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There’s something extra-special about a classic Ford Mustang. These American muscle cars have reached legendary status. The first-generation Mustangs from the mid-’60s through the early ’70s are among the most coveted. Below are eight of the best from that era. Learn about the design, specs, and original pricing for the greats like the Shelby, the Mustang Mach 1, and more. You might even get inspired to find a classic Mustang for yourself.

1965 Ford Mustang

A 1965 Ford Mustang Fastback with two people standing next to it
1965 Ford Mustang Fastback | Bettmann via Getty Images

The 1965 Ford Mustang was the first, debuting at the World’s Fair in 1964. These pony cars made a huge impression, and today’s enthusiasts usually refer to the first models as “1964 ½ Mustangs.” Customers could buy these sweet rides in coupe or convertible body styles for around $2,300 to $2,500. And, boy, did Americans buy them. Ford sold 22,000 Mustangs on the first day of availability.

The original 1965 Ford Mustang packed a 170-CID straight-six, 4.3-liter V8 engine. There was also the 289-CID V8 version, capable of 271 hp. Later that year, Ford expanded the options with a 200-CID 3.3-liter and a 289 with a beefy double-barrel carburetor.

This pony came to run, and a host of performance extras were available. They included a handling package with special shocks and springs, a front sway bar, and a limited-slip differential. Buyers could get a push-button AM radio, wipers with two speeds (a big deal back in the day), and a remote-controlled side-view mirror. There were even power steering and power brakes, huge industry upgrades for the time. As popular as this car was, the 1965 Mustang was just the beginning.

1967 Ford Mustang

The car continued to impress a couple of years into production. Indeed, many collectors and enthusiasts consider the 1967 Mustang the best design of that decade. Ford replaced the semi-notchback with a fastback roof. The body grew in length, predominantly by the nose, and featured a wider chassis. This version was incredibly aggressive-looking, with a more prominent grille and signature triple-lamp taillights. 

Under the hood, the powerful 289-hp V8 engine rumbled. Inside, the cabin also saw improvements, including an all-new dashboard.

The average price range for a Mustang back then was $2,500 to $2,700. That’s about $21,000 in today’s dollars.

1967 Ford Mustang Fastback

The 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback was a fan favorite for several reasons. The top engine configuration was the 390-cubic-inch 4V, a V8 in its GT form. GT badging was also available, letting everyone around know the driver had the gutsiest Stang. There was also a special driveline and suspension, along with six-inch rims.

Interior additions in the 1967 Ford Mustang included an AM/FM radio, a sliding and tilting steering wheel, and the availability of a deluxe interior aluminum trim upgrade. There was even a cassette tape deck.

That year also introduced a series of special-edition Mustangs and limited-availability packages, allowing owners to customize their rides. These rare models are precious in today’s market. Back in the day, shoppers could have purchased one of these new 1967 Mustang Fastback models for around $3,000.

1967 Shelby Mustang GT500

The ultimate Ford Mustang variation in 1967 is arguably the Shelby GT500. This car became immortalized on the big screen as “Eleanor” in the Nicolas Cage action flick Gone in 60 Seconds. The real-life GT500 might not jump a line of cars in traffic as it did in the film, but this car boasts serious chops.

Ford’s collaboration with racing legend Carroll Shelby produced two variations. The Shelby GT350 had a 289 V8 engine. Meanwhile, the 1967 Shelby GT500 packed a 428 FE V8 beast, fine-tuned by Mr. Shelby himself.

The Shelby GT500 was easy to spot with its unique exterior design. It wore a fiberglass front end and an aggressive grille. It also had rear-facing and roof-mounted air scoops, along with quarter panel inserts to accentuate the rear spoiler.

Back then, customers could purchase a 1967 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 for under $5,000, which translates to roughly $35,000 when adjusted for inflation. However, Eleanor models cost much more nowadays. The movie car Cage drove sold at auction for $1 million a few years ago.

1968 Ford Mustang

When the 1968 Mustang arrived, Ford had made only modest changes. The 302-cubic-inch V8 replaced the 289 V8. And come mid-year release, a 390-hp 427-cubic-inch V8 debuted. Meanwhile, the 1968 model’s most noticeable visual distinction includes “F-O-R-D” lettering across the hood and a new grille design. The fenders also displayed “Mustang” lettering, making the ride easy to identify. 

Furthermore, this model got safer, thanks to federal mandates. The 1968 Ford Mustang had three-point seat belts and side marker lights. It also received an impact-absorbing steering column. 

Both Shelby variations — the GT350 and GT500 — returned for this production year. And the new GT500KR (King of the Road) version joined them. A Cobra Jet Mustang was available with a 428 V8 engine, as well, costing about $622 to add. Consumers could buy a base hardtop 1968 Mustang for $2,700, about $22,000 today. 

Additionally, the 1968 Mustang Fastback gained fame on the big screen. The Steve McQueen movie Bullitt followed the hero racing through the streets of San Francisco in a modified GT 390 Mustang. That car became so popular that Ford released special editions with the “Bullitt” nameplate in 2001, 2008, 2009, and 2019.

1969 Ford Mustang Fastback

In 1969, the Ford Mustang Fastback became a boss. The car grew about 3.8 inches longer and 0.5 inches wider. Under the hood lurked a 351-CID 5.8-liter engine, capable of producing 250 hp or 290 hp. Ford also introduced new Mach and Boss models.

The Boss 302 intended to meet the Trans-Am racing production guidelines of the time. Meanwhile, the Boss 429 brought a 375-hp 7.0-liter 429-CID engine to the street. The performance engines also returned for another round of Shelby models for the 1969 Mustang. However, this was the year Carroll Shelby and Ford parted ways. 

Additionally, the Blue Oval introduced the Grande Luxury model in 1969, adding a few indulgent extras to the popular muscle car. This Mustang came with a vinyl-covered roof, wire wheel covers, and a much softer suspension element. Also, Ford began adopting the term “Sportsroof” to replace the former “Fastback” moniker. According to Car and Driver, shoppers could purchase a Ford Mustang Boss 302 for $3,958.43. 

1969 Mustang Mach 1

There’s something extra-special about the 1969 Mustang Mach 1. The GT option was still commendable, but the Mach 1 package added flair, including chrome exhaust tips and hood lock pins. There was an available handling package and a few V8 engine configurations, too. Inside, this classic Mustang felt more refined, thanks to its imitation wood trim.

The Mustang Mach 1 had a 5.8-liter Windsor V8 engine capable of producing 250 hp at 4,600 rpm. Equally impressive was its 355 lb-ft of torque. This Stang could clock a 0-to-60 time of eight seconds flat and reach a top speed of 128 mph. 

Ford trotted out the 1969 Mach 1 to challenge the Chevrolet Camaro. Many enthusiasts consider it the meanest-looking Mustang ever built. In fact, Americans swarmed it in sales so much that the GT took time off to let the Mach 1 dominate.

Consumers in 1969 could buy a Ford Mustang Mach 1 for $3,125. For an extra $26, they could increase the horsepower by 40 hp with a four-barrel intake upgrade. That’s 65 cents per horse.

1970 Ford Mustang

When 1970 rolled around, Ford was still hot with Mustang production. Customers could buy a hardtop, a convertible, a Fastback (aka Sportsroof), a Grande hardtop, a Boss 302, a Boss 429, and the Mach 1. However, sales were beginning to dip, from 300,000 Stangs sold in 1969 to 200,000 in 1970.

A few distinctions set the 1970 Ford Mustang apart from others. They include the “Shaker” hood scoop, available with any model packing a 351-cubic-inch engine. From behind, a new flat fascia and three-bar taillights were prominent. Additionally, high-back bucket seats were a standard feature in 1970 Mustangs. Another upgraded amenity was an optional rear-window defrost function. Emissions regulations forced a few carburetor and ignition enhancements, too. 

Unsold 1969 models were given 1970 VINs and a few hood stripes and front spoilers. Not much else changed for these now-classic Mustang models, including options and pricing. Depending on the engine size and variation, 1970 Mustangs ran $3,000 to $5,000.

How much does a classic Ford Mustang cost?

The original prices of these classic Mustang models look like bargains by today’s standards. So, how much do they cost now? Auction sites show that first-generation Ford Mustangs continue to be highly coveted and valuable. Buying a new 1965 Mustang back then pales in comparison to today. According to, the average price paid these days is about $55,000. Indeed, many original models have sold for even more.

1967 Ford Mustang Fastback models list for $20,000 to $50,000 on average. A “non-Eleanor” version of the 1967 Shelby Mustang GT500 is a little pricier now — from $100,000 to over $200,000. 

If you want to buy a 1968 model Mustang, you’ll spend about $20,000 to $85,000, depending on the nameplate, engine, and variation for that year. Buying a 1969 Ford Mustang Fastback today will likely cost you anywhere between $50,000 and $80,000, depending on the version and condition. 

On the auction sites, you’ll be lucky to score a legendary Mach 1 for under $70,000. A 1970 Mustang with a 375-hp 429-CID engine can sell for over $200,000. And the smaller 300-hp 351-CID version has a median sale price of over $40,000, ConceptCarz reports.

If you have a special place in your garage reserved for a classic Mustang, these first-generation models are worth owning. Of course, you’ll pay far more in today’s dollars for those originals. However, as the Mustang evolves, these classic pony cars will only continue to increase in value.


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