Jim Smart
April 1, 2000
Contributers: Jeff Ford Photos By: Mustang Monthly Archives

In April 1965 Ford introduced a package that had the potential to change the face of the Mustang from that of a well-mannered saddle horse to one of bucking fury with beastly attitude. That package was the GT, or Grand Touring. This Grand Touring package was one that gave the driver a better-handling, better-performing car in one neat package. Prior to April, the buyer could have gotten the stuff, but it was scattered in an options list the size of Texas. Now it was easy to go to the dealer and ask for a filly equipped with the rock-n-roll 4V 289 or-if you dared-the 4V 289 High Performance V-8. This began a legend that has prospered and grown into almost mythical proportions. The GTs-especially the early ones-have gained a place most cars packing a small displacement V-8 only dream about. Why?

There is a mystique about these cars that seems to transcend big power and sports car handling. The early GTs were no great shakes at the drags. Sad but true. In 1965 Car Life reported a hardtop powered by the 225 Challenger V-8 as clocking a sleepy 16.80 with a C4. Admittedly, these guys were not hot shoes at the drags because the car should be faster...or should it? Even the 271hp 289 managed to pull only a 15.90 at the drags under the tutelage of the guys at Motor Trend. Still, these cars command some of the best prices and most "oohs" and "aahs" from the Mustang faithful.

The hottest engine you could get in 1965 or 1966-the 289 Hi-Po.

The respect is such that in 1982 Ford revived the GT moniker and slapped it on the 164hp 2V 5.0 V-8 Mustang, and even mixed its metaphors by saying "The Boss is back."

What follows is a short list of the major components and items that seem to buzz the hobby about these cars. We also took the liberty of giving you a crash course in the GT package year by year.

'65 GT Package
Body: Side tape stripe, special GT badging on the fenders, chrome exhaust trumpets, and foglights mounted in the grille.

Interior: Standard interior with special five-dial cluster, Deluxe interior (optional).

Engine: 289 4V (standard), 289 4V High Performance (optional).

Transmission: three-speed (standard on the 4V), four-speed (standard on the Hi-Po), or C4 automatic.

Chassis: Special handling package (heavy-duty springs and shocks, 71/48-inch sway bar up front, front disc brakes, and 16:1 steering gear) and wheel covers with spinners (standard).

Rear Gear: 3.00, 3.25, 3.50. Note that all engines were backed with an 8-inch differential except for the 289 Hi-Po, which carried the 9-inch.

Quick Facts: It has been rumored that some export GTs with the 289 High Performance received the C4 automatic. Another interesting fact is that the 289 Hi-Po was not available with air conditioning.

All the options that could be had on the regular-production Mustang were available on the GT. Color choices also were limited only by the buyer's budget and whim. The only limiting factor for GT buyers was the stripe package, which was available in black, white, blue, and red.

'66 GT PackageBody: Side tape stripe, special GT badging on the fenders, chrome exhaust trumpets, foglights mounted in the grille, and special GT gas cap.

Interior: Standard interior, Deluxe interior (optional).

Engine: 289 4V (standard), 289 4V High Performance.

Transmission: three-speed (standard on 4V), four-speed (standard on Hi-Po), or C4 automatic.

Chassis: Special handling package (heavy-duty springs and shocks, 71/48-inch sway bar up front, front disc brakes, and 16:1 steering gear) and standard wheel covers with spinners.

Rear Gear: 3.00, 3.25, 3.50. Note that all engines were backed with an 8-inch differential except for the 289 Hi-Po, which carried the 9-inch.

Quick Facts: The 289 Hi-Po-powered GT was now available in the United States with the C4 automatic. Though there are no firm numbers to support the actual production of this combination, there weren't many built since most buyers went for the four-speed.