Pony Project: 1965 Mustang Fastback

1965-mustang-fastback

One of the most important cars that Ford has produced in the modern era is the Mustang. It came out in 1964 and set sales records from the beginning. Most of my buddies at the time wanted one, and a couple even went ahead and bought one. None of us were rich, but it was still possible to own a Mustang for just under $2,400. It might not have been a convertible or fastback with a V8 and 4-speed, but it would still be one of the most desired new cars in North America. My own preference was the fastback because it had such a sleek and aggressive look, a lot like some of the European coupes from Italy or England that were unobtanium for guys like us. And the early Shelbys were fastbacks too! This fastback ’65 Mustang has only 68K miles showing and is claimed to have been sitting since 1981. Find it here on eBay in a no-reserve auction currently bid to about $7,000.

ford-inline-six

Ford made a lot of Mustangs and there are quite a few for sale at any one time, so there’s a lot of choice out there. This one is far from perfect but it looks to be close to original. That’s a plus because these first-year cars are just about a half century old, and many of them have been through a lot of use and abuse, including a lot of modifications in many cases. At least a car like this wouldn’t involve a lot of work to undo modifications if you want it to retain its original build. Problem is, if you’re a V8 man this car will need to be modified because it’s a T-code, which in early Mustang-speak means that it has the straight-6 engine. And this one also has an automatic transmission. The VIN in the listing will need to be checked out because the ’08’ in the auction listing indicates a convertible model, which this one is definitely not. But that could just be a typo error by the seller.

mustang-interior

Since there are a lot of early Mustangs available, a buyer would need to make a careful choice about buying this one, especially if the 6 cylinder & auto trans aren’t on his list of priorities. Next there is the serious issue that this car “will need a floor pan” according to the seller. That’s a major commitment in a restoration of these unibody cars. If the car needs floors there’s also the possibility—some would say, likelihood—that the car will need cowl / firewall work, since this area can have serious rust in these cars. The 6-cylinder cars came with 4-bolt hubs and wheels, so if you want to upgrade to the V8 these will need to be replaced with 5-bolt hubs and wheels. Then there’s the brakes, suspension, exhaust… You get the idea, lots of work!

1965-mustang-fastback-rear

A decent driver Mustang V8 fastback can be had for about $15 – $20K nowadays. This car seems original, but it will need a lot of work to bring it up to that level. Given the number of Mustangs that were made and still survive, does it make any sense to put $7K or more into the purchase of this car, plus whatever additional money it takes to take it to decent driver condition? Or maybe you’d just fix the floors, go through the systems for driveability and safety, clean up the interior, and throw on a set of seat covers so it could be driven as an original, first-year fastback Mustang? Which way would you go with this car?

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Comments

  1. jim s

    this car is interesting and it has the right motor for me but it is an automatic which i would not be interested in. it needs a lot of work/money to fix and the bidding has price higher then the BF project car which is ready to be driven. since i don’t need to drive a mustang i would be very happy driving the BF car. i still hope someone saves this mustang. nice find and writeup.

    • MikeW

      Do a T-5 trans conversion and get 30 mpg!

  2. Joe

    Plenty of nice, interesting cars out there in great running condition, with good bodies, interior and paint for less than $7K. This car seems to be a very neglected case for many years and from a rust-belt State (PA). Sad really. Mustangs are nice but I don’t see the value at all the $7K level or more here for a 6 cyl. automatic car? Worse yet, the car doesn’t run and the seller provides no diagnostics on the drivetrain or the extent of rust or frame condition, which doesn’t inspire confidence. This car could easily need $12K in work or more to get it in good shape (rust repair, nice paint, interior restoration, mechanical). Then one would have a nice 6 cyl. automatic transmission Mustang??? I don’t get it.

  3. Will

    I remember when I was 5 years old my Dad bought one like this. one day later we went to Knott’s berry farm and was seriously rear ended. Moms spine was never the same . Or so I was told. I remember Dad getting back the ford f100 he traded in because the mustang was full of bondo in the rear. It had already been hit and repaired before Dad bought it new. I have no idea what motor Dad’s had but knowing him it was probably a six.

  4. William Henshaw

    Which way would I go with this car? Seriously, as far away as possible!

  5. John

    Six banger, automatic, needs a floor pan (and who knows what else), for $7k? You’d probably be throwing at least another $7k into it just to end up with a decent driver no matter what you wanted to do. I think I’d take a pass on this one…

  6. Rancho Bella

    I don’t care if the car is a fastback. You would need a 30 foot extension ladder to get out of this hole. Perhaps if it was an A or even a C code, then maybe………..and that is a thin maybe.

  7. Bob E.

    A 65 Fastback with an I-6 is RARE! They are out there, but not too many. Most are transplanted with V-8’s. Keep it as is. Restore, not destroy. I’d trade my 66 convertible for it just to save it!!!!

  8. Rick Russell

    About 10 years ago I bought a 1965 poppy orange K code mustang for $10,000. The car had a balanced and blueprinted 289 that ran like a rocket. Some work was required but nothing near what the rust bucket on you page shows. Looking at the visible rust I guarantee it will need inner and outer rockers, torque boxes, floor repairs and possible rear frame rail repairs. I could see spending about $20,000 just to get it on the road. Poor investment for $7000.00..

  9. geomechs Member

    I came across a standard ’65 Mustang at a swap meet about four years ago. Standard six cyl./three speed, no extras, other than the original AM radio. The guy wanted $8K for it, and it was solid, rust free and original. Off white paint was faded and the dash was cracked. Other than that it could be driven away. And driven away it was. One sure can’t hesitate in this hobby.

  10. Rustang Fastback

    I have a 66 C code (upgraded to A code specs) 4 speed fastback that I bought off of ebay 12 years ago for $7,000. I wanted a 4 speed 65 or 66 fastback ever since I was a kid. As I turned 30 I finally decided to pull the trigger. At the time it was an awesome runner but had a 20 footer paint job and bodywork to match. After about 3 years of weekend driving I decided to do a full restoration. With these Mustangs, most have had a hard life (mine definitely had some war stories we found during restoration along with about 60 pounds of bondo). I ended up replacing the floors, both door skins, both fenders, inner and outer quarters, rockers, hood, deck lid, and cowl vents. New sheet metal is plentiful and pretty cheap, but getting it to fit properly is what takes time and money. When I get it out of paint in a few weeks I will have a V8 four speed fastback that is better than new. When this one gets done by a new owner it will probably have the same amount of money spent, but it will always be a 6cyl with an automatic. The lesson I learned is to buy the best one you can afford. For $7,000, there are a lot of other better fastback V8 choices available. 65-66 fastbacks are never going to get any cheaper. If you want one, now is the time to start your research and buy the right one. This one is not it, move along.

  11. Gordon

    It amazes me how people think they have a gold mine in every old car regardless of condition.

  12. The Chucker

    The expense of regret will make the purchase price of this car seem cheap by comparison.

  13. Paul B

    Parts car, unless you’re into Mustang history and want to preserve an example of what millions of Americans drove as fun alternatives to the Falcons they might otherwise have bought.

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