Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 5
Ford Mustang had a lot going for it. The styling was fresh and different without being far-out, and the performance options were plentiful, and best of all was the price tag - way under US$3000. Of course it was, to some extent, really a nice-looking Falcon, using a beefed-up Falcon chassis platform to carry its all-new unitized body. Originally named after the much lauded World War 2 fighter, the P-51 Mustang, preliminary allusions were made to the horse, and the horse motif quickly became the emblem for the Mustang.
Both front and rear suspension were regular Falcon
items - Fairlane
parts were used with the bigger V8 engine options. Two body styles were offered: a hardtop and a convertible. The basic engine was the 170-cubic-inch Six, with two V8s as options. Three transmissions were available, starting with a three-speed and working up through the four-speed manual and three-speed automatic. The automatic wasn't available with the big V8. Heavy-duty suspension
was also carried on the books as a handling package, and this included quicker steering and heavier shock absorbers.
model is perhaps best remembered because Carroll
(of the Cobras) campaigned three of these cars as a team on the Sports Car Club of America circuit. They ran in A-Production category - the special racing options including the 271-hp Cobra engine and further suspension
modifications which included an independent rear system that was very similar to that used on their all-out GT racing car. The racing version was also set up with disc brakes
at all four corners.
While the Mustang definitely wasn't a sports car in its production form, but there was a pronounced strain of GT in it. Its ride and handling characteristics were completely different from the Falcon's. The suspension was firmer, and the geometry used gave the car a good feel. Even in stock form and without the handling packages fitted, the Mustang offered very good readability. The six-cylinder versions were set up to understeer more than the V8s. This figured, because with less power in reserve, you could get into trouble more easily in fast corners. The V8 models cornered with a minimum of tyre
scrub and were decidedly more neutral in feel. Body roll wasn't excessive in either model.
Performance wise 0-60-mph acceleration in the Six with either automatic or manual transmission fell into the 15-17-second bracket, while the 260-inch V8 (automatic only) was in the 12-14-second range. The bigger "289" (210 hp) was a sub-10-second machine no matter what transmission it ran. The 271-hp racing version turned 0-60 in around six seconds.
Mustang interiors had bucket front seats separated by a console that also mounted either the manual or automatic shift lever. A bench seat was used in the rear. The dashboard was a little low rent given the sporting nature of the car – there was of course a fuel and temperature gauge which went along with the horizontal speedometer, but warning lights made do for generator and oil pressure. Padding was standard. The dash wasn't unattractive, but for our money, it was a little too similar to that of the Falcon. Available optionally was what Ford called the Rallye Pack. This consisted of a matching tachometer and clock, mounted on the steering column in dual cases.
The deeply dished steering wheel had a wood-grained rim and holes in racing-type spokes for a more sporting look. The wheel was, as was typical for the era, a little too large and set a little too high. Many tall drivers also found it a little too close to the seat, thus making it hard to find a comfortable driving position.The Ford Mustang debuted as a simple sports car powered by a 170 cid six cylinder and a pair of V8's.
1965 Ford Mustang
| 2 Door Hardtop
|170 Inline 6cylinder - 101 bhp
|200 Inline 6 Cylinder - 120 bhp
|260 V8 - 164 bhp
| 289 V8 - 225 bhp
| 289 V8 - 271 bhp
| 289 V8 - 306 bhp (GT-350)
| 289 V8 - 360 bhp (GT-350R)