The 1968 Mustangs - Hollywood's Star
So, maybe you've seen the movie Bullitt? Or maybe you just watch the chase scene over and over again? Yes, this is the famous Bullitt Mustang that Steven McQueen put to the test up against a...oh wait, what was that other car again? The movie Bullitt, along with Steve McQueen's expert driving skills, propelled the 1968 Mustangs to premier icon status. And for good reason, the 68 Mustangs were stylish, powerful, and as Steve McQueen proved, they handled great. Ford felt that Steve McQueen was such a powerful influence on Mustang popularity that they even resurrected him for a 2004 Ford commercial in which they introduced their new retro 2005 Mustang design. But enough about 2005, let's revisit the famous 1968 Mustangs.
1968 MUSTANG REDESIGN
Ford characteristically made several trim changes with each year. What changes came with the 1968 edition? Perhaps the most obvious changes Ford made involved the side trim. While the 67 Mustangs sported gills painted the same color as the car, the 68 Mustangs had a simple chrome unit. The horizontal bar was also removed from the grille, and a single line of trim was added to the outside. The famous script Mustang lettering was introduced to the side trim. This was an update from the previous years which featured block lettering. The 68 Mustangs also featured a new two-spoke steering wheel. Turn signal indicators were added to the hood recess and the rearview mirror was attached directly to the glass windshield. Federal law required front end markers, but Ford went the extra mile and included rear markers as well in all standard 68 Mustangs.
A cosmetic option available for the 1968 model included a deluxe bench seat with a luxury fold-down armrest in the center, extra chrome on the door panels and ornaments on the seat backs. In 1968, only 256 fastbacks were delivered with this option, making it a rarer find today.
1968 MUSTANG ENGINE OPTIONS
The 68 Mustang engine came with a new engine option. 1968 was the first year Ford introduced the 428 Cobra Jet engine. It was designed by Bob Tasca of Tasca Ford and was originally a 428 police-car short block with a Cobra aluminum intake manifold, 427 low-riser cylinder heads, a special camshaft, and 427 exhaust manifolds. In 1968, Ford debuted this engine including a 735 cfm Holley carburetor, fed through an open element air cleaner sealed to the hood scoop opening by a large rubber gasket. If you wanted to order this option you would need to have the GT Equipment Group and a four-speed manual or C-6 Cruise-o-matic transmission.
In 1968 a new base V-8 was introduced. The 302 cid 230hp engine remained the base engine through 1973.
1968 MUSTANG ENGINE OPTIONS
200 cu in (3.3 L) Thriftpower I6
289 cu in (4.7 L) Windsor V8
302 cu in (4.9 L) Windsor V8 (2V)
302 cu in (4.9 L) Windsor V8 (4V)
390 cu in (6.4 L) FE V8 (2V)
390 cu in (6.4 L) FE V8 (4V)
427 cu in (7.0 L) FE V8
428 cu in (7.0 L) FE CobraJet V8
Special Edition 1968 Mustangs
1968 MUSTANG GT
The 1968 Mustang GT came with front disc brakes, performance tires, heavy-duty suspension, dual exhaust with chrome quad outlets, newly styled wheels with special GT hub caps and a "C" stripe that accented the side swoop. The running lights were revised which eliminated the connecting bar and GT emblems were added to the front fender.
The competition handling package was also available with 15-in wheels, firmer suspension and a limited rear slip axle.
1968 MUSTANG GT/CS "CALIFORNIA SPECIAL"
California was such a big market for Ford Mustangs. Twenty percent of mustang sales in the LA area alone, that they made a special edition of less than 5,000 Mustangs to be sold through the Southern California dealers group. This package was an option that only included hardtops.
The 1968 Ford Mustang California Special included an emblem-free blacked out grille with rectangular fog lamps, decorative side scoops, special side/rear striping, indigenous scripts, a built-in rear spoiler, and sequential tail lights.
1968 MUSTANG GT/HCS "HIGH COUNTRY SPECIAL"
Colorado Ford dealers carried a special options package similar to the California Special, called the High Country Special. As opposed to the nearly 4,000 California Special Mustangs that were produced in 1968, only 251 of these High Country Specials were made. However, the California Special and the High Country Special are virtually identical.
1968 Mustang Shelbys
Mustang Shelbys had been growing in popularity, but by 1968 they had peaked. Even though more Shelby Mustangs were produced than ever, they were available in new styles which has kept them rare down to today. For example, the Mustang Shelby GT500KR convertible is one of the most collectible vintage cars because only 318 of them were made. Besides the fact that they were available in many styles, some of the changes in the '68 production year were redesigned side scoops, chrome trimmed wheel well molding and rocker panels, side marker lights, a rear mounted antenna, many new cooling features and new quarter turn hood fasteners.
The 1968 Mustang Shelby GT350 was upgraded from a 289cid Hi-Po to a 302cid engine. Exterior changes to the GT350 were the same as the year changes to the '68 GT500, with the exception of the GT350 badging.
The 1968 Mustang Shelby GT500KR was King of the Road! Never had a more powerful engine been used in a Mustang. It made its debut later than the standard GT500 and was a luxury version that also housed a 428cid Cobra Jet engine. Ford produced 1,251 of these in several body styles and to this day they are considered one of the greatest Mustangs of all time!