Skinner Butte Outtake: 1965 Mustang – One More Time

For a some folks, seeing a gen1 Mustang—along with Tri-Five Chevys—has become boring, the result of over-exposure. Curiously, it’s somewhat the opposite effect with me; the more I learn about cars, their genesis, development, engineering, styling, etc., and perhaps most interesting for me, their effect in the marketplace, the more I can appreciate just looking at one. My respect for such a genuine game-changer like the Mustang only expands with time, knowing how rare that happens.

It’s been a while since I’ve found something worthy of shooting and sharing from our many summit assaults on Skinner Butte, but this very original ’65 was worthy of one more veneration.

You either experienced the Mustang phenomena—like a few other key sixties events—or you didn’t. That’s not to say you can’t appreciate it if you didn’t, but it will never be quite the real thing. To see a massive collective mania take off and self-generate for several years, on this scale, was highly memorable. The closest comparison is the Beatles, except that Mustang mania affected a wider demographic. Everyone wanted one, to one degree or another. Nobody dared diss them, despite their limitations.


Of course that’s all coming from the perspective of a 12-14 year old kid. One that had been a pretty staunch GM guy and something of a Ford cynic. But here it was, the hottest car in the land, at a time when there were a lot of other hot cars.

It’s utterly obvious, but what made it so hot was its sheer affordability. And the fact that there was no stripper Mustang with dog dishes and no bright trim and cheaply upholstered bench seats. Yes, we could all tell whether it had a six or V8 from two blocks away with our still-perfect 20-20 vision, or just from the sound if it was taking off. But even a six was…ok, if not exactly lustworthy.



Seeing this reminded me of jamming into one that a kid I know got to drive (his Dad’s), cruising Towson on a hot Saturday night. Unfortunately we didn’t have a Skinner Butte to drive up to; we were stuck at Ginos drive in. But in the moment, riding in that Mustang with the windows open on a hot summer night was awesome. Cheap thrills.