1968 Ford Mustang GT Fastback
The first-generation Ford Mustang was manufactured by Ford from March 1964 until 1973. The introduction of the Mustang created a new class of automobile known as the pony car. The Mustang’s styling, with its long hood and short deck, proved wildly popular and inspired a host of competition.
It was initially introduced on April 17, 1964, as a hardtop and convertible with the fastback version put on sale in August 1964. At the time of its introduction, the Mustang, sharing its underpinnings with the Falcon, was slotted into a compact car segment.
With each revision, the Mustang saw an increase in overall dimensions and in engine power.
The Mustang GT version was introduced as the "GT Equipment Package" and included a V8 engine (most often the 225 hp, 168 kW, 228 PS "289"), grille-mounted fog lamps, rocker panel stripes, and disc brakes. In the interior the GT option added a different instrument panel that included a speedometer, fuel gauge, temp. gauge, oil pressure gauge and ammeter in five round dials (the gauges were not marked with numbers, however.) A four-barrel carbureted engine was now available with anybody style. Additionally, reverse lights were an option added to the car from August 1964 production. The Mustang was originally available as either a hardtop or convertible, but during the car's early design phases a fastback model was strongly considered. For 1965, the Shelby Mustang was born, it was available only in newly introduced fastback body version with its swept-back rear glass and distinctive ventilation louvers. In 1965 they built 15,079 Mustangs that featured the GT Equipment Group. For 1966, they built 25,517 GTs. The GT hardtop would be the most common, followed by the fastback and then the convertible.
The 1968 models that were produced from January 1968 were also the first model year to incorporate three-point lap and shoulder belts (which had previously been optional, in 1967–1968 models) as opposed to the standard lap belts. The air-conditioning option was fully integrated into the dash, the speakers and stereo were upgraded, and unique centre and overhead consoles were options. The fastback model offered the option of a rear fold-down seat, and the convertible was available with folding glass windows. Gone was the Rally-Pac, since the new instrument cluster had provisions for an optional tachometer and clock. Its size and shape also precluded the installation of the accessory atop the steering column. The convenience group with four warning lights for low fuel, seat belt reminder, parking brake not released, and door ajar were added to the instrument panel, or, if one ordered the optional console and A/C, the lights were mounted on the console.
Changes for the 1968 model increased safety with a two-spoke energy-absorbing steering wheel, along with newly introduced shoulder belts. Other changes included front and rear side markers, "FORD" lettering removed from hood, rear view mirror moved from frame to windshield, a 302 cu in (4.9 L) V8 engine was now available, and C-Stripe graphics were added.
The California Special Mustang, or GT/CS, was visually based on the Shelby model and was only sold in Western states. Its sister, the 'High Country Special', was sold in Denver, Colorado. While the GT/CS was only available as a coupe, the 'High Country Special' model was available in fastback and convertible configurations during the 1966 and 1967 model years, and as a coupe for 1968.
The 1968 Ford Mustang GT Fastback reached iconic status after it was featured in the 1968 film Bullitt, starring Steve McQueen. In the film, McQueen drove a modified 1968 Mustang GT 2+2 Fastback chasing a Dodge Charger through the streets of San Francisco. On January 10, 2020 the car driven by McQueen and later owned by Robert Kiernan, and subsequently by his son Sean, was sold at Mecum Auctions for a record price of $3.7 million, including auction fees.