Jim Smart
April 1, 2004

The GT Equipment Group included GT badges and stripes, fog lamps, and exhaust trumpets that protruded through the rear valance panel. The GT also came with the five-dial instrument cluster. For performance, GTs had the handling suspension, front disc brakes, and the 225-horse 289-4V engine, with the 289 Hi-Po optional.

Because the Mustang got off to a rough start with performance buffs, Ford looked to Carroll Shelby, who was successful with his two-seat AC Cobras. Shelby, with the help of a lot of great talent, developed a high-performance Mustang that would go after not only Airport Road but racing venues all over the world. The result was the Shelby Mustang GT350. Mustang performance would never be the same.

Mustang segued into 1966 with few changes because it was a smashing success just the way it was. The '66 Mustang is identified by its redesigned grille with multiple die-cast bars and an isolated pony/corral. The '66 Mustang GT kept its grille bars and fog lamps, with a blacked-out die-cast grille, which made the grille ornament look as if it were freestanding. Standard Mustang trim included a multi-finger, quarter-panel side-scoop ornament when accent stripes weren't ordered. The '66 Mustang's gas cap is a redesigned die-cast piece with the pony and tri-bar as standard equipment. The GT received its own, distinctive gas cap.

Looking at the '66 Mustang, it's hard to distinguish from the '65. That's because Ford wanted it that way, continuing one of the greatest marketing success stories in American history.

'67-'68For '67, Ford faced a formidable task: maintaining the Mustang magic while improving the breed in the process. In the Mustang's original form, there was certainly room for improvement. Yet, no one wanted to be responsible for liquidating the passion the buying public had for America's ponycar. Iacocca said, "Change it, but don't change it..."

The '67 Mustang rolled into showrooms with more deeply sculptured lines, a wider track, a more mouthy grille, simulated side scoops, a concave tailpanel, three-element taillights, a richer interior, new safety features, and an optional 390ci big-block engine. At first glance, the '67 Mustang was still a Mustang, but with a new persona that made a bolder statement.

For '67, the Mustang came standard with the same 120-horse 200ci six. Base V-8 power was the 200-horse 289 with two-barrel carburetion. Optional V-8 power included the 225-horse 289 with four-barrel carburetion, the 271-horse 289 High Performance, and the new 325-horse 390 High Performance big-block.

Inside, the '67 Mustang had a richer standard interior, with a black camera-case finish, twin-pod instrumentation, windshield pillar pads, an overhead dome light, and controls that were more tastefully blended into the dashboard. The Interior Dcor Group was clad in brushed aluminum for a more striking appearance. The '67 Mustang's Interior Dcor option reminded buyers of Mustang concept cars like the Mustang II and Mach 1.

The GT Equipment Group for '67 returned much as it was for '66, with one exception: You could order a GT with the base 289-2V V-8. The '67 Mustang GT and GTA (GT with automatic) came with GT stripes and badges, fog lamps with blackout grille, a GT gas cap, dual exhaust with quad tips, front disc brakes, and the handling package.

Shelby American redesigned the Shelby Mustang to complement the changes that came from Dearborn. The '67 GT350 and new GT500 had an elongated front end, with a shark's-mouth fiberglass fascia, twin-set headlamps, and a scooped hood. It also had a fiberglass rear decklid, with an upsweep spoiler design, pop-open gas cap, and full six-element taillights. Shelby looked to the Ford GT40 for his inspiration with the Mustang, installing side scoops in two locations.