Jim Smart
August 1, 2000

Step By Step

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P79459_large 1969_Mustang_GT_Convertible Front_Passenger_SideP79460_large 1969_Mustang_GT_Convertible EngineP79461_large 1969_Mustang_GT_Convertible Interior

When Ford added the GT Equipment Group to the Mustang option list in April 1965, who knew what a success it would be? When the GT Equipment Group was introduced, it added sizzle to the steak with GT stripes and graphics, a handling package, disc brakes, exhaust trumpets, foglamps, a 4V, and a five-dial instrument panel. The GT Equipment Group made the Mustang more enjoyable to drive and behold.

During the first two years, the '65-'66 Mustang GT was an easy sell. It looked terrific and there was no equal. But in 1967 the Mustang GT had a lot more competition--the Camaro, the Firebird, a redesigned Barracuda, and Mercury's new Cougar. Each of these nameplates took a bite out of the market created by the Mustang. A year later, American Motors would introduce two ponycars--the Javelin and the AMX--further eroding sales from the Mustang ledger.

By 1969 you had to empathize with the humble Ford salesman. The Mustang had long been a car that sold itself. Competition from all the automakers--including Ford--made the Mustang a more challenging sell. When new competition developed for the Mustang GT within the Ford division, challenging turned into ironic. The all-new '69 Mustang Mach 1 wasn't introduced as a Mustang GT replacement, but as car line companion for the GT. By year's end, the Mustang GT option was gone.

Jerry and Ranee Maddox's '69 Mustang GT convertible is a strong reminder of the appeal the GT Equipment Group exuded that last year. It's a looker--clad in Candyapple Red, shod with chrome Styled Steel wheels with GT center caps, and powered by a 351W 4V yielding 290 hp. The car's GT status only enhances its value as a convertible. Drop the top on this luscious ride and watch the faces around you. It's a ponycar bent on luxury and cruising.

The 351W 4V was an engine that gave the Mustang outstanding low-range and midrange torque. It was terrific for the open road and impressive for spirited stoplight-to-stoplight performance. What gives this engine impressive torque is a 3.50-inch stroke from a 4-inch bore. That's an entire 1/2 inch more stroke than we find in the 289 and 302. Stroke translates into twist. The torquey Windsor channels the fillies through an FMX automatic transmission--a Borg-Warner three-speed automatic with a cast-iron case and an aluminum bellhousing. This is the slush box we find behind the 351W and many 351C engines. Ford's stocky 9-inch rearend sporting 3.00 gears makes this ride perfect for stop-and-go and open-road performance.

The inside has the Interior Decor Group in black vinyl for 1969, including low-back bucket seats with headrests, a console, a tilt-wheel, and full instrumentation.

Jerry put abundant effort into this first-class resto-ration. The reward for his efforts? Grand touring around beautiful northern Alabama with the top down. And for Jerry and Ranee, that's as often as possible.