John Gilbert Staff Editor
December 1, 2015

Reaping praise from auto enthusiasts since the day it came out during mid-1964, the new Ford Mustang was a natural to modify. The list of participants included almost every aftermarket parts manufacturer from California to the tip of Maine. Even the Ford factory guys weren’t immune from the urge to hot rod, or customize the all-new pony car.

To illustrate what we’re talking about we went through the pages of 1965-1967 issues of Hot Rod magazine and pulled out what we think are sixteen of the coolest early Mustang trends you might or might not remember.

Did you remember in 1966 Ford made the 271hp 289 K-code Mustang available with a 3-speed Cruise-O-Matic automatic transmission? Here’s one that’s really obscure—how about the Cal Automotive fiberglass Mustang fastback body? A closer look at the Cal Automotive ad looks like the doors and front fenders were factory original steel, but the rest of the body is definitely made out of fiberglass.

For under the hood, tuners like Geraghty Racing of Sun Valley, California offered dyno-tune kits that included Packard 430 plug wires, carb jets, and distributor advance curve kits to gain up to 25-percent more horsepower.

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Right from the gate Mustang’s pony logo was real popular, so the folks at EELCO offered finned pony aluminum valve covers and shift knobs. Things really got interesting when the factory stepped in with Ford GT40 inspired items. The company offered everything from GT mirrors and road lamps to Cobra tachs and Mustang Rally Pac gauge clusters, as well as simulated wood steering wheels and chromed steel wheels as well.

Ford even offered an “exciting” 64-page Cobra parts catalog with dual quad setups, hot Cobra solid lifter camshafts and Cobra distributor kits to match. If a guy didn’t have the money to order a brand-new Shelby GT350S the next best thing was to go straight to Paxton and buy a Paxton Supercharger kit for $365.00.

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Even the kid that wasn’t old enough to drive could get in on the hot Mustang fun with a Cobra T-shirt for a $1.50 or an enormous Cobra T-shirt for $2.50… Back in the mid-60s the cool kids in California wore enormous T-shirts (Not to be confused with the giant Muumuu worn by their enormous mothers).

Last but not least was the genuine Walnut wood-look craze brought on by the organic hippies in San Francisco. Actually that’s not true—wood accents were a common sight on luxury automobiles like Rolls Royce, Cadillac, and Mercedes Benz. Unlike cheaper imitation vinyl kits, the wood trim kits and wood rim steering wheel from PIP were made from genuine rain forest walnut trees. Honestly we don’t know where the walnut from PIP kits came from.

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