Outside of the infamous Shelby Mustangs, there aren't many Ford pony cars that are more desirable than a 1965 Mustang convertible with a K-code 289 and a 4-speed, which is exactly what we have here. All the numbers match and check out properly (VIN/warranty number 5F08Kxxxxxx), it has been restored and detailed to a very high standard, and is ready to show, drive, and enjoy today. Only 7273 K-code Mustangs were built in 1965 (less than 1% of all Mustang production, by the way), most of them GT coupes and fastbacks, making this non-GT convertible incredibly rare. If you think this is a lot of money for a Mustang, just wait a few years these K-code cars are gaining value by leaps and bounds, and none will appreciate as fast as a 4-speed convertible. Buy now or regret it later, and don't say I didn't warn you.
Buyers of the GT Equipment Package could add the K-code to their new ride for an extra $276 back in 1965, but not many folks know that it was also available on the non-GT cars for $328, which is the case with this car. The “K” represented the engine code in the VIN of these Mustangs. Each K-Code Mustang, including this Wimbeldon White ragtop, had a special badge on their front fenders that read “HIGH PERFORMANCE 289.” No doubt about it, the K-Code Mustang was all about performance. In fact, K-code Mustangs were not available with air conditioning or power steering, and you couldn't buy one with an automatic transmission until 1966. All 1965 K-Code Mustangs were 4-speed only. The K-code cars also came with a shorter warranty than the typical Mustang: 3 months or 4,000 miles instead of the standard 12 month/12,000 miles plan. The folks at Ford figured that most people who purchased the car would put it through its paces on a daily basis, and they were probably right.
Here's the trim tag decode:
Body: 76A (Convertible, Standard Interior)
Color: M (Wimbeldon White)
Trim: 26 (Black Crinkle Vinyl, Standard Interior)
Date: 18J (September 18, 1964)
DSO: 33 (Detroit)
Axle: 5 (3.50:1, Conventional)
Trans: 5 (4-Speed Manual)
The body on this ragtop is in excellent condition, having been fully restored a few years ago. The body received extensive work to get it this straight and clean, and panel alignment is very, very good. The Wimbeldon White is now a 2-stage urethane instead of the old single stage enamel, and it shines better than the original ever did I recall my neighbors '65 Mustang in Wimbeldon White always looked chalky and dull, but not this car. There has been some expert sheet metal work, but the repairs are invisible and 100% OEM throughout. Look at the photos again and check out the shut lines on those doors, - there's no sagging, no sign of fatigue in the rockers, nothing. This car was restored to better than new condition in every measurable way, and has been driven only sparingly since its completion. There are no ripples, no waves, no dings, just perfect, flat, straight sheet metal everywhere you look.
The chrome and trim on this car were also restored or replaced during the restoration, and everything is in first-rate shape today. The bumpers have to be new, since they are completely wave-free. The stainless has been buffed to look like the best chrome, and all the cast metal pieces have been refinished properly. There are some signs of age in the brightwork, but they are very, very slight and could easily be remedied. Glass is correct and intact all around, while all the lenses and other trim pieces are perfect. The correct “High Performance 289” badges are in place on the front fenders, advertising this cars potent 271 horsepower V8. Out back, the correct exhaust trumpets protrude from the rear valence and sound amazing.
All K-code engines began life as standard 289 cubic inch cast iron blocks. Unverified and an area of controversy is the crankshaft. It is said that the crankshafts were tested for hardness and ones that met a standard were handpicked for the HI-PO engine, the ones that didn't went into standard 289 engines. The rod bearings and bolts were upsized. The front of the crankshaft has a hatchet weight to balance out the weight of the larger rod bearings and bolts. The harmonic balancer was also enlarged for the same reason. Pistons were cast and the compression ratio is 10:5 to 1. The alternator pulley was also enlarged to reduce the number of revolutions at high engine speeds. HI-PO engines also had a metal radiator shroud, and a wide four blade, riveted cooling fan.
The cast iron heads were unique to the HI-PO engine, with chrome plated valve stems, solid valve lifters, screw in rocker studs, and cast-in valve spring guides. The camshaft has special contoured lobes for high-lift valve openings, and contributes to the slightly uneven idle and that unique solid lifter sound. The exhaust manifolds were cast iron free flowing 'header type' and all HI-POs had a 2-inch exhaust system with a crossover design H-pipe to equalize pressure and dual low restriction mufflers. The intake manifold was a standard cast iron 289 4-barrel unit, but the carburetor was a 600 CFM Autolite 4100 with a manual choke with a tuned 360-degree low restriction air cleaner. The distributor was a FoMoCo dual-point mechanical advance, ignition wires were solid core, and the spark plugs (in 1965) were Autolite BF-32s. A factory engine dress up kit was standard and included polished chrome valve covers and air cleaner.
The engine compartment in this K-code convertible is as the factory made it, with NOS parts used throughout. The block is black, not Ford Blue as many people think it should be, and shows very few signs of usage. The chrome dress-up kit is flawless, including the “289 High Performance” air cleaner decal. Hoses are correct Ford script piece held in place with tower hose clamps, plug wires are properly labeled units, and there's even a reproduction Ford Rotunda red oil filter. The radiator is cooled by the correct Hi-PO fan, the alternator has the large-diameter gold cadmium plated pulley, and the harmonic balancer is positively HUGE, which caught our attention immediately. This is an awful lot of high performance engineering added to the car for a measly 328 bucks.
You'll also note that the underside of the hood and the engine compartment is finished as nicely as the exterior of the car, something that wasn't “Job One” in 1965, but there's no penalty for over-restoration. As impressed as I am with this car overall, I was absolutely blown away by the engine bay; it's gorgeous, accurate, and correct throughout. Wow!
The transmission is a Ford close-ratio 4 speed cast iron Top Loader with a 10.4-inch clutch that was a mandatory option with the 271 HI-PO engine option in 1965. It drives an unbreakable 9-inch rear carrying 3.50 gears on an open differential (Traction-Lok was not available on 1965 Mustangs). A heavy duty suspension with upgraded springs and shocks, plus a larger 13/16-inch front sway bar was included with the HI-PO engine option. This was the same 'Special Handling Package' offered in the V8 GT cars. The steering was the fast ratio box (16:1) used with the power steering cars, but without the power assist. No power steering, power brakes, or air conditioning was available from the factory on the K-Code HI-PO. Tires were 14-inch dual redlines standard with a no cost option of black or whitewalls, and this car sports a set of authentic-looking 195/75/14 Coker Classic redline radials on a set of gorgeous styled steel Mustang wheels.
The rest of the chassis is highly detailed, but now showing some signs of usage. A weekend of elbow grease would put it back into top-flight show condition, but if this were mine, I'd simply maintain it and enjoy the hell out of the high-winding small blocks siren song as I hammered down the road.
The fully restored standard bucket seat interior is absolutely beautiful there was no sacrifice in choosing the base interior option. The Pony interior option may have been an upgrade, but I don't think you're missing anything now that I've seen how this car looks. The seats feature new foam under fresh seat covers, the door panels are new, and fresh carpet is on the floors underneath correct rubber mats. The dash and gauges have been fully restored, and we are in the process of installing an original Rally Pac tachometer and clock on the steering column. The AM radio works properly, as does the heater. You'll notice that the only deviation from stock is the aftermarket Hurst shifter between the seats, but after you row the gears in this screamer, you won't want to go back to the stock Ford piece. Overhead, the power convertible top is new, and I'm pretty sure were the first ones to ever fold it. The plastic rear window is clear and unblemished, and the convertible top boot that covers it all looks to have never been used. Out back, the trunk is finished to factory specs with a new mat and spare tire cover.
These K-code cars are an absolute blast to drive. With a 6,500 RPM redline (7,000 if you're feeling lucky), a close ratio 4-speed, and a 3:89 rear axle, 14-second 1/4 mile times are possible. The car just explodes from about 3,500 RPM (when the vacuum secondaries open) to redline and the solid lifter engine and dual exhaust sounds incredible. A true wolf in sheep's clothing, this non-GT HI-PO convertible is the very definition of “sleeper.” With a high-quality restoration that's just starting to mellow, this would be an incredible summer driver that would be welcome at any show, up to and including the Ford Nationals where it would probably draw a crowd the instant you popped the hood. In the meantime, its value should continue to climb, making it one of the smarter investments you can make. Remember when Plymouth 'Cuda convertibles were changing hands for $60K and we all thought they were overpriced? Don't make that same mistake with this car. This is a real deal K-code car that has been fully restored. Go ahead and try to find another one for sale today. We'll wait, but only until the next guy calls and buys it. Call now!
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