Miles Cook
April 1, 2002

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Right off the bat, we were really into Clayton George's bad-to-the-bone '68½ Mustang GT hardtop with rare 428 Cobra Jet big-block power. It's a real sleeper combo when you combine the more subtle (maybe even staid) hardtop body style with heavy-hitting Cobra Jet motivation, which is a great contrast to the CJ Mustangs built that year in the more racy fastback form.

Finished in a Highland Green hue (the same color as the '68 Bullitt Mustang), Clayton's car has all the requisite GT bits, like the emblems and grille-mounted fog lights, to make it coveted among Mustangs of the era. But what really got us excited was when we scanned the tech sheet that Clayton filled out for us. Learning the exalted status of this piece of big-block Mustang history made us realize this isn't your average restored '60s-era Ford pony car.

Clayton told us, "This car is one of two consecutive numbered hardtops ordered by a father and son in 1968. The father was original owner Howard Jones of Rockfall, Illinois. Both cars were delivered on the same transport to Sterling Myers Ford in Sterling, Illinois. Furthermore, both cars were sold as a pair through three owners until they were split up in Connecticut in 1992. When I found the car in an Auto Trader-type paper, it only had 59,000 miles on it. One of only 221 428CJ hardtops built, its options include the following: GT equipment group, Ram Air, a heavy duty C6 automatic transmission, an 8,000 rpm tachometer, power disc brakes, power steering, courtesy lights package, chrome steel wheels, a Detroit locker differential with 3.91:1 gears, Highland Green paint with Gold C stripe, a flat-black hood stripe, and a lower console. The cost of this car new in 1968 was $3,867.89. Although it was in fair condition when I brought it home, I still took it all apart and did a complete restoration."

Already impressed with this information on the car, we kept reading about the research Clayton was able to unearth on this ultra rare big-block Mustang. He was able to learn that the car is "one of 317,423 '68 Mustangs; 249,456 of them were hardtops. Of those, 221 were built with 428 CJ engines and 119 CJs came with an automatic transmission. Seventeen were painted Highland Green, eight had standard black bucket seats, and of these, three had 3.91 traction-lock 9-inch rear axles. Interestingly, one was ordered with power steering and, amazingly, this is the car, which was produced on May 6, 1968.

Although Clayton owns nine Mustangs--including seven '68 models, one of every body style--to us, this is clearly the coolest one he has. His stable of '68s includes a Shelby GT 350, a convertible with a 302, a GT fastback, a six-cylinder hardtop with 11,000 miles on it, a High Country Special, a California Special, and the car featured here. He also has a '69 Boss 429 with 39,000 miles and a Washington State Patrol '87 LX 5.0 hardtop. Other than maybe (but only maybe) the Boss '9, we'd choose this righteous Cobra Jet hardtop for cruising around during those Bellingham, Washington summers. Wouldn't you?