What is Rarity? 1969 Ford Mustang Coupe

You have all heard the old adage “Don’t buy the story.  Buy the car.”  Well, that old adage is harder to live by since the rise of the documentation you can order for select types of cars.  So many times, we see an owner trying to use a build sheet or some other type of documentation to prove rarity based on some production figure.  The Corvette market is notorious for this, advertising that a car is ultra rare because it has a type of interior that buyers hated.  To most, rarity means nothing unless it has to do with a desirable body style, or a powerful engine/transmission combination.  This 1969 Mustang coupe, which is for sale on Craigslist in Duluth, Minnesota for $8500, is a curious case of a Marti report setting the asking price for the car based on perceived rarity.  Many thanks to Dave P. for the tip on this interesting project.

Ford products are most often documented by a gentleman named Kevin Marti.  Marti has at his disposal the factory records for all Ford products made between 1967 and 2012.  For a fee, he will provide you with documentation on your Ford product, from the options to the dealership it was delivered to.  As you can imagine, this information gives an owner guidance as to how a car should be restored and provides a more detailed picture of the car’s history.  That is all well and good, and is a service I’d love to use if I bought a Ford of that vintage.  However, he also provides a sidebar in the report that lays out how many cars were built with each option your car was built with.  If your car was a 1969 Mustang with a 429, radio delete, heater delete, and the destination was Holman-Moody, then you really have some rare options that all point to something bigger.  However, if you are making the claim that your car is rare because it was only one of three built with baby vomit brown interior, a six cylinder engine, and a three speed column shift transmission, then you need to rethink your marketing plan.

The car we are discussing could be a really nice car.  It was ordered by Ford’s Dearborn Engineering Facility in 1968, and the owner says that Marti told him that it was only one of three 390 ci engine cars at this location in addition to being one of three in this color.  At any rate, the car was well optioned.  It had a 390 ci engine with a four barrel carburetor, a C-6 automatic transmission, a standard 3.00 axle, air conditioning, power front disc brakes, power steering, and a tachometer.  Cosmetically, the car was painted in winter blue, and had light blue bucket seats with the interior décor group.

As for the condition of the car itself, the owner is not very descriptive.  He says that he has replacement floor pans (you know what that means…), but the frame rails are good.  He also has a replacement lower dash panel because someone drilled out a hole for fog lights.  I am guessing that he means a hole was drilled for a switch.  The engine he is providing with the car is a 1970 dated 390, and he also has a date correct C-6 automatic as well.  He will sell you a set of 428 Cobra Jet heads and exhaust manifolds if you’d like, but those are not included in the sale.  Also for sale but not with the car is a date correct Holley carburetor, which he will sell for $850.00, and a date code correct intake from a “famous Grand National mechanic.”

He also has a laundry list of parts for the car, with many in new old stock condition.  While he doesn’t clearly state that the extra parts come with the car, or are purchased a la carte, what he does have is impressive.  For starters, he has all the parts to replace the air conditioning system, with many of those parts being new old stock.  He also has a set of NOS front disc brakes with rebuilt calipers, and too many other parts to list.  The car is missing the deluxe décor interior and rim blow steering wheel (?).  Whatever else is missing is kind of cloudy.  Perhaps interested buyers should phone or visit before getting serious.

The parts he does have are, for the most part, really nice.   Its obvious that the owner spent a lot of money, time, and effort to track down many of the parts needed to eventually restore the car.  If it was restored by someone, it would probably be fairly desirable.  Most of the body appears to be in fairly good shape, but we only have a set of not very detailed pictures to go on.  The engine and transmission combination would make it a good road car, and the color is really appealing on the notch back body.

What hurts his chances for selling this car at that price is the reason he is selling it for that price: the Marti Report.  The report states that the car is unusual in that it was first transferred to Ford Engineering.  If we knew why it was there, it might help with the sale.  Unfortunately, we have no idea why this car was important.  Perhaps one of our many readers who are Ford experts could shine some light on this.  I have read that people who worked at Ford facilities around the world were offered leases on cars at favorable rates.  Could this car have been ordered by someone who happened to work at this facility?  It seems to be optioned out as a great driver.  If it were a test car, then why would it have so many options?  For the Marti Report to increase the value, the car would have to be built for a specific, documented purpose that would interest buyers enough to pay a premium.

I like the car, and think it would make someone an awesome Mustang when restored, but I am not seeing how the Marti Report makes it worth more than a car sent to a dealership in Toledo.  I hope it finds a good home, and is back on the road soon.  It is an interesting car with a good story.

Fast Finds


  1. Mike O

    Why does the car have a 1970 front end?

    Like 1
  2. flmikey

    …looks like someone put a 70 front end on it…or, is it one of one with a 70 front end from the factory? All kidding aside, a coupe with a 390 is a rare find in itself…

    • Dave

      Yeah that’s a ’70 nose…

    • Tom Member

      SUPER RARE …….. one of none made!!

  3. BiggYinn

    Is that a 1970 front end??

  4. Brian R

    The car is a 1969 based on the curved tail light panel and ’69 tail lights, but that is a 1970 front end. Marti report is too blurry to read details, but a 390 Mustang is a nice option.


      If you read the text in the CL ad the seller tells you that when he bought the car it had a 1970 front end on it. The big question here is one that the seller does not answer, why? Was the car in an accident and repaired with used parts? Did a past owner just like the look of the 1970 front better? Or was the car some sort of test mule and the front end was replaced for testing? Any one of these could be the answer.

  5. gregg

    Yes, a 70 front grille on a 69. Perhaps that’s why it was ordered by engineering to fit the front fender extensions and grille? The fenders are 69, in 70 they added side marker/blinker lights. I believe in those days they worked on designs way ahead of production dates. I couldn’t make out the serial number on the Marti Report, maybe that could shed some light on the info.

    • DrinkinGasoline

      I missed the lack of side marker lights ! Getting old sucks ! :)

    • Miguel

      I don’t think that is the case since the report says the car was ordered in 1968. The 1970 parts would not have been available yet.

      • Rocco

        The newer model parts could have been available at the engineering dept. They call it “pulling a part ahead”. I have a Mustang with doc’s saying just that. Ford would pull a part ahead for testing on a current model. In my case, a ’96 part was pulled ahead for use on all ’95 Cobra “R” Mustang’s.

    • CCFisher

      It could have been fitted with prototype parts and used to test cooling through the new, 1970 grille. The stock parts were generally re-installed before the engineering cars were sold, though.

  6. CCFisher

    I worked as an engineer at Ford for a couple of years. Some cars used by the various engineering departments led relatively easy lives, others were cut up and/or beaten mercilessly. The cars subjected to hard use were usually scrapped. On the other hand, it was relatively common for employees to “tag” lightly-used engineering cars and purchase them after testing was complete. (A Lincoln Mark VII that was used for one of my projects was tagged by one of the technicians. He released his tag after an imbalanced driveshaft caused it to puke its transmission all over the test track.) I’m sure, back in 1968, if you knew the right person, you could specify the equipment on an engineering car and tag it for yourself.

  7. DrinkinGasoline

    70 front clip on a 69 body. Regardless of the supposed rarity, given the body color this would get a black interior. It would also get the correct front clip. It is possible that because of how it was ordered that it is rare but it’s an ugly rare. Just my opinion but, some peoples taste is all in their mouth.
    Reminds me of the mid to late 70’s dark blue T-Birds with the “Full Diaper” tan interiors. Break out the rash cream.
    I can smell the stench to this day…..yuk :(

  8. jw454

    I’ve read the sellers advertisement a couple of times and I can’t say I’m clear on what is included in his price. He mentions a few times “he has” so and so parts but, that doesn’t mean he’s including them. He does say the 428 parts are not included but, it’s hard to say what is.

    • James

      And the carb is not included and basically ALL of the “good” parts shown in the ad. VERY misleading. He says the 1970 (wrong) front clip was “taken off” but does not say whether that is included either. He also tries to slip in that THERE IS NO INTERIOR. Plus, there were no 1967 Cobra Jet heads. CJ heads did nor come out until mid 1968 and have their own separate part number. The “428 exhaust manifolds are what the 1969 390 would have came with and again, they look like the FE non-CJ manifolds.

      When you get there there will be nothing but the shell and the rest you will have to buy everything at an additional cost.

  9. Lemble

    One has to remember the difference between rare and desirable. Car buyers are strange in the fact that they use the term rare to put a high price on a desirable car to them, yet a similarly rare car they laugh at. Don’t get me started on dealer installed items adding to the price.

  10. Miguel

    If this car had a front bench seat it would really be rare.

  11. Elrod

    ” I don’t think so Tim..”

  12. C Carl

    I’m a Ford guy and I never heard of a 69 w/ 70 fenders and grill, I’m not buying it. All that aside, a 390 Mustang in that condition for $8500 is a good deal just being a driving hot rod.
    Buy the car, not the story.

    • Miguel

      This only has the ’70 grille. Those are ’69 Fenders.

      • C Carl

        Good eye Miguel. I like this car a lot, the ad is more parts than car. Harley guys used to call this a basket case. Not bad just a major project.

      • CATHOUSE

        It also has the 1970 front fender extensions.

  13. Greg

    A coupe with a big block is a rare find. The car is well optioned with a few fairly rare options such as bumper guards, deluxe interior, A/C and the 390 engine. The “S” in the VIN is the engine code, which in this case is a 390 with a 4 barrel carb. This ad shows a engine with a 2 bbl intake manifold, so I wonder if it is numbers matching. The seller does show a factory cast iron 4 bbl intake on the side so that helps. As far as a DSO of 89 is concern, it is most likely a car a Ford employee, who worked in the engineering department bought, not a test mule. My uncle worked at Ford in the engineering department in the 60’s to 80’s and he ordered his vehicles this way. I personally own a 69 Coupe with a factory 428 Super Cobra Jet- 4 speed car that Ford Of Canada used as a show car. A price of $8500. is realistic if the car has a numbers matching drivetrain and doesn’t need much more than floor pans and a quarter panels replacement. I would ask to see way more pictures of the car, interior, engine compartment, rear frame rails and trunk floors. Look for the 9″ rear end and shock tower reinforcements. More than one 69 Mustang has had a 70 front end transplanted.


      The original engine/trans is gone. The seller states in the CL ad that the engine is out of a 1970 car and that he has a period correct C6.

    • Rocco

      Your scenario, “As far as a DSO of 89 is concern, it is most likely a car a Ford employee, who worked in the engineering department bought, not a test mule.” is the best explanation I’ve read so far.

  14. 68 custom

    interesting mystery and a 390 coupe is pretty rare, but the guy should sell the car for his price with all parts that belong with the car. 390 four barrel heads I believe are different than 390 two barrel heads so the 70 motor needs them. as for the 70 front-end who knows?

  15. Robert Gallagher

    Most likely the car was subjected to a light hit in the front end, and the owner simply updated it with a 70 nose job. I did that with a Saab.

  16. Don

    I ordered an 83 Chevy S10 Blazer and it took forever to get it. I was told it was pulled off the line to do testing at the GM track. When I finally got it, it had 240 miles on it.
    I guess I should have kept it because it was a special test vehicle.
    Ha, Ha

    • Superdessucke

      They probably unmercifully flogged that S10 Blazer like they stole it, which is a funny image in and of itself, LOL! Given how the times were, you’re lucky they didn’t just set the odometer back to 0 and not say anything about it. Hopefully you got some sort of a discount.

  17. al8apex

    my dad worked at Ford Engineering

    He got the special lease deals

    He is the cause of MANY “one of one” cars, in 1971 Ford changed that and all lease cars had to have certain minimum options: white walls or white letter tires, automatic transmissions,power steering, can’t remember what else. He was disappointed

    A couple one of one cars I recall:

    70 LTD sedan, no vinyl too, 3 on the tree, factory a/c (lt blue with dark blue cloth interior) I took my driver’s license test in that car

    68 Torino GT convertible, bucket seats, 3 on the tree, factory a/c (cream yellow with light beige interior)

    He was an HVAC engineer and co-held the patent for automatic temperature control

  18. Randy

    This car is worth the sum of the parts included in the deal. Lots of nice pieces, but a rusted body, incorrect front end metal, parts all over the place…

    The Ford Engineering connection is vague at best. Who knows why? Unless you can document the use of the car in testing or development, it’s just another Ford.

    Why does someone obviously knowledgable in the world of Mustangs bail out on a restoration? Because it’s going to take more to finish it than it will be worth when done.

    • gregg

      well said!

  19. bog

    Well gents, the ad is now pulled, so your questions AND mine will go unanswered. I liked the comments of those of you that either worked or had relatives actually at their engineering dept. I am NOT a fan of the coupe body-style regardless of the engine/trans. I actually did own a brand new ’67 Fairlane GTA which came with a similar, but in my opinion, better engine than the one originally (but now long gone) in this one. Would love to see the Marti report of the ’71 BOSS 351that I “ticked” and deleted boxes on when I had it built. Likely a true ONE of ONE. Oh, well. BTW, the “rim-blow” steering wheel was a pain in the butt. A soft rubber ring ran around the entire steering wheel that you’d press to sound the horn. Soooooo, any time you squeezed the wheel with one hand or the other just “that much” too hard, the horn would sound. Not fun !

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