Ford Mustang GT390 Fastback Review

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Ford Mustang GT390 still Ford Mustang GT390 still
Ford Mustang GT390 rear Ford Mustang GT390 rear
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Ford Mustang GT390 wheel Ford Mustang GT390 wheel
Ford Mustang GT390 badge Ford Mustang GT390 badge
Ford Mustang GT390 engine Ford Mustang GT390 engine
Ford Mustang GT390 interior Ford Mustang GT390 interior
Mustang 5 Mustang 5
Mustang 1 Mustang 1
Mustang 3 Mustang 3
Mustang 9 Mustang 9
Mustang 10 Mustang 10

The Mustang fastback shape is definitely the one to have if you can afford it and scored more than its fair share of attention from Hollywood

 

Ford Mustang GT390 Fastback

When Ford decided prior to update its record-setting Mustang for 1967, a lot more went into the re-design than would meet the eyes of most buyers.

The car didn’t look a great deal larger than the original but was more ‘muscular’. Extra width in the engine bay meant space for the ‘big-block’ 6.4-litre engine used in full-sized Fords; space even for the 7.0-litre Nascar version.

Stronger pressings in areas where the larger engine would generate added stress saw the 1967-68 cars gain weight and really need the added grunt of a ‘big-block’ with its 235kW.

The concave tail brought a hint of race-style rear spoiler and elongating the nose delivered some added aggression. The fastback profile which had been a late-comer to the Mustang range in 1965 now sloped all the way to the edge of the ‘trunk’ lid.

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With 58 percent of their weight over the front wheels, 390-cube Mustangs weren’t going to be any fun at all on race circuits and that duty still fell to the more nimble ‘K-Code’ 289 cars.

Adding a Competition Handling Package with heavier springs, a front stabiliser bar, Koni adjustable shock absorbers and 15-inch wheels helped tame the understeer to a decent degree and turn the GT390 into a competent performance car.

The Handling Pack plus a good deal more chassis strengthening could be found under the sheet-metal of a Highland Green GT that in 1968 outshone even Steve McQueen to become the most famous Ford in cinema history.

With the hilly streetscape of San Francisco providing the backdrop and lots of cheap GTs available should the ‘hero’ car get trashed, Bullitt’s eight minute joust between McQueen’s Mustang and a black Dodge Charger still wins accolades with car-afflicted movie buffs. It also did more to enhance the desirability of big-block Mustangs than any advertising campaign.

If 30 years later the relevance of big-block GTs was fading it wasn’t allowed to do so for long. On to cinema and game-players’ screens in 2000 roared a Shelby-kitted GT500 Fastback by the name of Eleanor, turning the remake Gone In 60 Seconds into another love-fest for ancient Mustangs.

Given the immense numbers of these cars built and high survival rates, specialist suppliers have a massive market into which to pour replacements for every imaginable Mustang part. Surprising amounts of genuine ‘new old stock’ components also exist so anyone looking to maintain a GT for some years can easily compile a kit of spares.

Big-block GT Mustangs exist locally in reasonable numbers and are sold frequently enough to establish a fair market. However the place to go for exceptional cars is still the USA.

Big-block GTs at North American auction sales went through their price peak a few years back but have fallen significantly. Some locally-available cars haven’t caught up with these recent movements so homework is essential. Consider also the various costs and pitfalls of buying a car you haven’t seen.

MUSTANG OWNER: MARK COFFEY

"I always loved the look of the 1967 – for me it’s an icon and the pick of the bunch, particularly in the combination of Wimbledon White and the red interior."

He’s not alone in that judgment. This body shape is the one that pulls the big prices, while the colour combo has yet to be beaten as an example of that super-clean sixties style.

"I bought it a few years ago with a good history. It has a Marti Report. A worker at the Dearborn factory owned it and did some restoration as a father/son project."

Mark, who runs Maranello Motorsport and enjoys a good project car, has been gradually working away on this matching numbers example for three or more years. Along the way it’s scored a premium engine build while pretty much everything else has received attention.

His uncle was well-known dealer Alan Coffey, of Coffey Ford fame, so he admits to having had examples of the marque all his life.

However, now the Mustang is nearing completion, he confesses that he’s starting to eye a new project and will probably sell the pony car.

 

SPECIFICATIONS

Mustang GT390

NUMBERS BUILT N/A
BODY 2-door fastback
ENGINE 6384cc V8, 4v-carb
POWER & TORQUE 238.5kW @ 4800rpm, 579Nm @ 3200rpm
PERFORMANCE 0-100km/h 6.3s, 0-400 metres: 14.8s
TRANSMISSION 3 or 4-speed manual or 3-speed auto
SUSPENSION Front: independent – wishbones with coils, tele shocks. Rear: live axle with semi-elliptic springs, tele shocks
BRAKES disc/drum pwr-assist
TYRES F70 x 14
PRICE RANGE $55-115,000
CONTACT scoderegistry.com

 

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