Jeff Ford
July 1, 2001
Contributers: Jeff Ford, Bill Erdman Photos By: Bill Erdman

Many today would look at Steven and Melissa Esposito's little '67 hardtop and pass it right by. And that, my friends, would be a shame. Why, you ask? In this hobby where power is king and flash gets all the oohs and ahs, cars such as this Pebble Beige beauty offered by the couple from Scotch Plains, New Jersey, is a rare sight-and a treat. Though many of us are guilty of focusing on the highbrow Mach 1s, Bosses, and GTs, folks like Steve and Melissa quietly go about making sure the real Mustangs aren't forgotten. We say "real" because there were many more mundane Mustangs than GTs floating around U.S. college campuses and office parking lots in 1967. Average cars packing the 289 2V and the 200 1V were a dime a dozen back in the day.

This car is one such average car-with a couple of above-average options. Although this '67 is not a highbrow, it's designed to get from point A to point B in style and comfort. Under the basic, flat hood is the fuel hero of 1967: the 200 inline-six. Stone-cold reliable and sturdy as an anvil, the 200 could-and did-motor close to 150,000 Mustangs for 1967. Compare that to the GT's optional 390 at nearly 30,000 units and you know the six was a hot seller. What's really flashy on this particular hardtop is the big, black compressor that feeds cold air into the parchment-appointed interior. Inside is the only other option-an AM/FM radio. We're sure the radio was installed to keep the driver entertained while he scooted around in the heat of the day. The 200 transfers any available power-while running the A/C-through a Ford three-speed and a 3.00 open rear gear.

When the Esposito family got ahold of the hardtop, it needed no bodywork-thanks to it living its life in the drier part of Texas. What's cool for the Espositos-or anyone performing a ground-up resto-is they were able to reuse many of the parts from the car. Since the car is a six, most of the engine's components were still on the car-unlike your average 428 Cobra Jet. This made the job of bringing the hardtop back to its old self a bit easier.

Even though many may view this particular model Mustang as a "nothing special" hardtop, we see it as a time capsule for what was. This car is one of a few standard bearers for the average Mustang of the '60s. It's something to point to as an example of what Ford was really doing with the Mustang in 1967-and for that, we couldn't be happier.