The California Special was a limited production promotional Shelby-ized Mustang. Here are some of the production facts about this rare car:
- The California Special was only available in the Coupe body style.
- The base model was a 6 cylinder engine with a 3 speed manual transmission.
- 4,025 California Specials were built and 300 High Country Specials were built (4,325 total California and High Country Specials were built).
- Production of 4,325 GT/CS occurred at random within an assembly line of 50,000 other Mustangs and Mercury Cougars in a 6 month period.
- The production numbers began at 119,000 and ended at 172,000.
- High Country Specials were similar to California Specials, but were made for Denver, Colorado and had different emblems and insignias.
- The data plate on a High Country Special will read DSO51.
- Shelby Automotive was contracted to build 6,180 parts sets for a projected 5,500 California Specials to be assembled. Since 5,500 California Specials were not produced, there were a lot of spare parts.
- The part number for the Lucas fog lamp is C8WY-15L203-A. This is a Cougar part number.
- The 1968 ½ Mercury Cougar had a special order cousin to the GT/CS which was the 1968 ½ Cougar XR-7G (“G” = Gurney in April, 1968).
- Only early GT/CS used Marchal fog lamps.
- In October, 1968, Marchal lamps were recalled with limited success.
- The grille is unique only to GT/CS. There are no mounting areas for the corral or the grill surround and moulding. The trim is black, which limited fog lamp glare.
- A GT/CS used the same hood twist lock and retaining bracket as the 1968 Shelby.
- GT/CS shared the same lower side scoops and fiberglass tail light panels as the 1968 Shelby Mustangs.
- The most unique part exclusive to the GT/CS is the tail light wiring with special plugs and purple part number tag PN XSR C8ZX-14405-A.
In 1969, Ford introduced a custom version of the Mustang Coupe, the Mustang Grande. The Grande was available through the year 1973. The Grande included several deluxe features including the following:
- Special sound insulation or sound deadening material.
- Deluxe interior decor group.
- Deluxe upholstery.
- Grande emblems.
- Vinyl roof (Landau style). Full vinyl roof was optional.
- Side body stripe.
- Vinyl insert on rocker molding.
- Tail light panel applique.
- Sport mirrors color keyed in both remote control and manual.
- Rimblow steering wheel.
Most 1964 1/2 and 1965 Mustangs equipped with power steering utilized the Eaton-style power steering pump. The 6 cylinder models used different brackets, but still used the same Eaton power steering pump. These 6 cylinder models also used a different center link and control valve.
In the middle of the year 1966, use of the Eaton power steering pump had been phased out. The Ford-built power steering pumps then made their way to the assembly line and replaced the Eaton pumps. These Ford pumps had a large filler neck (about 1 1/2″ diameter) and were only used for about one year. Ford then changed to the Ford pump with the narrow filler neck. These narrow necked pumps were commonly used on 1967, 1968, 1969 and 1970 Mustangs and Cougars.
The Ford heavy duty top loader 4 speed transmissions were, and may still be, the toughest and most reliable manual transmissions ever built.
How have they changed over the years?
The early (1963, 1964) top loaders had a small input shaft with 10 splines and a 15/16″ diameter. The output shaft on these early transmissions had 25 splines.
In 1965, these early 4 speeds were upgraded to a 28 spline output, while the input remained the same.
During the 1967-1968 era, Ford had to come up with a strong, bullet-proof 4 speed for NASCAR competition. This became the NASCAR Big Block 4 speed transmission and it had an input shaft with a 1 3/8″ diameter and a 31 spline output shaft. A select few of these transmissions were used in NASCAR grand national racing.
The NASCAR transmission was also used in 1969 and 1970 Boss 429 cars.
The FE 428 cid (cubic inch displacement) engine was originally engineered for the 1966 Ford Thunderbird. At first, this engine was a sleeper (somewhat sluggish in such a big full-size car). With numerous modifications, 428’s entered the Mustang assembly line on April 1, 1968. This engine was then transformed into a high performance brute…a tower of horse power!
The 428 was a combination of a Medium Riser Ford 427 and a Ford 390 Police Interceptor. From this combination, the 428 Cobra Jet was born (nickname: CJ). With further refinements, this engine evolved into the Super Cobra Jet. The 428 SCJ engine was equipped with an external oil cooler that was called a “drag pack option”. This rare option cooled the engine oil, while also extending the life of the engine.
Happy 45th Birthday Mustang!
Yes, 45 years ago today, the Ford Mustang was unveiled. By July, 1964 100,000 Mustang Coupes and Convertibles had been produced and were being sold at record speed. No other car has ever skyrocketed so quickly into the ranks of the top sellers. The Ford Mustang was (and still is) a true icon.
It seems almost fitting that the launch of our re-designed website coincides with this moment in history. To celebrate Mustang’s birthday and our new website, we are offering a 10% off storewide sale, which continues through the end of April.
The price of a Ford Mustang back on April 17, 1964 was $2,368. We thought it would be fun to see what other items cost in 1964:
Average Cost of new house: $13,050.00
One gallon of gas: 30 cents
Loaf of bread: 21 cents
United States Postage Stamp: 5 cents
Movie Ticket: $1.25
Happy Birthday Ford Mustang!
1969 Convertible from the year 1994
Back in the mid-1980’s and early 1990’s, there were a lot of “daily driver” Mustangs in western Washington. By the mid-1990’s I noticed fewer and fewer on the road. By the late 1990’s, I also noticed a very sharp decline in the availability of used original parts at all local swap meets. The classified sections selling Mustangs and Mustang parts within the local newspapers were also dwindling. I remember the day when you could look at local newspaper, AutoTrader, and Little Nickel ads and come up with a Fastback Mustang project. It may have taken a few weeks of searching, but one would turn up. Now, in 2009, it seems like finding a similar project is like looking for a needle in a haystack.
At the recent Portland, Oregon Swap Meet that we attended, finding original Mustang parts was difficult. Oh sure, there were Mustang parts, but the quantity of them were dismal. Our vendor booths seemed to be the only ones with an abundance of parts. But, after all, I have collected Mustangs and parts for the past 20 years and have amassed quite a collection. As an avid collector, however, I still continue to search for more parts whenever I can!