Red
Black
428 Cobra Jet V8
4 Speed Manual
  • Rotisserie restoration
  • 1 of 1,236 4-speed R-codes
  • MCA national award winner
  • Multiple magazine features
  • 428ci Cobra Jet V8
  • Toploader 4-speed manual
  • Traction-Lok rear / 3.90 gears
  • Power steering / power brakes

When you ask most Ford enthusiasts what their favorite Mustang is, the '67-'68 fastbacks are always at the top of the list. Between the slick sloping rear and slightly larger stature, it was the car that officially buried the “secretary car” stigma and left a pile of rubber on its grave. Sure it was restyled but the big news was the addition of the brutal 428 Cobra Jet to the options list. This 1968 Mustang fastback is a true 428-equipped R-code and one of just 1,236 backed by a Toploader 4-speed. Restored at the highest level, the car has received accolades from the Mustang Club of America as well as prominent spots in publications like Muscle Car Review and Super Ford. If you're looking for the perfect first generation to rule local shows and cruise on nice weekends, this '68 is a strong candidate.

According to the Marti report, here's how the data plate breaks down:

• 8: 1968
• F: Built at Dearborn, Michigan
• 02: Mustang Fastback
• R: 428-4V CJ
• 94447: 94,447th Ford schedule for production at Dearborn
• 63A: Mustang Fastback
• B: Royal Maroon paint
• 2A: Black standard bucket seats
• 13E: Scheduled for build: May 13, 1968
• 11: Boston Ordering District
• Y: 4.30 Traction-Lok axle
• 5: Four-Speed Manual Transmission

And here are the options the car left the factory with

• GT Equipment Group
• Four-speed Manual Transmission
• High-Ratio Axle
• Traction-Lok Differential
• F70x14 Belted Traction Tires
• Center Console
• Power Disc Brakes
• Power Steering
• AM Radio

The high-powered pony car was actually produced on May 24, 1968 – 11 days behind schedule. From Dearborn, it headed straight to Al Mitchell Ford in Cranston, Rhode Island where it was introduced to its first owner. Its safe to say the car saw plenty of street action over its lifetime but that's just an assumption. What we know is that, in the late 1980s, this GT was treated to a no-holds-barred restoration that brought every inch of the car back to factory-new condition. The Royal Maroon has been swapped for a bright code of red which ramps up appeal even further. Black stripes run the length of the hood and outline the classic side scoop design. The body presents well from virtually every angle and panel gaps are even all around – far better than any assembly line work of the 1960s. Any doubts of the cars presentation can be put to rest by the MCA judging sheets. Even with their high standards, the car received zero deductions in the “exterior” category.

Paint aside, there are some impressive details in place that not only help make a first strong impression but also differentiate the car from its 1967 model siblings. The front end was cleaned up thanks to the deletion of the horizontal bars on either side of the Mustang emblem. It was replaced with a single band of trim surrounding the grille opening which, on this car, also houses the driving lights. Above the grille, a factory hood features a single scoop, but no Ford lettering as found on the prior year. Along the sides, clean GT badges hang on the front fenders while dent-free stainless rocker trim runs between the wheel arches. Behind the doors, a 1968 update added chrome trim to the scoops while the C-stripe does a great job highlighting the area. At both ends of the car, chrome-accented marker lights remain the easiest way to find a '68 in a crowd. Below the roofline, show-quality stainless and chrome edge flaw-free glasswork. Follow the fastback lines and the chrome-wrapped rear features triple taillights, a GT-badged gas cap and a showroom clean rear bumper affixed above round reverse lights and quad exhaust tips.

By the time this GT rolled off the assembly line, Ford offered an impressive list of engines in their pony car ranging from a 200cid Thriftpower I6 to the mighty 428cid Cobra Jet. This pony was lucky enough to receive the top option CJ. Long regarded as one of the most iconic Ford mills ever created, the new-for-1968 428 FE motor utilizes a strengthened medium block, heavy duty connecting rods, a nodular iron crankshaft and larger valves and ports to produce an advertised 335 horsepower and 445 lb-ft of torque. The engine in this Mustang is based on an earlier block but has been carefully rebuilt to 428 Cobra Jet Specs. The block is dressed in Ford blue and topped with high-performance pieces like the ram air system and Holley four-barrel carburetor. Correct CJ heads are topped by chrome valve covers and breathers while Autolite wires and hoses snake around the bay. Despite its performance attitude, the bay makes way for niceties like power steering and power brakes which definitely come in handy with the 428 up front. From the radiator to the Autolite battery, nearly everything wears a tag and the replicated inspection marks along the firewall further that sense of authenticity.

Underneath the car, a road-ready undercarriage houses solid floors beneath a durable layer of undercoating. Nice enough to show but still fully drivable, this is the perfect compromise for enthusiasts who like to show their car but still fully enjoy it on nice weekends. Towards the front, a Toploader four-speed manual transmission still shifts well, transferring power back to a Traction-Lok limited slip rear axle with 3.90 gears. The suspension remains in its original configuration with control arms up front and leafs with staggered shocks out back but there is impressive amount of detailing present. While Mustangs were far from heavy, steering effort is even lighter thanks to the power steering setup in place on this fastback. Braking is equally good with power front disc and rear drums bringing the car to a halt in a hurry. At the corners, fourteen-inch GT wheels are wrapped in 215/70 BFG's for some modern traction.

Inside the car, a comfortable black interior should make any Mustang fan feel at home. Step over the Ford-branded door sill plates onto fresh black carpet protected by Mustang-branded floor mats. A pair of bucket seats provide front row seating and enough support to back spirited driving. Control over the car is offered through the trio of a chrome shifter, two-spoke steering wheel, and clean rubber-trimmed pedals below. There is no center console or wood grain applique but the overall design certainly doesn't suffer. From the driver seat, a 120mph speedometer pairs with an 8k rpm tachometer while smaller gauges keep tabs on temperature and fuel. The plainspoken black dash also makes room for a Philco stereo should you ever grow tired of the 428's rumble (you won't). The dash shows to the correct grain and appears to be an original while all trim throughout the cabin remains in showroom condition. Take a look inside the trunk to find a full-size spare and roadside tools placed on top of a correct trunk mat.

Documentation is for this GT is plentiful and it begins with a Deluxe Marti report that outlines all the finer points of the car. That paperwork is followed up by restoration photos and, in case you still aren't sure about the results, the Mustang Club of America judging sheets which were strong supporters of this build. There's a 1:18 die cast rendition of the car to display at shows and, of course, copies of the magazines it's been featured. That list includes:

• Muscle Car Review
• Mustang Monthly
• Super Ford
• Cruisin Style

It's difficult to imagine the automotive world without Mustangs. They've been a staple in the collector world for decades and continue to be favorites among racers and purists alike. With its rowdy 428 CJ, smooth Toploader and nearly universal appeal, this is an ideal Mustang for anyone who has ever considered adding one to their stable. If that's you, don't miss the chance to claim this awesome '68.

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