Jim Smart
December 16, 2016

Ford’s T5 German export pony car has amassed more curiosity than any other Mustang model in history. Not many people know what they are. Even fewer own them. Gary Hanson of suburban San Jose, California is one of them. He owns two consecutively numbered 1966 Ford T5 GTs bucked at the Metuchen, New Jersey assembly plant on the same day. What’s more, they were positioned together—bumper to bumper—on the final line, which means they rolled off the line consecutively back to back prior to shipment to Germany.

T5 historian Hanson picks up the story, saying, “Few American cars were sold to Europeans due to the high cost of fuel and difficulty in getting parts in the 1960s. They were however, considered by the European elite to be prestigious imported cars, with convertibles being especially popular due to their weather-proof tops, powerful engines, and high output heaters. In fact most American cars in Europe were sold to American service personnel who were able to purchase new American cars via the military PX/BX system and could buy fuel at greatly reduced cost at on-base gas stations. When the tour of duty was complete the cars were shipped home compliments of the US Military.”

When Ford’s sporty Mustang entered the marketplace early in 1964 it received worldwide acclaim. Even people who didn’t need a second or third car just had to have one. Word of the Mustang roared across the Atlantic to the European continent, which is where Ford sold a sizable chunk of those first pre-production Mustangs. Quite a few went to European road rally racers. The rest were for promotional purposes and private sale.

“Sometime in the early 1950s, Krupp, a German truck manufacturer, introduced a large general purpose truck called Mustang. Krupp was issued German copyrights to the name Mustang and continued to build this truck for many years,” Gary tells Mustang Monthly, “This truck was built in several configurations including a dump truck and even a fire engine. Ford faced a big challenge when it tried to sell Mustang in Germany. Rather than simply buying the Mustang name from Krupp for a reported $10,000 Ford chose to change the name of all Mustangs exported to Germany to T5. T5 has no specific meaning for this German export except “T5” was the original project code name for the Mustang when it began as the Sporty Ford Car Project.”

Gary built his T5 GTs to drive. We like these period American Torq-Thrust wheels on the Candyapple Red GT fastback, which has been in Gary’s stable since 1977.
Notice what’s missing? T5s were shipped to Germany void of the “MUSTANG” we’re used to seeing. In fact this T5 GT with Interior Décor Group did not get the simulated woodgrain steering wheel normally included with the Décor Group.

Ford had additional hurdles in Germany aside from the T5 name change. “Early on in 1965-1966 several modifications were incorporated to change the car from a Mustang to a T5. For 1965, Mustang received modified hubcaps with a plain black center. Both 1965-1966 model years had the word Mustang removed from the horn ring along with other minor changes. The Mustang’s Interior Décor Group package (Pony Interior) included a simulated deluxe wood steering wheel. Most of the time Ford T5s with the Interior Décor Group received the standard steering wheel with ‘Mustang’ deleted from the horn ring.” Gary added.

Gary goes on to say, “Ford had to design special ‘T5’ fender emblems for where the Mustang name normally went. These emblems (C5ZZ-6325622A) are about ¾ inches high and four inches long. T5’s were also fitted with export braces Shelby also used on the G.T. 350 for structural rigidity,” Gary tells us, “Changes in later years were fewer, often only replacing the Mustang emblems with a newly designed T5 emblem (C7ZZ-16098C) that was similar to the early GT emblems with T5 centered vertically. These emblems were used on all T5s until December 1979 when T5 production ended.”

Some but not all 1967 T5s and all 1968s received a special dash bezel above the glove box with the T5 designation. By 1971 a new dash emblem (D1ZZ-6504460-A) was used in the center of the dashboard above the radio and heater controls. When Ford introduced the all-new 1974 Mustang II the Ford T5 II received a special dash emblem (D4ZZ-6904460-A).

It can easily be said Ford T5 parts have been obsolete from Ford for ages and are no longer available anywhere unless you can find new old stock or used. As the T5 evolved through the years, most production changes were performed with predictability and consistency. “However, due to production oversights and perhaps lack of close attention by selling dealers in Germany, a lot of variations have been noted by T5 owners and enthusiasts,” Gary adds, “Mustangs and T5s were one of the most popular American cars with German nationals, although the exact numbers are not known, many were sold directly to Germans and remain in Germany to this day. The Krupp copyrights to the name Mustang expired in December 1979 and all Mustangs exported to Germany after that date were called Mustangs.”

Gary tells us T5 identification can be tricky. It is important to note all T5s received an export DSO code in the 90-95 range. However, not all export DSO code Mustangs are T5s. Mustangs were exported to destinations all over the world. Ford T5s were produced at both the Dearborn, Michigan and Metuchen, New Jersey assembly plants. Both plants produced 1965 T5s. Metuchen did 1966 T5s exclusively. As a rule Dearborn units had a DSO code of 91 while Metuchen units had DSO 95. Despite everything we know about Mustang production in 2016, very little is understood about export DSO codes. T5 production at Metuchen ended when the plant changed over to Pinto in 1971. From then on all T5s were built at Dearborn, Michigan.

Two-Fold Finds

Clad in glistening Candyapple Red is Gary Hanson’s 1966 T5 GT fastback with the A-code 289-4V engine and a Tremec T-5 five-speed conversion from Modern Driveline. This T5 was purchased by Gary sight unseen in 1977 for $800 in California’s vast central valley. The car was in decrepit shape and little more than an old beat-up used Mustang. At the time, they weren’t known as classic Mustangs; just used cars.

Gary knew he wanted the car. It needed a clutch and the exhaust system was all but gone, but it was a salvageable restorable automobile. No one had noticed the front fender badging but Gary did. He didn’t understand the T5 nomenclature, which captured his interest immediately. One person suggested a previous owner might have purchased these badges from J.C. Whitney. When Gary removed one of the emblems he noticed the FoMoCo logo, and quickly understood these emblems had merit, but what did “T5” mean? He called Ford and spoke with a gentleman who knew what these cars were and explained the designation to Gary. “And so began the long journey to find out as much as I could about Ford T5s,” Gary laughs, “and I can tell you this journey continues today.”

With the T5 safe and secure in his garage, Gary began a lengthy restoration. He never intended to perform a concours restoration on this car, especially not in the late 1970s. Rather, he just wanted the car to be pleasurable to drive and presentable in appearance. He replaced one of the quarter panels, which was badly damaged, and he installed a new exhaust system. In baby steps, Gary restored the car and rolled it out into the California sunshine. He began showing the car locally and enjoyed chatting with people about its unique demeanor. In time, Gary started driving the car cross-country to shows vast distances away.

Gary built his T5s to drive, which means each 289-4V engine was built and dressed for active duty. Note the more efficient Classic Auto Air AC compressor and Edelbrock carburetion.

By 1995 the 289 had become tired and in need of a rebuild. That’s when he decided to tackle the entire car with a fresh interior, carpeting, paint, and fresh rolling stock. He contacted Bruce Couture at Modern Driveline about performing a five-speed conversion. He wanted a classic Mustang he could drive anywhere. The Modern Driveline five-speed made that doable. While he was at it he opted for a complete factory air conditioning system from Classic Auto Air.

“This car has been a pleasure to drive,” Gary reflects, “Hard to park this car anywhere without someone stopping by for a look. I have driven this car to many shows including Nashville, Steamboat Springs, Seattle, and even Richmond, British Columbia. It was also the lead car for Mustangs In Motion across the continent to the 35th back in 1999.”

Finding The Sister Ship

“This Silver Frost T5 came to my attention in 1985,” Gary comments, “A man living near San Diego called to tell me he had what was believed to be a T5. Based on what he said to me it sounded like a legitimate T5. When I asked for the VIN he read it to me right off the registration. The consecutive unit number was 118255—just one number away from my red T5. Needless to say I was stoked and ready to buy it.”

Gary found himself greeted with the man’s decline. He wasn’t interested in selling and intended to restore the car. As you might imagine the car sat and rotted in the Southern California sun for years. Gary continued in his efforts to buy the car to no avail. In 2001 the man invited Gary down to inspect the car and make an offer. “All I saw was rust, rust, and more rust….” Gary laments, “The exterior had been painted in a bright red. Interior had been repainted red. Seats had been redone. But it was all there.”

Gary attempted to negotiate with the man on price but he wasn’t budging. The car had nice options like air conditioning and a Rally-Pac, and was originally clad in an unusual color combo in Silver Frost with a Parchment interior and blue appointments. The man believed the car was nice enough for the money and could be restored in a matter of weeks. Gary went home disheartened.

Most unusual is the Silver Frost/Parchment with blue appointments color combo on 118255. This color combination is more unusual than the T5.
Note the difference in 118255’s buck tag, which was made from leftover 1965 Ford warranty plates. Do you see the two warranty plate holes? It doesn’t have the normal wavy edges most Metuchen buck tags have.

“In the summer of 2010 my son-in-law crafted a letter to the Silver Frost owner telling him he wanted to buy the T5 for me as a surprise Christmas present. After several telephone calls my son-in-law was able to close the deal and the car became mine,” Gary smiles, “Transportation was arranged and the car was delivered to my home the next day. I finally had the second T5 I so badly wanted.”

Euphoria gave way to despair. As Gary began tearing the T5 apart his worst fears were realized. More rust. He had the car media blasted and shipped to East Bay Muscle Cars where extensive sheet metal replacement would ensue. The engine and driveline were rebuilt. There was fresh seat upholstery, carpet, and all the trimmings. Gary meticulously restored all of the T5’s many components and began assembly in earnest.

Gary has equipped his 289-4V engines in similar fashion with Edelbrock carburetion, rotary compressors, and Pertronix ignition.

As 2013 wound to a close the Silver Frost T5 GT moved under its own power for the first time in 31 years. The only change Gary made beyond that point was power steering to make the going easier. Gary decided to keep the original Top Loader four-speed just to relive the classic sound of a good old-fashioned four-speed revving up in first gear like he remembered from his youth.

When Gary walks out to the garage and carport he can feel good about what he has accomplished in a lifetime as a committed Mustang enthusiast and historian. It has been through his extensive research over the past 39 years that he has been able to learn more about the T5 than he ever imagined. The added benefit has been the friendships gained and conversations had with T5 owners in nearly four decades. For Gary, it has been more than just a name change. It has been a way of life with treasured friends he has known for most of his life.

Mustang badging was replaced by “T5” on Mustangs exported to Germany. This is a 1966 T5 GT, which still got the GT emblems like their rest of the world counterparts fitted with the GT Equipment Group. Notice the absence of “MUSTANG” lettering in the GT stripe.
Gary’s 1966 T5 GT was ordered with the optional Interior Décor Group in rich black molded vinyl with pistol grip door handles.


By The Numbers

Consecutively numbered 1966 Ford T5 GT fastbacks. One Red. One Silver. How does that work? When we examine warranty plates, body buck tags, and the broadcast sheets the answer becomes clear. We’ve seen consecutively numbered Mustangs before. Just because they are consecutively numbers in the VIN does not always mean they were consecutively positioned on the assembly line.

The six-digit consecutive unit number in the VIN is an order number assigned at the line-up office at the assembly plant when the dealer order becomes serialized. For example, 100001 would be the first Ford Division plant order for that particular model year; 100002 would be the second, 100003 would be the third and so on. Were it a Mercury Division unit it would begin 500001, 500002, 500003, and so on.

Before you are two consecutively numbered T5 GT fastbacks assembled at Metuchen, New Jersey on the same day—October 19, 1965 with a buck tag date code of “K19” on each. They are serialized 118255 and 118256. On the body line where steel stampings came together to become a Mustang body, 118255 has a rotation number of “432” while 118256 employs a body line rotation number of “245”. This means there were 187 bodies bucked in between these two T5 units. Although 118255 has a higher consecutive unit number, it was bucked and welded together 187 units later than 118256.

Why are the body line rotation numbers so far apart? The answer can be found in paint color mostly. Bodies were generally painted in color groups. For example several bodies together in Candyapple Red, then a group in Wimbledon White, and so on. This wasn’t always the case, but it was commonplace then.

Completed and painted bodies then entered the trim and chassis line for final assembly, which is where these bodies caught up with each other as back-to-back units with consecutive trim and chassis (final line) rotation numbers as witness the broadcast sheets Gary shared with us. Although these T5s have scheduled build date codes of “28J” (September 28, 1965) on their warranty plates on the driver’s doors, they were built behind schedule later on in October.

Close examination of both the warranty plate and body buck tag indicates just how close both T5s were on the Metuchen assembly line. Gary’s Candyapple Red GT is 6T09A118256. The Silver Frost GT fastback is 6T09A118255—just one number away. Body line rotation number place these T5s 187 units apart. Trim and chassis line rotation numbers place them back-to-back on the final line. More interesting are the special order DSO codes of 95-0254 for 118256 and 95-0274 for 118255.