1969 Ford Mustang 390GT - Due Respect
Dave Elbert's '69 GT Doesn't Sport Top-Of-The-Heap Cobra Jet Power, But There's No Need For Apologies
In its swan song year of production, the 390GT was part of a broad spectrum of Mustang powerplants, seemingly offering something for every niche customer. At 320 hp, the 390 slotted right between the 290-horse four-barrel 351 Windsor and the 335hp 428CJ, though by 1970, a new 300-horse four-barrel 351 Cleveland would cover all middle ground.
The aesthetic appeal of this '69 goes beyond the core of its SportsRoof bodywork, with obvious enhancements coming from the factory Candyapple Red topcoat and GT Equipment Group. We love Mach 1s as much as the next guy, but the rarity of the GT means its unique look holds a certain charm all its own. According to Kevin Marti's tome, Mustang... by the Numbers, a staggering 72,458 Mach 1s were built in 1969 compared to 4,084 GT SportsRoofs and 6,694 GTs of all body styles. Likewise, 428CJ Mustangs outnumbered 390GTs on the order of 3 to 2, so other than ultimate bench-racing bragging rights, Dave has several low production statistics to be proud of.
The GT Equipment Group for the '69 was different than previous years, most notably due to the absence of foglights or body emblems. Never-theless, the package was still a winner with its rocker stripes, pop-open gas cap, and Styled Steel wheels, as well as a couple of new items: a hoodscoop and hood pins. Not to be forgotten is the special handling package that included heavy-duty springs, shocks, and a front sway bar, making GTs more than an appearance option.
Dave admits that when he stumbled onto this particular car in 2001, he was looking for a 428-powered machine, but he easily fell for the GT SportsRoof due to its obvious appeal. A lower entry fee was also a welcome reality, as the perceived biggest and best always comes at considerable cost.
It's likely we'd have made the same decision given the choice, and in a way, we did: by awarding Mustang Monthly's Editor's Choice award to Dave and his GT at the '06 Mustang Roundup. Against hundreds of other cars, some of higher musclecar repute, this one held its head high and aptly defended the honor of the first big-block ever fitted to the Mustang.