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How to: Add-On Cruise Control For Vintage Ford Mustangs
Make long distance drives in comfort with this modern convenience upgrade
Cruise control, or "Fingertip Speed Control" as Ford originally called it, is something the Mustang didn't see as an option until 1967. Consider yourself extremely lucky if your '67 Mustang came with factory speed control; according to Kevin Marti's Mustang…By the Numbers book, only 55 units were built with the option that year. For some reason, Ford dropped speed control for 1970-1978 Mustangs. It didn't reappear on the option list again until the new Fox-body Mustang arrived in dealer showrooms in 1979.
Today, speed control is a standard item on the new Mustang, and for good reason. Cruise control allows the driver to set and maintain a specific speed, which is a great way to save fuel (versus the constant throttle fluctuation via your right foot). Setting a specific speed threshold is also a good way to keep yourself off the radar, literally, when it comes to speed limits while traveling. Lastly, cruise control helps alleviate driver fatigue on long trips.
Vintage Mustangs are being driven more frequently and farther distances than we've seen in a long time. Frankly, this is great news. We heartily encourage owners to go drive and put some miles on their Mustangs whenever they can. Not only is the driving therapeutic, but it's one of the easiest ways to expose other people to our hobby. Who can resist a nice vintage Mustang rolling down the road? Adding cruise control to your vintage Mustang will make those longer trips a bit more enjoyable and certainly safer as well. If you've ever considered driving more than an hour or two on our nation's highways for events like the Pony Drive or even our sister magazine Hot Rod's Power Tour, cruise control can keep you sane behind the wheel.
Lincoln Jacobs, the owner of this recently finished '66 Mustang convertible Shelby clone, has plans for some serious long-distance driving, including an upcoming trip from his central Florida residence to Lexington, Kentucky, to visit family. Future plans include driving to Charlotte for the 50th Anniversary Mustang show. At 65 years of age and being tall, his long legs often tire from holding the accelerator pedal for extended driving. Adding cruise control to his drop-top is the perfect solution for long drives like he has planned.
Lincoln's kit of choice is the popular Rostra Precision Controls Global Cruise universal cruise control kit (PN 250-1223). Rostra offers a very complete kit for using the term universal (which often means having to buy a bunch of additional gear), along with multiple control choices so the system can be controlled from the stock Ford turn signal lever, a GM style lever (as used in many aftermarket tilt columns) or with a dash or console mounted set of buttons. Lincoln took his Mustang to Classic Creations of Central Florida for installation and we tagged along, camera in hand, to see just what's involved with the installation.