- 1 of 185 Pace Car replicas
- Fully restored
- 260 cubic inch V8
- C-4 automatic transmission
- 8-inch Ford differential / 3.00 gears
- Documentation from Ford Customer Service Department
Nineteen sixty-four was a good year for Ford dealerships. With several successful models already on the road, the introduction of the Mustang elevated the automaker's market share almost overnight. In its first month of production, supply was already outstripping demand for the new pony car. As the leader of “Total Performance” the Mustang was selected to pace the 1964 Indianapolis 500. Ford produced 37 pace cars for track and official use and an additional 185 replica pace cars which were distributed through an internal competition between dealerships. This 1964.5 Mustang Pace Car is one of those original 185 cars, making it one of the rarest production Mustangs to ever leave Dearborn. Fully restored with the correct drivetrain, transmission and interior options, this pony car is an amazing piece of Ford history offered at an extremely reasonable price. If there's space in your collection for one rare thoroughbred, take a closer look at the 1964.5 Mustang.
So you know this is a real deal pace car, we'll begin by breaking down the VIN:
5: 1965 Model Year
F: Manufactured at the Dearborn, MI Assembly Plant
07: Ford Mustang 2-Door Hardtop
F: (2-BC) 260 CID 8 Cylinder Engine
123807: Consecutive Unit Number
And the door tag:
65A: 2-Door Hardtop
C: Pace Car White Exterior Paint Color
42: White/Blue Vinyl Interior Trim
2D0: Schedule Build Date: April 2nd
73: District Sales Office – Salt Lake City
1: 3.00:1 Rear Axle Ratio
6: Dual Range Automatic Transmission (C-4)
Few cars are more recognizable than first generation Mustangs. With their long hoods, short decks and scalloped sides, they set the pace for an entire subcategory of American cars. This one retains its good looks thanks to the help of Salt Lake City's Mustang Ranch, who performed the restoration on this pace car. As underscored by the door tag, the paint is code C Pace Car White which was exclusive to the early 1965 builds. The glossy white paint is complemented by a blue stripe centered across the hood and roof and decklid. Across the sides, “Official Indianapolis 500 Pace Car” graphics sit just above the body line while “Ford Mustang” is just below, centered on the doors. Overall, the paintwork looks great and the pace car script is a definite attention getter.
It's obvious that Ford has always sweated the details on the Mustang and with its completely new brightwork and bolt-on pieces, this car presents a finished, high quality appearance that goes far beyond its nice paint and fresh decals. Up front, a stainless grille frames a pristine corralled pony emblem with deep set headlights that cap aggressive, ridged fenders. Below that grille a show-worthy chrome bumper hangs above wide-set chrome trimmed parking lights. At the top of the car, like-new glass is framed by bright stainless trim and new stainless wipers. At the sides of the car, fresh “260” badges complement chrome door handles and aggressive mesh-filled side scoops. At the back of the car, glossy peaked fenders frame segmented tail lights and a highly detailed Mustang fuel cap. One of the coolest details on the car is an original Bennet Ford badge, recalling the dealership that originally took delivery of the car. Below, a second showroom fresh chrome bumper hangs above traditional chrome trimmed reverse lights, chrome trimmed stainless exhaust tips which are integrated into the car's rear valence alongside a chrome tag bracket.
The three Mustang convertibles that performed track duty at the 500 were extensively modified. Shipped from Dearborn to racing contractor Holman Moody, those cars received warmed over 289s with four-speed manual transmissions and a one off suspension built to tolerate the rigors of the raceway. The replica pace cars like this '65 were more direct representations of what buyers could purchase at the time. Lift the striped hood and you'll find a nicely detailed 260 cubic inch V8. The second variation of the Windsor engine, these small displacement V8s utilized a 3.80 bore, 2.87 stroke and 8.8:1 compression ratio to churn out 164 horsepower with a whopping 258 lb. ft. of torque. With a curb weight well under 3,000lbs, that was plenty of power to make these pony cars spirited drivers. This 260 is factory fresh, dressed in an array of period correct equipment. At the top, a Ford Blue single snorkel air cleaner conceals a tagged C4ZF-E carburetor which feeds atomized fuel into a date-code correct intake manifold. At either side, cast iron heads are dressed with Ford Blue valve covers that contrast well against the black block. To the front of the engine, Ford-branded belts turn a FoMoCo generator and power steering pump. Breathing through a set of cast iron manifolds, the engine fires on the first try and has a great vintage sound.
Peer underneath and a well-restored nicely detailed chassis peers back. At the center, a trusty C-4 automatic transmission divides the power between three gears, ultimately sending it to the Ford 8-inch differential packed with highway-friendly 3.00 gears. Around that drivetrain, the stock suspension has been rebuilt to factory specifications. It's no secret that early Mustangs got their moves from their Falcon-badged siblings, and this one is no exception. Up front, spherical ball-joints with coil springs held the front end up while the rear was kept in place by longitudinal leaf-springs. When the road gets twisty, the power steering system keeps turning effort to a minimum while hydraulic, self-adjusting drum brakes are surprisingly effective on the lightweight coupe. At the corners, 14-inch steel wheels are covered by OEM wheel covers with spinners that feature a “Mustang” branded center cap. Those wheels are wrapped in 135/75R14 whitewall tires for an appropriately vintage look.
Between the surprisingly light doors, an attractive restored interior holds nearly universal appeal. Fresh blue carpet covers the rock solid floorpans while tying into the blue script on the exterior of the car. With the exception of the seat belts and dash pad which share the blue coloration, the entire interior, from kick panels to headliner, is covered in white The front bucket seats are comfortable and supportive, offering a great view of the factory dash. As a non-GT car with a standard interior, this one has the simple horizontal speedometer with a large gas gauge on the left side and a temperature gauge on the right. Controls for the headlights and windshield wipers come in the form of attractive chrome pulls while the climate controls are also chrome plated. In the center of the dash, the original push button AM radio remains in place, still pulling in signal. The driver is connected to the road through an attractive three-spoke rim-blow steering wheel mounted on top of a fixed column while the Cruise-O-Matic shift selector pokes through the floor. Behind the cabin, a neatly restored trunk features the correct mat and spare tire.
Documentation for this car includes a letter from the Ford Customer Service Department breaking down the VIN and door tag as well as two articles outlining the history of the Mustang Pace Car. Also included is a blue three-ring binder which has several pictures of the car, pictures of the original Pace Car lineup at Dearborn and a considerable amount of Mustang trivia which provides context for this car.
According to one of the magazine articles included with the car, it's estimated that well under fifty of these pace cars are still roadworthy. While a few more may be sitting in varying states of decay, many have simply been lost to time. If you're a Mustang fan, racing fan or just appreciate amazing pieces of automotive history, this 1965 Mustang Pace Car would make a great addition to your collection. Don't miss the chance to bring this one home!
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