Rare Edition: 1968 Ford Mustang High Country Special

During its production run, Ford offered potential First Generation Mustang buyers several different special editions. One of these was the High Country Special, available between 1966 and 1968. Our feature car is from that final year of production, and while the ’68 High Country Special was a rare vehicle, this one has some features that push that rarity to a higher level. It is a tidy survivor that needs a new home, so the owner has listed it for sale here on eBay. The Mustang is located in Rancho Cucamonga, California, and spirited bidding has pushed the price to $14,667 in a No Reserve auction.

Ford produced the High Country Special for dealers in the Colorado region. The motivation behind it is unclear, and several theories have surfaced over the years. There’s no denying that Mustang sales had tapered sharply following the peak of 1966, but the HCS hardly added to that total. For the 1966 model year, Ford produced 333 examples, while that figure rose to 416 cars for 1967. In 1968, a mere 251 vehicles rolled off the line, and our feature car is one of those vehicles. It wears Candyapple Red paint and is 1-of-45 cars that the company finished in that shade. Its overall appearance is pretty good. The paint holds an impressive shine, although it isn’t clear whether it has been the past recipient of any restoration work. The owner is candid about its state, revealing that it has accumulated a few minor chips, marks, and other imperfections. The panels are close to perfect, with no noticeable dings or bruises and absolutely no rust. Underside shots reveal floors that are all original and are as clean as you will ever find in a First Generation Mustang. The exterior trim is in excellent order for its age, and I can’t spot any problems with the glass. The High Country Special was an appearance package that shared many features with its sibling, the California Special. These included a Shelby-style rear spoiler and taillight treatment utilizing sequential Thunderbird lights. The two models also shared common side scoops, a grille with no Mustang badge, and front foglights. The differences between the two packages were pretty subtle, with the HCS featuring “High Country Special” decals on the side scoops.

When we turn our attention to this Mustang’s interior, we find plenty to like. The console is an aftermarket unit, and there is an FM converter mounted under the dash. Otherwise, it appears to be original and unmolested. The Black vinyl upholstery is in excellent condition. There is no evidence of wear or physical damage, while the same is true of the carpet. The dash and pad appear perfect, and the factory AM radio still occupies its rightful place. The buyer won’t be facing any outlay on interior restoration because this one seems to need nothing.

Some enthusiasts will find what rests under the hood of this HCS to be disappointing, but it merely adds to this car’s rarity. Most buyers ordered their High Country Special with a V8 under the hood, but this car is 1-of-80 to feature the 200ci six-cylinder powerplant and a three-speed manual transmission. With 115hp available under the right foot, the vehicle is unlikely to set the world on fire if pointed at a ¼ mile. That journey would take 19.2 seconds, while the motor would be gasping for breath at 96mph. However, this classic is numbers-matching, and it is in sound mechanical health. The owner says that it runs and drives extremely well and that the motor doesn’t produce any odd noises, smells, or smoke. A point to ponder is the rarity. Ford built a mere forty-five in total wearing Candyapple Red paint and only eighty cars overall with this drivetrain combination. Combining those two factors must make this one of the rarest Mustangs built in 1968.

If you place its relative rarity to one side for a moment, this 1968 Mustang is a tidy and clean survivor with no immediate needs. Its rust-free status is a blessing for enthusiasts seeking a turn-key classic. The High Country Special option adds to its appeal, while its drivetrain and color combination means that the new owner is unlikely to find themselves parked beside an identical example at a show or Cars & Coffee. It seems that people like what they see, and the bidding history demonstrates this. I believe that it will probably climb above $20,000 before the hammer falls, but if it fails to reach that level, somebody could score themselves a bit of a bargain with this classic. This auction could be worth watching closely.

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Comments

  1. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Basic, with the six-cylinder three-speed drivetrain. But clean and attractive, and a bit different. The result: solid bidding. If its new home isn’t in the Rockies, be prepared for the “what is a High Country Special” questions.

    When I lived in Wyoming 20+ years ago, there was a widow lady in our town who had one. It was white/red, 289 automatic. It had been her daily driver since new, and she had kept it in good shape. She knew she had something special. She let me pick it up and enter it in the local car show a couple times.

    Like 7
  2. CCFisher

    Taillights on California Specials and High Country Specials did not include the Thunderbird’s sequential operation.

    Like 1
  3. William R Hall

    Many many years ago at my Dad’s service station we had a Ford dealer who lived a couple of blocks away. His wife and son would often by gas from us. The son had a Mustang I would love to have now, a California Special loaded with a V 8 four speed.

    Like 1
  4. Bob S Member

    Most people wouldn’t even give this a second glance because of 6. To me, that’s what makes this a unicorn of sorts, special edition with basic power train, and low build count. Bidding is just under $15,300, and like Adam says, wouldn’t be surprised if it makes it $20k, and probably worth every penny.

    Like 2
  5. joenywf64

    Wonder what’s rarer – 1 of these with a 6, or a ’69 RS camaro with a 6?

  6. Stevieg Member

    I really want this, especially because of the oddball drive train. Neat car!

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