Since its introduction in 1964, the Ford Mustang has become a quintessential classic car of the American automotive industry and culture. Iconic moments such as Steve McQueen’s pursuit of two hitman in Bullitt further cemented the 1968 Mustang’s place in history as an iconic symbol of 20th Century style, power, and performance. But beyond that larger-than-life cinematic moment there is much more to unpack about this storied muscle car; its design elements throughout time, available models over 50 years later in 2020, and potential future modifications or restoration that can bring your 1968 Mustang back to life! In this post we will discuss all those things so you can decide if buying this legendary automobile should be part of your own classic car story.
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Design and Styling Of 1968 Ford Mustang
The 1968 Ford Mustang featured a classic and iconic design that has become synonymous with American muscle cars. Here’s a description of the design and styling elements of the 1968 Ford Mustang:
– The 1968 Mustang had a long and sleek profile with a fastback roofline, giving it a sporty and aggressive appearance.
– The front end featured a prominent grille with a horizontal chrome bar running across it. The grille was flanked by quad headlights, which gave the car an unmistakable face.
– The hood had a raised center section, often referred to as a “power dome,” which added to the car’s muscular look.
– At the rear, the Mustang had signature triple vertical taillights on each side, with a Mustang emblem in the center. The taillights were set within a concave panel, giving the rear a distinctive and memorable look.
– The Mustang’s body featured sculpted lines and muscular contours, emphasizing its performance-oriented nature.
– The sides of the car had prominent creases that started at the front fenders and extended towards the rear, adding a sense of dynamic motion even when the car was stationary.
– The rear fenders were slightly flared, giving the Mustang a wider stance and hinting at its power.
– The 1968 Mustang was available in various color options, including classic shades like Raven Black, Wimbledon White, Candyapple Red, and Highland Green.
– Customization options also allowed buyers to choose from different racing stripes and decals to further personalize their Mustang.
– The interior of the 1968 Mustang offered a driver-focused cockpit with a mix of classic and sporty elements.
– Bucket seats were the standard option, providing good support and comfort for both the driver and front passenger.
– The dashboard featured a symmetrical layout, with a center console housing various controls and gauges. The instrument cluster included round dials with chrome bezels, giving a touch of elegance.
– Options for upholstery included vinyl or cloth, and buyers could choose from different colors to match their preferences.
Wheels and Tires:
– The Mustang came equipped with various wheel options, ranging from 14 to 15 inches in diameter, featuring different designs such as styled steel wheels or Magnum 500 wheels.
– Tires were typically wide and performance-oriented, providing good traction and enhancing the Mustang’s handling characteristics.
Performance and Power Of 1968 Ford Mustang
The 1968 Ford Mustang offered a range of performance options, catering to different driving preferences and needs. Here’s an overview of the performance and powertrain options available for the 1968 Mustang:
– The base engine was a 200 cubic inch (3.3-liter) inline-six cylinder engine, which produced around 115 horsepower.
– A popular option was the 289 cubic inch (4.7-liter) V8 engine, available in several variants:
– The two-barrel carbureted version produced approximately 195 horsepower.
– The four-barrel carbureted version, known as the “C-Code,” delivered around 225 horsepower.
– The high-performance “K-Code” engine featured special components, including a solid lifter camshaft, and produced about 271 horsepower.
– For the top-of-the-line performance, the Mustang offered the 428 cubic inch (7.0-liter) V8 engine, commonly known as the “Cobra Jet.” It generated an impressive 335 horsepower and 440 lb-ft of torque.
– The 1968 Mustang could be equipped with either a three-speed manual transmission or an optional four-speed manual transmission for a more engaging driving experience.
– An automatic transmission, specifically the three-speed C4 SelectShift Cruise-O-Matic, was also available for those seeking convenience and ease of use.
Handling and Suspension:
– The Mustang featured an independent front suspension with coil springs and an anti-roll bar, providing a balanced ride and improved handling.
– At the rear, a solid axle setup with leaf springs helped maintain stability and control during acceleration and cornering.
– Optional performance upgrades included heavy-duty suspension components, such as stiffer springs and shocks, for enhanced handling and improved traction.
– The Mustang’s exhaust system featured a dual exhaust setup, providing a deep and throaty sound that complemented its performance-oriented image.
– In addition to the standard Mustang models, Ford offered high-performance variants such as the GT and Shelby models, which provided even more power and performance enhancements.
Maintaining a 1968 Ford Mustang
Maintaining a 1968 Ford Mustang requires regular care and attention to ensure its optimal performance and longevity. Here are some key maintenance tips to keep in mind:
– Conduct regular visual inspections of the vehicle to identify any signs of wear, damage, or fluid leaks.
– Check the condition of belts, hoses, and wiring, ensuring they are free from cracks, fraying, or corrosion.
– Inspect the suspension components, brakes, and tires for wear and proper functioning.
Fluid Checks and Changes:
– Regularly check the fluid levels, including engine oil, coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and transmission fluid. Top them up as needed.
– Follow the recommended maintenance schedule for fluid changes, including oil changes, coolant flushes, and transmission fluid changes.
– Replace the engine oil and oil filter at regular intervals to ensure proper lubrication and engine health.
– Clean or replace the air filter periodically to maintain optimal engine performance.
– Check and maintain the ignition system, including spark plugs, ignition wires, and distributor components.
– Regularly inspect the radiator and coolant hoses for leaks or damage. Replace worn or damaged parts promptly.
– Flush and refill the coolant system as recommended by the manufacturer to prevent overheating and engine damage.
– Check the brake pads, rotors, and calipers regularly for wear and replace them as needed.
– Bleed the brake system periodically to maintain proper brake performance and remove air bubbles.
– Keep the battery terminals clean and free from corrosion. Check the battery voltage regularly and replace the battery when necessary.
– Inspect the wiring and electrical connections for any signs of damage or loose connections.
– Check the exhaust system for leaks or damage. Replace worn-out components or repair any leaks to ensure proper performance and minimize emissions.
Body and Paint:
– Regularly wash and wax the exterior to protect the paint and prevent corrosion.
– Inspect the body for any signs of rust or damage. Treat rust spots promptly to prevent further deterioration.
Technological Innovations of the 1968 Ford Mustang
The 1968 Ford Mustang introduced several technological innovations for its time, showcasing Ford’s commitment to incorporating advanced features and enhancing the driving experience. Here are some notable technological advancements found in the 1968 Mustang:
SelectShift Cruise-O-Matic Transmission:
– The 1968 Mustang offered the optional SelectShift Cruise-O-Matic transmission. This automatic transmission featured a three-speed design and provided drivers with the ability to manually select and hold specific gears, allowing for a more engaging driving experience.
Power-Assisted Disc Brakes:
– The 1968 Mustang was available with optional power-assisted front disc brakes, providing improved stopping power and enhanced safety compared to traditional drum brakes. Disc brakes were more effective at dissipating heat and offered better performance under demanding driving conditions.
Tilt-Away Steering Column:
– A unique and innovative feature introduced in the 1968 Mustang was the optional Tilt-Away steering column. This system allowed the steering wheel to tilt upwards and move away from the driver when the ignition was turned off, making it easier to enter and exit the vehicle.
Sequential Turn Signals:
– The 1968 Mustang introduced sequential turn signals as a distinctive feature. Instead of all the taillights flashing simultaneously, the turn signals lit up sequentially, starting from the inside and moving outward. This eye-catching feature enhanced visibility for other drivers and became an iconic element of Mustang design.
Interior Comfort and Convenience:
– The 1968 Mustang offered various comfort and convenience features, including optional air conditioning, power steering, and power windows. These features provided a more pleasant and convenient driving experience, particularly for long trips or hot weather conditions.
– In terms of safety, the 1968 Mustang introduced energy-absorbing steering columns, designed to collapse in the event of a collision, reducing the risk of injuries to the driver.
– Other safety advancements included seat belts with retractors, padded instrument panels, and dual-circuit master cylinder braking systems.
AM/FM Radio and Stereo Options:
– The 1968 Mustang offered optional AM/FM radios and stereo systems, allowing drivers and passengers to enjoy their favorite music with improved sound quality and reception.
The Future of the 1968 Ford Mustang
The 1968 Ford Mustang holds a significant place in automotive history as an iconic American muscle car. While the future of any specific vehicle model is uncertain, there are several ways in which the spirit and design elements of the 1968 Mustang may continue to influence the automotive industry:
Classic Car Preservation:
– Many enthusiasts and collectors value the authenticity and historical significance of classic cars like the 1968 Mustang. These vehicles may continue to be cherished and preserved, maintaining their value and cultural relevance.
Restorations and Modifications:
– Restoring and modifying classic cars is a popular hobby among car enthusiasts. The 1968 Mustang can be preserved and brought back to its original glory through restoration projects, or modified to incorporate modern technologies while retaining its classic aesthetics.
– Automakers often draw inspiration from classic designs when creating new models. The timeless design elements of the 1968 Mustang, such as its muscular stance, fastback roofline, and iconic front grille, may inspire future car designs, resulting in retro-inspired models with a modern twist.
Electric Powertrain Conversions:
– As the automotive industry shifts towards electric vehicles (EVs), classic cars like the 1968 Mustang may undergo electric powertrain conversions. This would allow enthusiasts to enjoy the vintage aesthetics of the Mustang while benefiting from the environmental advantages and performance of electric propulsion.
Limited Edition or Anniversary Models:
– Automakers occasionally release limited edition or anniversary models to celebrate the heritage of iconic vehicles. The 1968 Mustang’s legacy and enduring popularity may lead to the creation of special editions or commemorative models in the future, paying tribute to its heritage while incorporating modern features and technology.
Virtual Reality and Simulation:
– With advancements in virtual reality (VR) and simulation technologies, car enthusiasts may have the opportunity to experience or drive virtual versions of the 1968 Mustang. This could provide an immersive and interactive way to appreciate the vehicle’s historical significance.
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FAQs About 1968 Ford Mustang
What were the engine options for the 1968 Ford Mustang?
The 1968 Ford Mustang was available with several engine options, including a standard 200 cubic-inch inline-six and three optional V8s. These included a 289 cubic-inch V8 rated at 195 hp, a 302 cubic-inch V8 rated at 210 hp, and a 390 cubic-inch V8 rated at 320 hp. A 428 Cobra Jet big block was also available as an option in very limited quantities. Additionally, some Mustangs came equipped with a 410hp version of the 390.
What trim packages were offered on the 1968 Ford Mustang?
The 1968 model year saw the introduction of five new trim packages – the GT, GTA (a.k.a. GT/A), California Special, High Country Special, and Shelby Mustang GT 350/500. The GT featured fog lights, a black-out grille with dual bright bars, side stripes, and chrome exhaust tips; the GTA was similar but included an automatic transmission instead of the standard four-speed manual; the California Special added unique exterior features such as a modified front fascia and side scoops; the High Country Special had special trim pieces including simulated woodgrain interior panels; and the Shelby Mustang GT350/500 offered performance upgrades like heavy-duty suspension components, a limited slip differential, and a choice of either a 289 high performance V8 or 302 cubic inch V8 with solid lifters.
What interior options were available for the 1968 Ford Mustang?
The 1968 Mustang offered several interior options including deluxe interiors with high-back bucket seats, door panels with woodgrain trim inserts, and carpets or vinyl floor coverings. Color choices included Blue, Black, Red, White, and Green. Other conveniences such as air conditioning and power steering were also available as optional extras. In addition to these options, there were numerous accessories that could be added to customize a Mustang’s interior even further. These ranged from seatbelts and center consoles to AM/FM radios and tachometers.
What other special editions were available in 1968?
In addition to the trim packages already mentioned, there were several limited edition Mustangs available during this model year. These included the Sprint Edition (limited to 5,000 units) which was only offered as a hardtop coupe and featured special interior emblems and stripes; the Cobra Jet Mustang (just under 2,500 produced) equipped with a 428 cubic inch V8 engine; and the King of the Road package which added a variety of exterior features such as a hood scoop, black headlight bezels, side scoops, louvered rear window panels, and Rally-style wheels. Additionally, Ford collaborated with Hertz to produce around 1,000 Shelby GT350H “Rent-A-Racers” for the 1968 model year.
What safety features were included in the 1968 Ford Mustang?
The 1968 Mustangs came equipped with several standard safety features, including dual braking systems (front and rear drums), a four-way hazard flasher, dual horns, padded instrument panel, recessed steering wheel hub, three-point lap safety belts for front seats, plus inertia reel seatbelts and shoulder harnesses for rear passengers. Additionally, an optional crash avoidance system was available which featured a red light that would flash when the car exceeded preset speed limits. This system was designed to help drivers maintain control over their vehicles on wet or slippery surfaces.
What other features were available on the 1968 Ford Mustang?
In addition to its standard features, the 1968 Mustang also offered a variety of optional extras. These included power steering, heavy-duty suspension, air conditioning, headlight covers, louvered rear window panels, side scoops and exhaust enhancers. Drivers could also customize their Mustangs with a host of convenience options such as AM/FM radios, console mounted tachometers and push buttons for cruise control. Finally, some models came equipped with an upgraded hood and grille which featured dual bright bars and fog lights. All in all, the 1968 Mustang was packed with features that allowed drivers to personalize their cars exactly as they desired.
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After reviewing the various features and designs of the 1968 Ford Mustang, it is easy to see why this car has become an iconic symbol of the 20th century. It has a style and uniqueness that will never go out of fashion and its affordability makes it an ideal choice for any car enthusiast or collector. Furthermore, as we have seen in this blog post, there are many interesting facts and stories to be told about this timeless classic car. Therefore, if you are looking for a fun and interesting classic car that will add a bit of history to your life, then you should seriously consider the 1968 Ford Mustang. With all of its features, design options, performance capabilities and everyday usability, the 1968 Ford Mustang is definitely worth celebrating. If you’d like to learn more about this incredible machine, then please don’t hesitate to contact us today! The Legendary 1968 Ford Mustang: An Iconic Car of the 20th Century!
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