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Differences Between The 1964 And A Half Mustang And The 1965 Mustang

Differences Between The 1964 And A Half Mustang And The 1965 Mustang


Differences Between The 1964 And A Half Mustang And The 1965 Mustang
1964-1/2 Ford Mustang image by DougW at English Wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
With all the confusion over differences between the 1964 and a half Mustang and the 1965 model it can be very tough to identify them. The issue is that all Mustangs from the very beginning of production back on March 9th of 1964 use the identifier “5,” standing for the year 1965, in their VIN. Technically there is no “1964 Mustang” however collectors and enthusiasts refer to those cars built from March 9th to August 17th of 1964 of that year as “1964 and a half” Mustangs. Another variation is to call these cars “early 1965s” and the cars built after the above period “late 1965s.”

As far as Ford is concerned they simply had roughly 18 months of production on the 1965 model. What’s the big deal about the August 17 date? That was the day that Ford shut down the two Mustang plants (in Dearborn, MI. and San Jose, CA.) were shut down for retooling. It was at this point that most agree that anything that can be called a 1964 and a half Mustang stopped being produced and the 1965 Mustang production began.

The most glaring and easily recognizable change from before and after the retooling was the switch from a generator system to an alternator system. The real problems with identification come from the phasing in and out of various parts and components over several months. As the original parts used at the very beginning ran out they were replaced with more standardized versions after the “Great Retooling.”

There is an issue when trying to determine exactly what a 1964 and a half really is. In fact some of the early 1965 models are assembled using some or many of the “early” 1964 parts. It can be confusing to say the least. There are, however, a few well acceptedguidelines in determining year on these cars. (Either way, be prepare for a discussion when this comes up at the next car show.

Differences Between The 1964 And A Half Mustang And The 1965 Mustang
1964-1/2 Ford Mustang image by Bill Abbott (Ford 1964 1/2 Mustang) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
When discussing this issue there are two sets or groups of parts that are talked about. These are generally referred to as “1964” or “early” parts, or those that were used at the beginning of production starting in March of ’64, and “later parts” or those that came into use after the 1964 parts were exhausted. Keep in mind that some 1964 parts were used on some of the 1965 model year cars until the supply ran out.

A few of the very easiest differences to spot are handy to know when looking for a car to purchase or out at the local car show:

a) The first spot to look is at the corners of the cars hood at the front. The 1964 and a half Mustang had a beveled edge that set into a groove as opposed to the more finished looking “pinched” or “crimped” method use on the 1965 Mustang.

b) Passenger seats on the ’64 were fixed, or in other words not meant to adjust or slide backwards and forward. The 1965 model had adjustable passenger seats.

c) The door locks are color keyed to the interior color of the car on the 1964 and while in the 1965 model they were chromed.

d) The gas tank cap will not have a holding wire on a ’64 while it will on a 1965.

e) There are no Fastbacks that are considered 1964 and a half models. There may be a few of the early Fastbacks assembled with left over 1964 parts however it is widely accepted that Ford never built a Fastback prior to August 17th 1964.

f) The pedals on the 1964 were not made to accept a metal trim piece and therefore will not have the indentations around the edge you’ll see on the 1965’s.

g) The rule is a Mustang with the D, F, or U engine designation is considered a definite 1964 model. Those with engine codes of either C or K were used in the 1964 and 1965 model so are of little use in identifying.

h) The ’64 and ‘s had a center position off switch for the heater.

These are just some of the most obvious, easily seen and most accepted differences between the 1964 and a half Mustang and the 1965. It’s an interesting bit of automobile history and a lot of fun to look into.

Prairie Bronze 1964 Ford Mustang Hardtop
By Sicnag (1964 Ford Mustang Hardtop) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Ford Mustang Auto Was Not The First American Pony Muscle Car

The Ford Mustang Auto Was Not The First American Pony Muscle Car

1964 Ford Mustang Convertible
By Sicnag (1964 Ford Mustang Convertible) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Some auto and sports car enthusiasts will insist and swear on their life that the sports car that got it all going in America was the Mustang. After all the Ford Mustang was fast cheap and popular and got the whole “Muscle Car” era going. On top of that they may insist that if there were no mustang there would have never been any Camaro or the other whole host of “Pony Cars” It may well be true that buyer demand in the muscle car market segment had been and was created largely by the Mustang car but actually this had all started long before the Mustang ponycars arrived on the American automotive landscape.
1956 Studebaker Flight Hawk
By GMCOLVIN (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Interest in sporty ,close-coupled compacts that could seat two comfortably as well as four in a pinch goes all the way back to 1956. That was the first year when Studebaker fielded its first “Hawks” – nimble, fast road machines that looked different and performed considerably better than the average family sedan. Then later in 1958, Ford punched out its two-seat Thunderbird out to a four-seat configuration which also introduced a radically new body design that met with overwhelming acceptance. To the response, the dominant American automotive manufacturer replied with the Pontiac Grand Prix in 1962 as well as the stunning four places Buick Riviera the following year.
1966 Oldsmobile Toronado Coupe
By GPS 56 from New Zealand (1966 Oldsmobile Toronado Coupe) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Similar concepts followed in the wings such as Oldsmobile’s Toronado in 1966. The race was now fully on and underway.
1965 Ford Mustang
By Jeremy from Sydney, Australia (1965 Ford Mustang) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Until Mustang however, four seat “personal” cars had been mainly upper-price luxury models which were not affordable by the masses of car buyers. This was especially true for young men just starting out with their work careers or working part time after school. However it was not only Ford that was eyeing and evaluating of what became the Mustang’s appreciative and enduring target market. Stylists, engineers and the marketing crew were thinking about some car product in the lower-price segment and class a good six years before the Mustang made its entry and debut in 1964. In the end the fly in the ointment of this project to bring a similar automotive product to market was a lack of real corporate interest. Talk about opportunity lost and not seeing the trees from the forest – or in case the highways and interstates from the roads.
1960 Chevrolet Corvair
By dave_7 from Lethbridge, Canada (1960 Chevrolet Corvair) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Interestingly enough G.M. had missed the boat when it failed to notice the excitement by the general public of its accidental development of an inexpensive “Sports Car” to the American automotive market. It can be said that the first low priced “personal” car was the Chevrolet Corvair. Chevrolet had subtly introduced bucket seats to its Corvair sports coupe in the 1960 model year. Compared to its other lineups in its stable the Corvair sports coupe sold like hotcakes. The expression regarding the sales of Mustangs was they sold like donuts, Corvair sports coupes sold like hotcakes. The offering was a hot product – a real eye popper. These cars were offered in color-keyed interiors, the trademark comfortable vinyl bucket seats and in the 1961 model year the option of a fast four speed gearbox.
1961 Ford Falcon Coupe
By Sicnag (1961 Ford Falcon Coupe) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The marketing message may have eluded General Motors and their top executives but it sure was not lost on their competitors. Ford and Chrysler, both taking the cue rushed to equip their similar products in a similar way. For the Ford Motor Company it was time to dress up their “compact “car the Ford Falcon. In the case of Chrysler the Valiant line got the treatment.
64 Ford Mustang
By Greg Gjerdingen from Willmar, USA (64 Ford Mustang) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The Mustang was not the first of the “Pony “muscle cars. Indeed Ford was even the originator of the concept. The concept and market did not originate overnight. While it took time for fruition it was Ford’s fortune of both bringing the product to market. The lessons may have been lost to others but Ford was both focused enough and nimble enough to accomplish the task. In terms of absolute cars sales the Ford Falcon based Mustang cars sold 100,000 units in their first month and a full million cars in their first year. What an auto sales record and accomplishment.