Jerry Heasley
November 13, 2018

Your captors in a foreign enclave have agreed to release you based on your ability to differentiate a 1969 Mustang from a 1970 Mustang. Granted, such an occurrence is a longshot, but to cover your back, we have put together this 1969-’70 Spotter’s Guide.

Ford’s third major restyling of the first-generation Mustang for 1969 expanded its previous lineup of convertible, hardtop, and SportsRoof (fastback) with a Mach 1, a Boss 429, a Boss 302, and a luxury Grandé based on the hardtop.

There was no need to change the body style again for 1970, but Ford did make revisions that are more or less easy to spot. The 1969 models have four headlights, while 1970 models have two. That’s a big difference. The fastback has a simulated air intake scoop in the top of each rear quarter, and the ’70 model is smooth. That’s a small change. Our 1969-’70 Spotter’s Guide illustrates obvious differences from one year to the next.

Photography by Jerry Heasley

1969 model year Mustangs have four headlights—two inside the grille and two outboard. The Mustang running horse and tri-color bar mount to the driver side of the grille.
The 1970 Mustang has two headlights, both inside the grille. To either side of the grille are trim pieces with twin simulated airscoops. The Mustang running horse and tri-color bar mount in the center of the grille.
The 1969 model was the last year for the Mustang GT, which features side stripes without GT lettering. The argent Styled Steel wheels with GT hubcaps, pin-type hood lock latches, and a non-functional hoodscoop with integral turn signal indicators were also part of the GT Equipment Group for 1969. There was no 1970 Mustang GT.
The rear panel on ’69 Mustangs is concave. This Mustang is a GT, which features a pop-open gas cap with GT logo and dual two-tip exhaust outlets.
The front end of a 1969 Mach 1 uses the same grille as other Mustangs.
The grille of a 1970 Mach 1 features two amber lamps.
Pin-type hood lock latches indicate a 1969 model.
The 1969 model SportsRoofs came with a simulated scoop in the top of each rear quarter.
The 1969 taillights, trimmed in bright metal, feature three red housings protruding from a concave back panel.
1970 taillights are recessed into the rear panel, inside a chrome bezel featuring a black insert and argent paint.
The rear panel on ’70 Mustangs is flat.
The three-spoke Rim-Blow steering wheel was for 1969 only, as was the Deluxe Interior Decor Group highlighted by woodgrain accents.
All 1970 Mustangs came with a locking steering column featuring a two-spoke wheel, similar to 1969. Standard vinyl bucket seats carried over from 1969 to 1970.
High-back bucket seats were optional in 1969 and standard in 1970, seen here in Deluxe form on this 1970 convertible. One caveat is that 1969 Mach 1s all had high-back bucket seats.
For 1969, the four-speed shifter knob is round and black with a white shifter pattern.
The Hurst T-handle aluminum shifter handle came out in 1970 for the four-speed.
The ’69 Boss 302 (which was continued through 1970) is easily differentiated by its unique reflective “C” stripe on the body sides. All Boss 302s are SportsRoofs. Also, Ford omitted the sidescoops in the rear quarters of 1969 Boss 302s.
Ford introduced rear “Sports slats” and rear wing spoiler on the 1969 Boss 302.
The 1970 Boss 302 has unique reflective stripes that run along the lower body, and then up the front fenders onto the hood. The hood treatment is unique with one wide stripe flanked by three stripes on each side.
The 1969 Boss 302 has a blackout hood.
The Boss 429 came out in 1969 but was continued through 1970 with one easy-to-spot Boss 429-specific change (except on black cars).
A body-color scoop, unique to the Boss 429, means the Boss 429 is a ’69 model—unless the car is black, which would dictate a black scoop on a black car for 1969 and 1970.
Every ’70 Boss 429 came with black scoop.
The Boss 429 logos on the front fenders are the same for 1969 and 1970.
The 1970 Mach 1 has “MACH 1” lettering on the rear decklid, a black honeycomb-texture rear panel applique, and a pop-open gas cap.
Hood lock buttons indicate a 1970 Mustang.
The standard gas cap is the same for 1969 and 1970.
1969 hardtops and convertibles have a simulated air exhaust vent with fins on the rear quarter. This feature disappeared for 1970 and the panel was left flat.
What simple feature exposes this Mustang as a 1969 model instead of a 1970? What is the body style? (Look closely.)
What year Mach 1 is this and why?
Does this Shaker hoodscoop, introduced in 1969 and continued through 1970, give away the model year?
The 1970 Mach 1 came with a dark, finned aluminum rocker panel molding with die-cast “MACH 1” lettering.
What features identify this Mustang as a Mach 1? The model year is what?
What two body features give away this Mustang’s model year?
Mustang introduced a luxury hardtop called the Grandé in 1969. Both the 1969 and 1970 have “Grandé” script on the C-pillar, but the ’70 model, seen here, stands out with its landau-style vinyl roof treatment.
Grandé
If all else fails, decipher the VIN, visible through the windshield in the metal tab on top of the driver-side dash. Right after the “F” we read “0” for 1970. A “9” in this slot would be a 1969 model.