1968 Ford Mustang GT California Special
1968 Ford Mustang GT California Special
- One Owner
- Arizona Car
- All Original, Survivor
- J Code 302ci/230hp 4V V8
- Gulfstream Aqua Paint
(Please note: If you happen to be viewing this 1968 Ford Mustang GT California Special on a website other than our Garage Kept Motors site, it's possible that you've only seen some of our many photographs of the car due to third-party website limitations. To be sure you access all the more than 155 photographs, as well as a short start-up and walk-around video, please go to our main website: Garage Kept Motors.)
“The uniquely styled '68 California Special is the Regional Edition to end all Regional Editions with its Shelby-esque appointments and West Coast go-go allure.” Motor Trend, October 2007
The ClassicCars.com website gives a bit of model history: “Ford developed one of its first Mustang special editions by tapping into a vibrant California automotive market, as well as the pop culture emphasis on all things West Coast. The result was the 1968 Ford Mustang California Special, a cosmetic and options package developed by Shelby Automotive and based on Shelby's famed GT500 concept car named 'Little Red.'”
Hemmings provides the full list of this model's options: “…the California Special included the addition of a host of fiberglass parts that gave the model a very Shelby-like and aggressive look: a decklid with integrated spoiler and quarter-panel extensions to match; non-functional body-side scoops; and a lower back panel. Standard Mustang taillamps were ditched in favor of horizontal units from the '65 Thunderbird. If that back end looks familiar, it's probably because you've got a '68 Shelby Mustang convertible tail in your mind. The trunk and quarter-panel extensions were common to both models, as were the taillamps cribbed from the Thunderbird.”
Offered here is an original, unrestored '65 Mustang California Special in survivor condition. This is an Arizona car owned by the same individual since new. That owner resisted the temptation to commission a full restoration. The car's odometer shows, 66,448 miles, or just under a very conservative 1,300 miles per-year on average since new.
The exterior paint shows the results of extended exposure to the hot, Arizona sun. Still wearing its factory-applied Gulfstream Aqua paint, the finish has been dulled by the passage of time with a number of areas—particularly those flat surfaces facing straight up—where the paint has disappeared and the primer is exposed. As well, there is some peeling paint (near the taillights, for example) and a number of chips across the car, but no dents or body-panel damage. The sides of the car have fared well such that the original white bodyside stripes (applied to these cars by the dealers and oriented to follow the upper-body trim line) were largely undamaged by the sun. This includes the “GT/CS” identification on the Shelby-style rear-fender air scoop, and another stripe across the rear spoiler. Unique “California Special” badges (on the rear quarter panel above the side-marker light), and this-model-only “Mustang” script emblems on the front fenders and the rear spoiler remain in place. The rear, brushed-metal gas-cap-filler-cover (with the running horse icon, but no lettering, and identical to the standard Mustang) is in place. Chrome bumpers fore and aft are in generally good condition. The car's front grille is undamaged. Cabin glass and lighting lenses—including the Thunderbird-sourced taillights—are clear and uncracked. Narrow-white-stripe Optimo® tires are mounted as are factory full-wheel covers with Mustang identification are original.
The car's interior has survived its 53 years in generally very good condition. Upholstery on the folding front buckets and rear bench features cloth inserts in an attractive vertical-stripe design (in blue and white and white surrounded by white vinyl) is original. The upholstery is remarkably free of rips or tears, or even much evidence of age; the vinyl portions are similarly free of damage, but the color has darkened through the years. Door trim matches the seats in design and condition with added deterioration along the bottom edge. The sport steering wheel unique to the California Special model is white (now faded) frames a standard Mustang gauge cluster on a black dashboard with lower surfaces in white. A Faria® tachometer mounted on the right-center side of the dash, and the original Philco® AM push-button radio remains mounted in the center. The t-shifter for the automatic transmission is floor-mounted. In general, chrome trim on the instruments and elsewhere in the cabin is in good, but not perfect, condition. The car's trunk is clean, but shows some rust.
Under the hood, the optional J-code, 302-cubic-inch V8 (producing 230 horsepower when new) is stock with no add-on bits of chrome. An aluminum radiator has replaced the stock version. The engine bay is reasonably clean and correct with thankfully no use of spray-on shine-enhancing products.
While the more than 155 high-definition photographs and the short walk-around-and-startup video available on the GarageKeptMotors website showcase this California Special in detail from every angle, including from below, we expect and encourage in-person inspections at our Grand Rapids, Michigan showroom. Please call to arrange an appointment in advance as our showroom is not open to the public. And feel free to get in touch anytime by phone or email if you have questions.
The next owner of this survivor California Special Mustang will face the decision of whether to preserve the car as a complete one (then two)-owner example, or commission a full restoration. Either way, this Mustang GT/CS is fully ready for either course of action. And the added good news is that, either way, this California Special will always draw a crowd.