Jim Smart
January 12, 2014
Photos By: Mustang Monthly Archives

Numeric Engine Codes

Although it's unlikely you will ever see a classic Mustang in the United States with a numeric engine code, they do exist and were primarily export vehicles. Numeric Ford engine codes were low compression export engines built to run on low octane fuels. Instead of 7F01C123456, you would see 7F013123456 for a low compression 289-2V V-8. Keep in mind the "3" looks a lot like an "8" and is easily mistaken.

Examples of low compression engine codes are:

Low compression production export engines get their compression ratio from dished pistons, which increase cylinder and chamber volume above the piston, resulting in a lower compression ratio.

Model Year Engine Engine Code
19641⁄2 170ci Six 4
1965-70 200ci Six 2
1969-73 250ci Six 3
19641⁄2 260-2V V-8 6
1965-68 289-2V V-8 3
1968-73 302-2V V-8 6

1965 Bertone Mustang

One of the greatest Mustang mysteries of all time is the one-off Bertone Mustang, which was a styling exercise born out of Automobile Quarterly's L. Scott Bailey's imagination. Bailey was of the belief that Ford and Italian coachbuilder Bertone should get together to make the Mustang an Italian stallion. The Bertone Mustang was a smashing success at the 1965 New York Auto Show. After that, the car vanished and hasn't been seen since. There are plenty of rumors, but nothing solid except to say that the car's whereabouts are known by a select few and no one's talking. However, we can tell you the Bertone Mustang started out as an early 1965 Mustang Hi-Po fastback—5F09K275716—which would have been assembled around the end of August 1964 at Dearborn.

Hands on the Hood!

Imagine it's the early 1980s and you're searching a Pennsylvania salvage yard for used Mustang parts, only to stumble upon the following Ford warranty plate on the driver's door of a black 1965 Hi-Po convertible: VIN, 5R08K100127; Body, 76C; Color, A; Trim, blank; Date, 09K; DSO, 83; Axle, 5; Trans, 5.

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Turns out, the K-code Mustang was a San Jose unit with a U.S. Government DSO code. It was one of the first orders for the San Jose. California, assembly plant, yet it wasn't scheduled for completion until October 1964. Though technically a '64½, it wasn't because it was alternator equipped. Based on the correspondence received nearly 30 years ago, it was an FBI car, yet no one knows the purpose, making it one of the oddest Mustang orders we've ever seen.

1965 GT Fastback Turned 1966

Our imagination runs wild with this 1965 GT fastback because it is surely an oddity, discovered through Ford publicity photographs from the time period. The VIN began with "5F09K" on the inner fender, yet it was fitted with a 1966 GT grille with fog lamps. It was also equipped with prototype three-element taillights and a pop-open gas cap that never made production. Under the hood was a 1965-style black 289 High Performance. In the trunk, a 1965 styled steel wheel. The most obvious oddity was color — Caspian Blue instead of the darker Nightmist Blue for 1966. This Mustang was apparently a styling mule used for promotional purposes.

1969 Mustang Limited Edition 600

The 1969 Mustang Limited Edition 600 was a Philadelphia sales district promotion designed to increase showroom traffic and sell more Mustangs in the spring of 1969. Available in Flower Power Red and Groovy Green, the Limited Edition 600 Mustang was available only with the 200 and 250ci sixes as SportsRoof or hardtop. None will have a color code except on the body buck tag. All were assembled at the Metuchen, New Jersey assembly plant. Date codes are between April 21 and 29, 1969. According to www.limited600mustang.net, all Limited Edition 600 Mustangs have six-digit DSO codes: 162783, 162784, 162785, 162786, 162787, 162788.

The Limited Edition 600 Mustangs were fitted with the Sports Appearance Group, which included a hood scoop with turn indicators, full wheel covers, E78 x 14 white sidewall tires, chrome remote driver's mirror, AM radio, Limited Edition 600 fender decals, and special tape stripes. Ford planned 600 units for this promotion but sold just 503.

Caspian Blue, Red Interior

We haven't seen this car since the 1980s, but its existence is worthy of note. Back in 1981, we received a letter from Randal Stone of Greensboro, North Carolina, who wanted to tell us about his Caspian Blue 1965 Mustang convertible—5F08T761678—with a scheduled build date of 16T (June 16, 1965) and an export DSO code of 91, yet it was never exported. Ordered by a government official of a foreign country based here in the United States, the car never left the country. What makes it odd is the red vinyl standard interior with the blue exterior. Randal sold the car years ago. Its whereabouts today is unknown.