Wayne Cook
December 1, 2004

Those wanting to get started in the vintage Ford hobby face a different market than we did ten years ago. It's getting more and more difficult to find first generation V-8 Mustangs that are good entry-level cars. The supply of unrestored convertibles and fastbacks is growing ever smaller, especially for those equipped with the desirable V-8 engine. Enthusiasts who own many of these Mustangs are interested in working on and making the most of their car, and they're not interested in selling. More and more it seems as if the $7,500 '65 fastback with a few rough edges for sale in the want ads of the local newspaper has become a $20,000 beauty listed in Hemmings Motor News.

Even the far more numerous hardtop models have gotten more expensive as the popularity of all vintage Mustangs just keeps going up and up. many folks are finding the only way to get into the game is to try and find a six-cylinder version in good shape. Very often this is the only affordable option for those looking for a convertible or fastback, with the value of the hardtops following closely behind. The good news is there are still many good deals out there on the small-engine version of the Mustang, and if the six doesn't float your boat then installing a V-8 is very doable. Much of what you'll need is available new. Other parts such as axle assemblies and front spindles aren't available new, but can be found at a reasonable price if you shop around. Let's look at the steps we took getting this '65 Mustang convertible ready for a 289.

1 Here's the underhood situation on our '65 Mustang project. We picked this up for a song compared to what a V-8 car would have cost us. The original 170-cube inline six-cylinder engine and C4 automatic transmission still reside there. The car was wired for several different aftermarket add-ons, such as cruise control and air adjustable rear suspension. These were removed straight away.

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