Everybody loves Mustangs!* That goes for folks like us who are “car people” as well as pretty much any member of the general public who has ever been attracted to anything with four wheels. This love, of course, goes back to day one when the Mustang was an unprecedented hit starting in mid 1964. Joseph Dennis recently wrote up a very similar 67 Mustang, but click through and I think you will find this one is worth checking out on its own merits, too. I’ll also highlight some history that hasn’t been featured in previous articles here about these second-edition ‘Stangs.
*I’m sure there are a few out there who don’t care for Mustangs, but I’ve never met one.
When I happened upon this ’67 last year, I didn’t think too much of it at first. It isn’t one of the two more desirable body styles, it isn’t a muscle version and it hasn’t received a restoration to better-than-new condition. Early Mustangs are hardly common on the streets these days, but they are one of the most common classic cars in the United States. Spotting a 1967 Mustang is hardly an amazing event. Still, I love Mustangs like everyone else and this was interesting enough for me to start taking a few pictures.
While I was photographing it, the owner walked up and was very neighborly, so we started talking about his car. What really got my attention, though, is when he said he is the original owner and had used the car as a daily driver for the last 42 years.
Wow! Daily driven for 42 years!? It must have a ton of miles! That depends on how you look at it. 275k is a ton of miles, but if you divide it out it’s about 6,500 a year. The biggest mishap it has suffered was this bumper bender in the last couple of years which has not yet been repaired. It had been repainted several years ago in the original color.
The interior is mostly original, with the front seat upholstery and carpet being the only major replaced items. It’s really remarkable how thin and light the seats look when one is used to looking at modern seats, or even many other classic car seats. The steering wheel is 1967-only, with the large center hub it shared with all FoMoCo automobiles that year. The unusual look of the hub always made it appealing to me, even if it is a little goofy. We might think it was made to allow car nerds like us to be able to quickly identify a 67 model, but it was actually an energy-absorbing safety feature. It ain’t exactly an air bag, but I suppose anything is better than nothing!
The only other item that has obviously been replaced is the radio, with it now sporting a 90’s vintage electronic tape deck with prancing Mustangs on the tape door. The dashboard was one of the most changed features of the 1967 Mustang. The twin-cove styling theme from the 65/66 is continued, but it is much deeper and taller, allowing for integrated air conditioning vents. Center console was optional. 1967/68 is my personal favorite Mustang interior, especially if it has the Interior Decor Group option (which this doesn’t) with aluminum trim on the dash and doors.
The 1965 (or unofficially 64 1/2) Mustang was an instant sensation, so planning for the 1967 model started in earnest just a couple months after the pony car’s April 64 release. Planners wanted improved function with increased visual appeal without losing the charm that made the car such a success. Much has been made of the early Mustang’s gradual growth, which began this year. Starting from the same wheelbase, it expanded 2 inches in length (mostly in the front end), 2.7 inches in width and 1 inch in height. For all that belt loosening, it only gained less than 100lb in official curb weight for the base model (For context its 2578 lb is a featherweight compared to the 2020 4 cylinder’s 3532 lb, or it’s about the same as a 2020 Nissan Versa or Honda Fit, which are significantly shorter and narrower cars).
The Ford studio photo above of a full-size clay styling model shows that the basic design was locked in by late 1964. All the main design cues were retained, but it was given a more “masculine” look with a bigger grille, more defined side scallops and a convex taillight panel with larger, individual lamps for its characteristic tri-slotted taillights. Ford called the design theme “More Mustang”.
What wasn’t locked in was the detailing. This one has much different side scallops, fake air vents, and rear window. The rear end is very close to the final look, except for the exhaust tips stick out of the valence panel where the back up lights went on the production car. Horizontal crease on the rear fender would show up on the 69 hardtop.
Here’s an alternative roofline that didn’t make it. The hardtop’s greenhouse (roof panels and windows) ended up being extremely similar to 1966, with at least the windshield and side glass carrying over. The rear window and bodywork around it look different to me, though I haven’t been able to confirm that.
Mustang advertising reminds us that Ford targeted the car to a wide variety of buyers, such as single women in this ad featuring a close doppelganger of our feature car. The Mustang, then and now, has had a remarkable ability to be seen as both a “girl car” and a “guy car”. The ad copy certainly has the tone of being written for women by a 60’s era man!
The 225 hp 289 c.i. 4-barrel engine is original, which is pretty amazing, though it has had a valve job and (at least one) carb rebuild. The radiator and AC compressor have been replaced and the distributor is now electronic. Not bad for 42 years of use!
As others have noted, one of the major mechanical changes in the 67 was a wider track and corresponding wider engine bay to allow for larger optional engines (with the unintended bonus of also having more room to work on the smaller engines!). Engines were carried over from 1966, except for the addition of a 390 c.i. big-block from the FE family. For the year, about 30% of Mustangs were sixes. Of the remaining 330k V8 Mustangs, only 28,800 had the 390 and 489 had the 271 h.p. Hi-Po 289. So, a clear majority of 1967’s were like our subject car with either the 2 or 4 barrel regular 289. Besides allowing for more engine options, the wider track also improved handling stability, as did significant front suspension revisions.
Some have decried the larger body size and larger engines that made the pony car into more of a muscle car. I agree to a point because the original Mustang was a distinct and special thing, separate from the quickly evolving mid-size musclecars (or supercars in the parlance of the time). Ideally, it would have stayed that way with powerful, but smaller, engines that kept the cars nicely balanced between performance and handling, leaving the quarter-mile heroics to their bigger brothers.
That just wasn’t the car market in the 60’s, though. Muscle was the thing and no company wanted to be out-muscled by their competitors. Targeting the youth market was the order of the day, with the baby boomers buying more cars every year. Companies felt that many younger buyers wanted maximum performance and any car that wished to be taken seriously in the youth market had to have a supercar version. As we see from the engine take rates above, there was a market for that maximum performance, but in the Mustang it was a very small minority of buyers. Were the performance bragging rights worth changing the overall character of the pony cars, given that the vast majority of customers were content with sixes and small V8’s? How much influence does any company’s halo cars have on their overall sales of lesser cars?
In 1964, when the fundamentals of the revised Mustang were locked in, Ford didn’t know exactly what GM’s response would be. Design chief Bill Mitchell claimed (obviously disingenuously) that the sleek new 1965 Corvair was an adequate competitor, but of course it eventually became known that GM was planning something very specifically targeted at the Mustang. And, naturally, big blocks would be offered!
As far as the 1967 goes, I personally don’t believe the slight increase in size up to that point detracted from the car’s appeal. In fact, I think making it a bit more substantial and a step further removed from the early Falcon made it more attractive. Now things start getting a little iffier for me in 69, and the 71 was clearly a bloat too far. However, especially in fastback form, isn’t it true those 69-73 cars still had some serious charisma? And you can’t say Ford didn’t listen to their critics when they did the 74 II, but why is it considered so flawed when it was so much closer to the original in size and spirit? Was the 79 Fox Mustang, despite lacking any traditional styling cues, the true reset to the original concept? I won’t try to answer here, but if anyone wants to weigh in on those perennial Mustang questions, please do.
Well, there’s no big block here. Just a sweet little 289-powered Mustang in as original condition as a 275k mile, still-daily-driven example could hope to be. It may be “just” a hardtop, but that’s OK. Three quarters of original buyers chose this more practical body style, including this car’s current owner. If you were to buy a 67 Mustang today, the fastback would cost you at least a 20% premium and a convertible 40%. For a car that’s going to be really driven, a hardtop will do just fine. Let’s hope this one has many years of regular use left.
Photographed 9/19/19 in Houston, TX. Development photos taken from Ford Mustang: Forty Years Of Fun by Consumer’s Guide/PIL
Related reading – there’s been a large amount of features at CC on the 67 Stang. Evidently we love them, and this isn’t even a complete list:
Curbside Classic: 1967 Ford Mustang Notchback – I’d Like To Get To Know You By Joseph Dennis
CC Capsule: 1967 Ford Mustang – Beater But Not Beaten By Paul Niedermeyer
CC: 1967 Mustang 2+2 Fastback – The Beginning Of The End Of The True Pony Car By Paul Niedermeyer
Curbside Classic: 1967 Ford Mustang Convertible – Forty-Four Years of Wedded Bliss By J P Cavanaugh
Count me as “one of those people” I did enjoy the article and kudos to the owner and whoever does the servicing.
My first car in 1976 but in yellow with a vinyl roof (which I could have done without). It had sat for year, had to be towed home but it was only $200.. Floor pan was almost non-existent from rust. It didn’t take much to get it running; some sheet metal and pop rivets for the floor and I was off. I had an 8 track tape player set up inside the ‘dog house’ in the console. It was only the regular issue 289 with 2 barrel carb and AT but is scooted along ok.
How cool that we have featured two separate 67 Mustangs still with their original owners – thanks for linking to the yellow 6 cyl convertible I wrote up several years ago.
It is easy to forget how common these once were. Was there any street in America that did not once have at least one resident with a Mustang? We had neighbors across the street in the mid 70s who would buy a 3rd car every summer for their teen sons before they went off to college – and then sell the car in the fall. They always found a nice older Mustang and never had trouble re-selling them.
And I think you are right – Mustangs are like doughnuts: not everyone will indulge, but nobody dislikes them.
Definitely! I loved that yellow convertible story.
I like that summer car system. I’ll bet their sons wish they still had at least one of those Mustangs today!
What a great story! Kudos to the owner for hanging onto and daily driving his beloved Mustang coupe all these years.
Seriously, though, the rest of the car is so nicely maintained, why wouldn’t you replace that damaged front bumper? High quality reproductions, and even used or NOS originals, are fairly cheaply and easily sourced. It’s about the simplest bolt-on affair you can imagine to swap them out.
I think that the damage adds authenticity to it. That is what a lot of Mustangs looked like in the 70’s. Dents and lots of rust.
Nothing wrong with a dew minor dents and scratches, but this bumper is pretty mangled while the rest of the car is very straight. If it were my ‘stang I’d replace it with a good used OEM bumper.
“*I’m sure there are a few out there who don’t care for Mustangs, but I’ve never met one.”
You never met my Pop, then. He loved cars, but he was also a very practical guy.
About the early Mustang, he would say, “Eh, that’s just a Falcon in a fancy suit. No room in the back seat. And they want to charge you MORE for it.”
My complaint is that they were really cheaply made cars. Like the Falcon/Comet, the gas thank doubled as the floor of the trunk. What? (This is before Ford bean-counters approved the burst-into-flames when hit from behind Pinto and those gas tank issues.) Yes, they have a certain appeal, and you could get some nice options, but Ford could have been a little more generous with a sturdier body structure…and maybe even a trunk floor!
The much maligned 71-73s actually did have a real trunk floor, and a few other structural improvements over the originals. Structure wise they weren’t really that bad of a unibody for the era by 68, the biggest deficiency they had that was never solved was the very crude front suspension design, structural issues were just amplified it’s behavior, especially with big engines and heavy duty springs/shocks
One the plus side with the tank/trunk floor is it’s easy to replace if it rusts out
I did not care much for pony cars growing up. I first became aware of them at about the age of seven in the early ’70s when a neighborhood teen had a loud (looking and sounding) Mustang Mach I. All the kids thought it was cool, I was just sorta “meh.”
My other reference at the time were the full-size family cars on our street. Our Impala was nice, but boy, the Ninety-Eights and the Bonneville up the street had it all by comparison. But these were not cool, especially by the early ’80s when I had to pick my own wheels.
My refuge to socially acceptable was the personal luxury car, and Oldsmobile was delivering in spades. A Cutlass Supreme became my ride.
What I didn’t appreciate until recent years was that not all pony cars were rough on the edges performance cars but came in trims that could be described as Secretary (base might be more correct these days), Personal Luxury and Performance.
This terrific write-up highlights the Mustang I’d have wanted in ’67, I’d peg it at the Personal Luxury level with its V-8, automatic and AC. With a vinyl top and the décor group, it would have been a mini Thunderbird. As it stands, it is very much a 2/3rds distillation of the 1967 Galaxie 500 coupe I once had (390, Automatic, PS, AC).
Built on my terms, I really like Mustangs, so much so that we bought a base 2013 coupe two years ago. Given modern standard equipment, and its powerful V-6, it is very much a successor to the subject car.
Thanks to this post, I now also appreciate that our 2013 most closely channels the 1967 in terms of styling queues both inside and out. I had been benchmarking it against the 1969, but I cannot unsee our 2013 when looking at this car.
I know what you mean about your 2013. I have a 2011 and also see the 67 in it. Guess it’s a complex!
The roofline I think is most like 65/66 and the 2005 body is vaguely like those years. The 2010 reskin is more akin to a cross between 67 and 69 in the body, to my eyes, while of course the roof didn’t change. The dash is most like the 67, which makes it look really good to me. I love the aluminum trim.
Nice writeup—really cool to see someone keeping this one on the road all this time as a daily driver.
It’s fun to see how Ford’s Mustang advertising targeted different (potential) buyers—this seen in college newspapers (but nowhere else, AFAIK):
My oldest sister had a 67 Mustang, bought ” lightly used ” in late 68. Her’s was a copper colored coupe with the 289, automatic transmission, and bench front seat. No power steering, and no power assist for the 4 wheel drum brakes. And that car was a hoot to drive. Rust would eventually eat it up, but my father liked it well enough he kept patching it up until it was nearly all bondo.
Fast forward to 2020: 2 weeks ago I bought a 2006 Mustang. While this car is fully loaded, sitting behind the wheel I can see that the folks responsible for styling that particular generation looked long and hard at a 67 Mustang…even the steering feels (whether or not it actually is) like the thin rimmed wheel in the 67. And with the 4 liter V6 and automatic transmission I have the same level of performance that was available in that V8 for 67.
I miss the days when Mustangs just like this, sad dent and all, were common on the roads.
Great write-up on a really nice ‘67 DD Mustang.
In a sort of CC Effect, my wife and I were out in “Molly’s” Mustang today, taking her for her grooming appointment. After dropping her off, my wife and I headed over to Hunt Valley to where they (unofficially due to COVID) were having their Cars & Coffee (where the Baltimore CC Meet-Up was in 2018).
We saw plenary of first generation Mustangs tooling about, and that started a conversation. I’d mentioned to her that I really like the ‘67, but if I had one (and the money), I’d do a notchback ‘67 like this as a resto-mod, with all the modern safety features and electronics… and then thought, ‘Oh Wait…’ 😉
The ‘67 was definitely the inspiration for my own 2007, right down to the gauges and air conditioning vents….
I agree with everything written, if there wasn’t a size increase in 69 and 71 nobody would criticize the very minor growth of the 67s from the originals. There are license plate holders that add 2” in length to the prow of cars! To me the 67 Mustang is no different than the 67 Camaro, its clearly a reskin of the same body, and only served to embellish existing details. The dash was the biggest change and IMO should have looked that way from the start, there is just way too much Falcon in the 65s with the base gauges, and the 66s are only a superficial improvement of it. 67 was also the point where they started finally adding torque boxes to tame the flimsy structure, the 65-66s may have been light but at a cost.
I’m fairly unphased by the sight of early Mustangs but this sort of “unremarkable” one would, the color, wheel covers, even the minor front end damage. Mustang restorations tend to suffer option bloat by the owners, the coupes aren’t all that valuable and not being numbers matching really won’t ding the value unless we’re talking K code. With the biggest industry of reproduction parts everything is obtainable, so there’s a lot of “well I like red, I’ll paint it red” or “well I may as well add rocker stripes” or “ooh I definitely want a reproduction GT grille with lights” or “styled steel wheels are cooler than hubcaps!” or all he above, and they all end up looking the same.
Oops, I meant 69 Camaro*
My very first car was a ’66 Mustang coupe, two barrel 289, 4 speed manual, dual exhausts. It was a nice sized, fun to drive car. After a year I bought what I had really wanted, a ’64 Cadillac convertible. That was all for Mustangs for the next thirty years! When the 2005 retro model was introduced, I thought that it might be a replacement for the luxury personal cars that were no longer being produced.
I bought a new 2007 coupe/fastback with the V6, auto, and the Pony package: Driving lights in the grille, 17 in. torque thrust type wheels, flat deck lid spoiler, and leather faced front seats. This was one of our family cars (mostly for the Wife) and we used it for family vacations with my two preteen kids in the back seat. This has been a very good handling, fairly spacious, economical (28 mpg) good looking, fast, (electronically limited to 110 mph.) and comfortable car that we still own with 155,000 miles on the clock.
I had really wanted a GT model but didn’t think that my Wife really needed 300 hp. (though the NorthStar Cadillac she had driven before did!). I ended up buying a nice used ’96 highly optioned GT 4.6 convertible with automatic. It has 17 in. wheels, ABS, and tweed like fabric sports seats. This is a very smooth, economical engine with adequate power and good fuel economy (25 mpg).
I thought that I wanted another classic Mustang, of which my favorite year is 1970. I found a project grade coupe with straight six (optional 250 cid.) auto, and not much else. It was a pretty basic but honest car, but just the right size and a good looking machine. Freeway merging power was okay and top speed was 95 mph. Fuel economy was poor at 15 mpg. This is borne out in contemporary road tests. The 200 cid. motor is better in this respect. It was very interesting to revisit the early Mustang after having much newer examples. I had three different Mustangs at the same time.
Between my memories of the ’66 and the ’70 I found the dash and interior trim to be much nicer in the ’65. The A pillars were shiny aluminum, the instruments looked higher quality and were easier to read than those deep tunnels of the ’70. The door panels were nicer on the ’65 also. I liked the exterior styling of the 1970 better though.
Between the ’96 and ’07 I like the slightly more compact dimensions of the earlier car. I actually like the ’96’s interior better. I find the dash shape is more pleasing in the ’96 and you might not agree, the quality seems better also. My ’07 has huge, stiff plastic door panels with what looks like a Tupperware lid for the speaker grille. The newer car makes use of the longer wheelbase with more room in the backseat, a much larger trunk with fold down rear seat backs. The wider track makes the car feel very stable on the road and the ride is smooth enough. It’s actually a very good road car. The single exhaust 200 hp V6 seems as quick as the ’96’s V8, but the 4.6 breathes through Flowmasters, so no comparison there.
My conclusion is that as always, Mustangs can be anything to everybody. Pick the one that is equipped the way you like. I’ve become a real Mustang fan in my old age. Looking out for a newer model GT convertible, maybe in a couple more years.
I agree the Mustang can be many things to many people, but I didn’t see the four person family vacation car coming! That’s impressive, even if the kids were small.
Sounds like you’ve had some really nice Mustangs! Kudos for the 6 cylinder 70, sounds cool.
Great to see this car! My wife had owned a ’67 Mustang (in Springtime Yellow) as her first car. Actually, her parents had bought it new, and then handed it down to my wife and her brother later on.
Given that it had been in her family since before she was born, my wife wanted to hold onto it forever. But unfortunately, rust took its toll. Her Mustang made it 28 years, and 275,000 mi. (ironically the same as this featured car). But it was a great all-around car… served as a family car for two decades and then as a car for young adults to commute to college and jobs. It was quite literally all things to all people.
Congratulations to this owner — hope he keeps it going for a long time still!
I agree, the Mustang has been many things to many people, but I didn’t see the family vacation car for four coming. That’s impressive even if the kids were small!
Kudos on the 70 six cylinder, cool car!
In 1984 I bought a 1968 Mustang which was the car I was thinking of in 1969 when I got my Cougar. Even back then finding a Mustang that wasn’t butchered was tough to do and the aftermarket restoration market wasn’t that big. Also there was no internet to help parts hunting. The fastbacks were almost always in the worst shape missing key items.
I eventually found one in the Richmond District of San Francisco before I lived there in 1989. A woman in her late 40s who bought the car new in Houston and then moved to California two years later. She had gotten a new car and the Mustang had sat for two years before she decided to sell it at 104,000 miles. Just your basic coupe with 289-2V, C4, A/C, Pwr Steering, drum brakes, console and hood mounted turn signals. The engine definitely needed a rebuild along with two new fenders as major items. I looked at the car along with a guy around 20, me at 31, and she asked what would happen to the car. He answered and then I answered saying keeping it as it was and the car was mine. The 289-2V is a great engine and plenty enough.
I owned a ’67 similar to this one. Mine did have the upgraded interior with the aluminum panels and no AC.
It was a good car and I did a lot of things with it. It was the family car for a few years, I drove it in a couple of rallys, traveled in it, used it in my job, drag raced it a couple of times ( embarrassing), drove it to my second wedding, and finally I put it in some car shows. It was pretty trouble free until I decided to rebuild the engine and add a performance cam and some other things. It sounded good but it was never as good a car after that.
One reason I liked the 2005 restyle is that it has a lot of ’67 styling cues, but the door panels on my 2003 looked more like the ’67. Anyway, I bought my new Mustang in 2009. Naturally I optioned the aluminum dash like the one in my ’67. I also got the Pony package with the Torq Thrust like wheels and fog lights. This package also had the suspension handling upgrades. This car is really fun to drive and handles great.
Right before I bought the ’09 I found my ’66 coupe. It could be called one of those optioned as a Brougham. It has the Pony interior, vinyl top, Styled Steel Wheels, AC, Rally Pac, and a lot of other options.
You could say that I have been a Mustang fan since I saw my first one in April 1964.