Jim Smart
April 1, 2000
Contributers: Jeff Ford Photos By: Jeff Ford

Step By Step

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Decked out and ready for action, this 2+2 GT sports the optional Styled Steel wheels.

In April 1965 Ford introduced a package that had the potential to change the face of the Mustang from that of a well-mannered saddle horse to one of bucking fury with beastly attitude. That package was the GT, or Grand Touring. This Grand Touring package was one that gave the driver a better-handling, better-performing car in one neat package. Prior to April, the buyer could have gotten the stuff, but it was scattered in an options list the size of Texas.

Now it was easy to go to the dealer and ask for a filly equipped with the rock-n-roll 4V 289 or—if you dared—the 4V 289 High Performance V-8. This began a legend that has prospered and grown into almost mythical proportions. The GTs—especially the early ones—have gained a place most cars packing a small displacement V-8 only dream about. Why?

There is a mystique about these cars that seems to transcend big power and sports car handling. The early GTs were no great shakes at the drags. Sad but true. In 1965 Car Life reported a hardtop powered by the 225 Challenger V-8 as clocking a sleepy 16.80 with a C4. Admittedly, these guys were not hot shoes at the drags because the car should be faster…or should it? Even the 271hp 289 managed to pull only a 15.90 at the drags under the tutelage of the guys at Motor Trend. Still, these cars command some of the best prices and most “oohs” and “aahs” from the Mustang faithful.

The respect is such that in 1982 Ford revived the GT moniker and slapped it on the 164hp 2V 5.0 V-8 Mustang, and even mixed its metaphors by saying “The Boss is back.”

What follows in the sidebars below is a short list of the major components and items that seem to buzz the hobby about these cars. We also took the liberty of giving you a crash course in the GT package year by year.