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Ford Mustang History (1965)

Article by Mark Trotta

In addition to the original coupe and convertible models, the 1965 Mustang line-up included a new sporty fastback. Mid-year would see the Mustang GT, with more horsepower and improved handling. And for the horsepower freaks, there was the K-Code 289!

1965 Ford Mustang fastback

1965 Upgrades

The base 170ci motor was replaced with a 200ci six-cylinder engine as standard. Last year's 260ci V8 was replaced with a 2-barrel 289 V8, and the 4-barrel 289 was now rated at 225-horsepower.



There were several other minor changes for the 1965 model year. Alternators replaced generators, the oil-filler cap was relocated, and an integral power-steering pump and reservoir replaced the remote-mounted style found on most earlier models.

1965 Mustang dashboard

Inside the car, Ford and Motorola jointly introduced an eight-track tape player.

New Fastback

The exterior lines of the first-year fastback were similar to those of the Jaguar XKE, with trunk space being traded for increased interior room.

Mustang fastback first year

Other American-made fastbacks offered at this time were the Plymouth Barracuda and Rambler Marlin. Neither of these were nearly as popular as the Mustang fastback.


1965 Mustang GT

The extra-cost GT Equipment Group was first offered in April of 1965, giving the buyer front disc brakes, quick-ratio gearbox, stiffer front coils and rear springs, heavy-duty shocks, and a larger diameter front sway bar.

1965 Mustang GT

Exterior features included special stripes on the lower fender, doors and rear quarter panels, GT badging, and grille-mounted fog-lamps. Inside, the GT dash pod had five round gauges.

Base motor with the GT package was the two-barrel 289-cid V-8. Optional engines included a 225-horsepower 289, or the high performance K-code 289.


K-Code Mustang

The K-Code 289 engine, rated at 271-horsepower, was first seen on Mercury Comets and Fairlane models in 1963. Chrome valve covers set off the motor visually, with "289 High Performance" lettering atop the chrome air cleaner.

The motor featured smaller combustion chamber heads, a solid-lifter camshaft, 10.5:1 compression, dual-point distributor, and low-restriction exhaust manifolds. A 595-cfm carburetor was fitted with a manual choke.



K-Code equipped Mustangs wore special badging on the front fenders, which read "High Performance 289". Dual-exhaust pipes exited below the rear fender through the rear valance panel.

First year K-Code Mustangs came with a 4-speed transmission only, and were not available with air conditioning or power steering. Buyers received a three month/4,000 mile warranty instead of the standard Mustang 12 month/12,000 mile plan.


A total of 559,451 Mustangs were produced for the 1965 model year. Model breakdown:

77,079 Mustang fastbacks, 409,260 coupes and 73,112 convertibles.

1965 Mustang at classic car show


Mustang Assembly Plants

The first two years of Mustang sales were unprecedented. To keep up with demand, Ford opened two additional assembly plants. In addition to the Dearborn, Michigan plant, new facilities opened up in San Jose, California and Metuchen, New Jersey.


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Ford Mustang History (1964)