Jerry Heasley
April 1, 2005

According to Mustang Monthly columnist and Mustang Club of America Head Judge Bob Perkins, the second-most asked question in Resto Roundup is, "What's the correct antenna for my Mustang?" How could something so bland as a radio antenna, rising out of the front fender, be so controversial?

Because no antennas were installed on Mustangs at the factory. It was done at the dealerships, and dealers didn't always install the correct Mustang antennas. In some instances, it was even put in the wrong location, compounding the definition of "stock" even further. Perkins explains, "Owners will argue their incorrect antenna came on the car brand new."

The owner believes the antenna is "stock." But even though it may be original to the car, it isn't necessarily a correct Mustang antenna. The dealership may have installed the incorrect one, meaning it isn't OEM stock. It didn't arrive from the factory with the antenna because all were installed by dealers.

The Mustang Club of America answers the stock antenna question this way: "In some instances, if the car is original and unrestored with an incorrect antenna or antenna location, it's often overlooked during judging." However, the MCA maintains that if the car is restored, the restorer needs to install the correct (meaning OEM) antenna for the car. "Original equipment manufacture" is fairly easy to determine with the following guidelines from Perkins.

"All Mustang antennas, 1965 to 1972, have round masts and are telescopic. Teardrop masts are not Mustang antennas. The '73 Mustangs also have round masts, but they are non-telescoping."

To understand why dealers sometimes installed non-stock antennas, Perkins gave us a short history lesson. All antennas on first-generation Mustangs were delivered in the trunk, primarily to prevent damage during shipping. If the customer ordered a radio for his Mustang, chances are the dealer installed the factory-supplied antenna because it was in the trunk. But dealers also ordered, for showroom inventory, Mustangs with no radios. That way, the customer could specify which radio he wanted: an AM, an AM/FM, an AM/eight-track, and so forth. In these cases, the dealer installed the Mustang "radio kit," with the tuner and antenna in the bag, as seen here.

For a variety of reasons, an aftermarket antenna might also have ended up on the Mustang. Maybe the dealer got a better deal at the local parts store or he saved money ordering from JC Whitney. The customer paid less for his radio when optioned from the factory, but the dealer made more money if he installed the radio kit as a dealer accessory.