Worth Restoring? 1965 Ford Mustang

While I have always harbored the belief that no car is beyond help given enough time and money, sometimes even I have to draw that line in the sand and admit defeat. This 1965 Mustang is a case in point because it has been sitting in its current location since 1970. Probably its strongest attributes are the fact that it still has its tags, and it does come with a clean title. Located in Mansfield, Ohio, the Mustang is listed for sale here on eBay. It also probably rates as one of the cheapest Mustangs that we have ever seen here at Barn Finds, with bidding having reached $355 in a No Reserve auction.

Some project cars are cheap because the owner simply wants to move them on to a new home, and some are cheap because the amount of work required to breathe new life into them is the automotive equivalent of scaling Mount Everest…on your hands and knees. This Mustang definitely falls into the latter category. When you open the trunk and find the rear springs and the remains of the rear frame rails poking up through where the floor used to be, then you know that you have problems. It would probably be easier to list the components that don’t have rust issues, so it’s a good thing that glass can’t rust. The windshield is scrap, but the remaining tinted glass looks quite good. The trunk lid looks like it might be okay, and the passenger side door also looks like it might be able to be salvaged. Beyond that, there are a few external trim pieces that could be saved, but the rest of it looks like it’s toast.

When the Mustang was capable of moving under its own power, it did so utilizing a C-Code 289ci V8. The owner believes that the manual transmission might be a 4-speed, while the car is also fitted with what he refers to as a Posi rear end. The condition of the drive-train is probably quite questionable because the car has been sitting out in the weather with no hood for a very long time. With the air cleaner open as it is, it’s a fair bet that more than a little water has managed to find its way inside that sweet little 289. I would be extremely surprised if the engine turns freely, or if it is locked, whether it could be unlocked. Of course, the transmission and rear end might be able to be salvaged, but I suspect that those would be about the only items worthy of consideration.

The fact that the interior is complete is about as far as we go with good news inside the Mustang. With the windshield sporting a substantial hole, the elements have done their worst to the upholstery. It’s also worth considering that water will have found its way into the switches, relays, electrical connectors, and the inside of the gauges. There are a few minor items here that could potentially be salvaged or restored, such as seat frames, but I suspect that the next stop for most of it is going to be the nearest rubbish skip.

When it rolled off the production line finished in Vintage Burgundy with a White interior, this Mustang would have been considered to be a pretty stunning and desirable car. Time and the elements have done it no favors, and it is now a shadow of its former self. There is little doubt that its future rests as a donor car, and if that is its ultimate fate, then it will be a sad end for a true American classic.


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  1. canadainmarkseh Member

    With the amount of mustangs I’ve seen for sale just on this site, there is no reason to even give this rusting pile of crap a second look. As a police officer once said “ move along people nothing to see here move along “

    Like 25
    • Frank Sumatra

      I have called out the good folks at BF on these posts before and I will do it again- This is nothing more than “clickbait” to keep the eyeball count up, and the loyal Members and readers deserve better.. I will now gently come off of my high horse, but c’mon guys, this is scrap metal and you know it. Fire when ready!

      Like 15
      • Michael Leyshon Member

        Frank, why even look just to complain to the staff ? Call out the writers after you are a member. Otherwise….

      • Steve RM

        I think looking at this stuff is fun. Keep the “clickbait ” coming. I’ve parted out cars this bad and got some decent stuff. Although I never paid much if anything for something this bad.

        Like 1
      • Frank Sumatra

        Mike- I must have missed the “Member” icon next to your name. I have given BF $50 for a want ad. We are square.

        Like 3
      • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

        @Frank Sumatra – I’m not seeing that you ever paid us $50 for a want ad. In fact, I don’t believe we have ever charged that much for want ads. Maybe you are referring to a paid classified? If you don’t like something we feature, don’t click on it. It’s that easy. Thanks!

  2. Big_Fun Member

    To paraphrase an old commercial; “(Mustang) Parts is (Mustang) Parts”. If you lived close, you could justify grabbing the whole car and then taking what you needed I know reproduction parts are plenty for these, so this is for the person that craves Mustangs.
    I crave a certain model of Chevrolet, hence I have two of them in similar condition of this Mustang behind the shed. Both were ebay purchases that were less than 10 miles away. I see a wealth of parts and reference materials back there; my neighborhood sees them differently.

    Like 7
    • Big_Fun Member

      Data plate in door shows this Mustang was built with:

      Body 65A = Coupe with Standard interior.

      Color X = Vintage Burgundy

      Trim D6 = White with Black Trim

      Date 17T = June 17th

      DSO 31= Cincinnati

      Axle 6 = 2:80 conventional (non locking)

      Trans 1= 3speed manual

      I’ll bet this pretty sharp, and fun to drive when it was new!

      Like 9
  3. Howard A Member

    Sure, why not? Come on, a kindergartner would see this is too far gone, yet, with where this hobby is going, why not?

    Like 7
    • Kellerg

      There are only a very, very select few that consider this a “hobby” now. With all of the deep pocket, high rollers looking for the next big investment plus the overblown auctions this has become nothing more than a Wall Street on wheels.

      Like 16
      • Steve R

        That’s not true.

        Steve R

        Like 11
      • Howard A Member

        Thanks, it’s a hot topic. I guess that’s the hobby now, what someone can bilk the public out of for profit for a classic car. They don’t care about the vehicle itself, just a dollar sign to them. Now, take this old sway back horse, the door won’t close, so it’s breaking in half. To show how out of whack this is getting, someone, like you say, due to media, actually thinks this hulk is worth anything, just because it resembles a car that sold for 5 figures. With all the Mustang repro stuff, why would you even consider this?
        As more and more people lose interest in this kind of stuff, it will burn itself out. I don’t think I’ll see it, but this foolishness can’t go on for long and right now is the time to cash in before it goes south, and rest assured, south it will go.

        Like 17
  4. TimM

    The parts are all available but after seeing Big Fun’s post that it’s a 3 speed and non locking rear end I say no!! If it were a 4 speed and posi with the small block it would be more desirable to restore!!!

    Like 6
  5. BC

    Ran when parked.

    Like 10
    • Mike

      …and a really great patina…..HAHAHAHA

      Like 5
  6. William Shields

    My only question is why somebody parked a what was then only five year old mustang and let it rot?

    Like 16
    • Angrymike

      My thinking exactly. My grandfather told me his 58 Impala rotted bad after one winter, so it’s possible 5 killed this lil stang, but not probable.

      Like 4
    • Piros1

      I know if a Mustang graveyard up near Mexico MO next to where my boys and I have a hunting lease that has probably 20-30 Mustangs of various years some this bad and some much better, there are few other brands mixed in including a couple old 1930’s pieces but none for sale. Don’t understand why people take and hide these out and won’t sell them until they are almost beyond repair. It’s ashamed to see old iron rotting away.
      As for as this one goes to me it would not be worth much. It definitely is not a project for the faint of heart or the average guy.

      Like 2
  7. matt steele

    Leave it where it is .try to move it and it will come out in pieces that won’t go back together..its not even a fast back. RIP little stang!

    Like 4
  8. Stangalang

    This poor horse was shot a long time ago…why didn’t someone have the common decency to bury it..and only 5 years old??!! Something ain’t right..nice view of the leaf springs though and still some of the original trunk floor cover in there. Probably worth some parts at this point

    Like 1
  9. Todd

    For what it would cost to restore that you could buy one on the west coast and have it trailered back and be far far ahead cost wise.

  10. CCFisher

    I think the question should be, “is it worth exhuming?”

    Like 4
  11. Chris In Australia

    Good luck getting that rusted POS on a trailer in one piece. That said there’s a handful of parts that might be salvageable

    Like 8
  12. Dale

    I’d replace the drive-train, chassis, dash, electrical, glass, body and interior, throw some new tires on it and drive it as-is.

    Like 15
    • Marcos Ambrose the cheat

      You’d keep the blinker fluid wouldn’t you?

  13. Rich

    not worth it. It appears to be a C-code later ’65 coupe. Basic 3-speed transmission. Nothing spectacular, nothing rare. They made many. The cost in metal to repair everything rusted away will be over $15k. That is just in metal and some bodywork. You only spend that if it were a rare model or an heirloom.

  14. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Is a vin, title and a part or two worth the price on this one? Personally I think you can stick a fork in this one, it’s done.

    Like 5
  15. Dave D.

    Speaking from an artist view point, one could get some neat photographs of this wreck without having to buy it. Maybe the doors and fenders are salvageable but I see no value in this once fine “Rustang”.

  16. Paul

    Not one part on this car that is possibly salvageable couldn’t be found elsewhere in better condition for less money then the cost of moving this car!
    Only for hobby and enjoyment reasons would anybody consider even looking twice at this car…..now if it where a Shelby Mustang , Copo Camaro, or hemi Dodge we would all be laughing at the selling price and wondering what body the tags would end up on. 65 mustang coupes are a dime a dozen when they are rollers and this one is far from a roller!

    Like 3
  17. bobhess bobhess Member

    I always thought if you were going to put new parts on an old car you had to have something to put them on to…

    Like 5
  18. Sal

    I wanted to give this guy the benefit of the doubt as it is the xmas season…

    I hoped that maybe he was not a car guy, bought the property, and just didnt have the knowledge on how to get this thing out of there. Maybe he figured asking for some money would get him better results then saying ‘free to a good home’…
    But I see a bunch of other wrecks there as well. He already needs a wrecker or dozer… no need to try and ‘sell’ this hunk of crap.

    Only thing this is good for is if you already had a ’65 with a lost title or regi.

    Like 1
  19. Doug B

    I think buy it strip it and use the parts and tags on a Dynacorn body . Then scrap what’s left . This is a total shame what an owner does to a car like this .

  20. James Schwartz

    Sadly, I think the only value here is in the VIN tag(s) and clear title.
    A way for someone with an ill-gotten Mustang to become a legitimate owner.

    Like 5
  21. lc

    This is just one sad little car….

    Like 1
  22. Roy L

    That horse has a broken leg like maybe four of them shoot it put it out of its misery

    Like 2
  23. rich

    Other than being a V8 the coupe has no real special options to add value. In fact the V8 was the only option ordered on this car. It has no rarity either. Not a 64.5 model. Non-GT with that 2bbl carb. Simple base 3-speed. There are many out there in far better condition to start from. The cost to replace the rusted panels would exceed $15k. Even the dash appears to be rusted out. Being a unibody they will eventually split in two after the rockers go and this one looks close to that point. Whatever rust you see, plan to expect more. By June 17th 1965 (sched build date) they made thousands like it. As for parts there may be a few to salvage. Most can be bought new.

  24. rich

    oh, there is one other option when ordered when new, backup lights it has. They were an option. So were door mirrors and seat belts before being mandated.
    One item on that engine worth salvaging is the fuel pump. It is the original Carter button-top fuel pump. Restorers want them and they can be rebuilt. The drivetrain is worth something, more if engine can be turned but doubt it does. No Hood. Rain in engine. It is likely toast. It has an air cleaner housing from another Ford. It should have a low-profile one. A V8 rear axle is worth a few but that is likely very rusty too. Have someone drag it off to part out what they can.

  25. Little_Cars

    If I were close, needed some glass, a transmission or axle core to rebuild, or a clear title for a Mustang I was restoring that sub-$400 would be quite appealing. I’ve done something similar for $300 on an MG Midget parts car just for the front bumper, wire wheels, radiator, gauges and trim pieces. The remains were literally chopped up with a chainsaw and carted off to the scrapper. The most swiss cheese rust bucket I’d ever purchased to that point. Looks like this one met it’s demise in 1967, not 1970…but what could be so catastrophic to take it off the road then?

    Like 1
  26. Fahrvergnugen Bo Tanker Member

    Put a chain on it and toss it back in the river where it came from.

  27. Richard Gugenberger

    Jack up the horn and replace every thing else , that’s if it even has a horn !!

    Like 1
  28. David Fowler

    I just purchased a 1965 coupe last week way better than this. Zero rust in trunk, one hole in floor on drivers side. Bad thing is the drivers door was changed so not ID tag but both inner fenders have the VIN# stamped in them and they do match the title and do match the state issued VIN tag. Why missing the tag sucks is that it has pony interior, 289 C code, C-4, radio, wood grain steering wheel and spinner hub caps. What the odd thing is that the pony interior is all white and that does not show as an option and nobody offers all white as a repo. The seats have not been recovered and still have the Ford tags present. If I had the door tag might have been one of those elusive 6 digit DSO codes for Special Paint or Trim. Ford would alter from stock for Paint Colors and also Trim since neither had any government testing requirements. If I had the door tag I could look and see. It was also Caspian Blue which is a desirable color and vinyl roof. It will probably go to someone turning a 6 cyl. into a V-8 car. Way less rust than most out there for sure.

    Like 2
  29. rich

    They had white Pony after February 1965. Interior code 62 is Blue and White Luxury. Interior Décor Group is Luxury or what is referred to as Pony (running horses). The carpet and dash pad were blue and the seats were white.

    You can figure out most of the missing door tag info and get one made. The only items you lost is date code and DSO #. You can guestimate the date from the VIN sequential number.

  30. Dovi65

    What here is worth $3, never mind $300+?? This pile of rust cannot be moved in it’s entirety from it’s grave. The slightest pull from a chain/rope will have this former ‘Stang collapse. Any salvageable pieces can be bought elsewhere for less hassle.

    Like 1
  31. John

    Isn’t worth the ink it got here

    Like 1
  32. david

    I have to admit if I had Bezos money, it would be fun to put this car in as new condition. Just to see if it could be done.

    Like 4
  33. Nate

    Lighten up Howard. Lots of people are fascinated with serial killers and crime stories. Look at the popularity of the TV series Mind Hunters.

    Like 1
  34. Robert P Purcell

    Scrap metal. The car sold for around 2,500. 00. It would cost more than 10 times the amount to restore.

  35. James Fabry

    Why would you let this car rust away shame on you 😠

  36. the one

    Shazam! I have been around a long time, have seen my share of rotted out cars, but I have NEVER seen leaf springs sticking up through the trunk! Oh what fun it is to view the varied offerings on this unique site!

    Like 1
  37. GP Member

    About 2 miles from me is a Mustang Convert. (1965). It’s been siting in the same spot for 45 years that I know of. In the summer you can weed wipe the inside.

    Like 1
  38. Steve Feld Member

    The Aussie on youtube has the skills and seems to have plenty of dough to do the job right. WHAT a challenge and story to tell.

    Roit! That’s not a loss, Mate.

    Aussie’s remind me of Texans with everything bigger and better, except with a great sense of humor.

  39. Michael Leyshon Member

    Appreciate the write up !

    If it’s up for offer, why not ? It should be written about !

    So many readers moaning and groaning about something they should be able to determine they don’t want to read about with a simple gander…Yet they do. Look at the amount attention the old mare has received so far !

    Consider you are are attending a funeral and show some respect for a great one who has passed…Appreciate the kind words by Big_Fun early on.

    Like 2
  40. glenn

    Some cars should die. But, it has some usable parts. Since it has paperwork and tags, I see this car used for a VIN swap. Some decent 6cyl will magically resurrect as a C-Code with original drivetrain…

  41. r s

    Nothing here can be ‘restored’. All current parts are just a placeholder for where the replacement parts would have to go. It would be cheaper to just buy aftermarket parts and build a whole 65 Mustang from scratch.

  42. r s

    Why, why, why do people think it’s OK to park a car sitting on dirt, under trees, and then expect there will be something left of it after years? It’s just so stupid and so sad.

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