite interesting. Given the engine replacement that was performed and the equipment that it features, I wonder why the Mustang was parked in the first place. I wonder whether there was a story behind that or whether the car suffered some form of issue that motivated the owner to place it in storage. Do we have any readers that would be tempted to pursue this one further?


  1. Avatar photo FordGuy1972 Member

    The price seems reasonable but it all depends on how bad the rust is underneath. It’s nicely optioned with A/C and a desirable manual trans. I would want more info on the engine and a good look at the underside to see what’s going on there. A big plus is that just about everything for this car is reproduced. All in all, it might be a good buy.

    Like 10
  2. Avatar photo CCFisher

    While the engine in this car isn’t the original engine, it may still be “numbers-matching.” Only the K-code Hi-Po engines had a partial VIN stamped on the block. For other early Mustangs, if the casting dates on the replacement engine are similar to the original engine, there is no way to know that it’s not original.

    Like 7
  3. Avatar photo rex m

    Rather put the $5000 and then some towards a mostly rust free car from the Southwest.

    Like 3
  4. Avatar photo Erik

    I am a huge first-gen Mustang fan but this car is yet another reminder of how prolific the first generation Mustangs were on the road to the point they were the VW Beetle’s water-cooled twin, meaning for every VW Beetle you saw you saw a Mustang as well. This was because they were affordable basic transportation. A few decades later it would be the Chevy Cavalier in the 1980s and then later the Honda Civic in the 1990s that you would see everywhere to the point the first generation Mustang was the “Cavalier and CIvic” of their time. And this can all be best summed up by how easily one could find parts (NOS, aftermarket, repops, etc) for all of these cars. The fact that is Mustang here had a tow hitch attached to the rear bumper and then the rest of the car looks “well used and tired” tells the story that the Mustang was an oh so common car like the others mentioned above. Fast forward to 2020 and the era of “foolish spending” it is not surprising that a car that was once a “parts car” or “sent to salvage” will be sold some fool and his money will soon part ways to buy this Mustang and this Mustang will either end up 1) Sitting another 33 years (like the past 33 years since 1987); or 2) End up taken apart after which reality sets in and it will remain unfinished until “someday” or more likely sold to next “dreamer” without pockets already emptied like the seller’s pockets; or 3) In the hands of a deep pocketed buyer who knows no better and as such empties his pockets to fill the pockets of the parts suppliers and restoration shops that resurrect this Mustang for a final price paid that is way beyond what buyer could have bought a better example for. The only silver lining if #3 is the fate of this Mustang is that means another of the plentiful first-gen Mustangs will remain on the road but the tarnish on that silver lining will be that in another 33 years first-gen Mustangs will have less demand for it as the generations that were alive when it was at its proliferation will have all passed away and by that time the younger generations of now will at that point then be the older generations and will instead be paying foolish money for 1990’s Civics 0f their youth.

    Like 0
  5. Avatar photo Art VerMeer

    The gas cap looks like a 1966, “dime”.

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo jww

      Gascap is 66

      Like 0
  6. Avatar photo gaspumpchas

    Comparing a mustang with a Chevy cavalier?? Please..

    Good luck and stay safe

    Like 5
  7. Avatar photo Johnmloghry

    Boy some people use a lot of words to say very little.
    God bless America

    Like 4
    • Avatar photo Stan Marks

      Hey John, I’ll give you five words….

      POS money pit.

      Like 2
  8. Avatar photo JimS

    Isn’t it a shame when people who have discretionary funds give it to other people willingly. We should institute some process by where we have a central organization that takes that extra money from people and just gives it to whoever they think should have it instead of who we decide to give it to.

    Like 1

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