Jim Smart
April 1, 2004

As in '65-'66, the Shelby GT350 had the 306-horse 289 High Performance. But because Ford was offering big-block power, Shelby went one better, fitting the 428ci big-block between the shock towers of the GT500. The 428 would have twin Holley four-barrel carburetors for dazzling performance.

Although the '68 Mustang is often confused with the '67, it sports significant changes. The '68 Mustang was designed more with safety in mind, with shoulder belts, pushbutton seatbelt buckles, collapsible steering column, locking seatbacks, headrests (later in the model year), redesigned door handles and armrests, and less-intrusive vent-window latches and door lock buttons. The '68 also has side-marker lights and reflectors. In place of the grille bars were a large corral around the more traditional Mustang pony and corral. Although the taillights look the same, they're different too, trimmed in black to create a sharp appearance.

The GT Equipment Group for '68 was watered down, as front disc brakes became optional. Everything else-stripes and badges, pop-open GT gas cap, handling package, and V-8 power-remained standard. The standard V-8 with the GT was the 230-horse 302 four-barrel, but many buyers opted for the 390 High Performance. Where wheel covers were once standard with the GT, Ford gave buyers an extra with Styled Steel wheels and raised-white-letter tires.

Inside, the Mustang's interior changed in subtle ways. Seatbacks became thicker with optional headrests for greater protection. The instrument panel received subtle changes, with critical items, such as the fuel gauge, relocated for better driver visibility. The oversized "crash dome" '67 steering wheel was dropped and replaced with an all-new safety wheel for '68.

The Interior Dcor Group for '68 received rich woodgrain appointments, with rolled and pleated upholstery, door-panel handholds and courtesy lamps, a redesigned console, and a host of other refinements.

Because the Mustang struggled to keep up with Camaro and Firebird on Main Street, Ford stepped up to the plate on April 1, 1968 with the 428 Cobra Jet. Ford sprung this monster on the public at the '68 NHRA Winternationals, standing the racing world, and Main Street, on their respective ears. The Cobra Jet changed the way enthusiasts saw the Mustang from then on.

Shelby American became Shelby Automotive for '68, with Ford taking over Shelby Mustang production and moving it to Michigan. The Shelby Mustang received a redesign of its fiberglass, with single-set headlamps and fog lamps, a louvered and scooped fiberglass hood, a spoiler rear decklid, and revised taillights.

'69-'70The '69 Mustang was the first bold styling step beyond the original concept. It had twin headlamps, and the lines were more deeply sculptured, with redesigned side scoops nestled into broad-shouldered quarter-panels. The Mustang's concave tailpanel became even more pronounced, with bolder three-element taillights.

Inside, the '69 Mustang was completely different. It had twin pods for the driver and passenger, with full instrumentation for the driver. Things that made the Mustang successful remained, such as standard bucket seats and floor shift. High-back buckets were a first in the Mach 1 and with the optional Sports Interior. The '69 model year offered the greatest line-up of powerplants in Mustang history. Buyers bent on economy got the 200ci six, while those who wanted brute speed ordered the 428 Cobra Jet.

There were four new Mustang names for '69: SportsRoof, Mach 1, Grande, and Boss. SportsRoof was a new name for an established body style: the fastback. The Mach 1 was a super-sporty approach to the Mustang. Grande was a luxury Mustang hardtop available for less money than a Cougar.