On April 17, 1964, the Ford Mustang was presented at the World’s Fair in New York and offered to US dealers for sale for the first time.
The cars produced at this point in time are today generally referred to as 1964.5 which accurately corresponds to their date of manufacture. This involves cars that were built between March 9, 1964 and July 31, 1964.
Ford didn’t have a Mustang in the program for the 1964 model year, which can also be recognized by the number 5 as the first digit in the vehicle identification number. The number five stands for the model year 1965. From a purely official point of view, there was no 1964.5 Ford Mustang available.
It is also true that the “early” Mustangs, meaning the 1964.5 models, were significantly different from the “late” Mustangs, meaning the correctly-named 1965 Mustangs. The technical details are likewise very different and the production numbers for the “early” Mustangs were significantly lower. They amounted to only 17.85% of the entire 1965 production. The 1964.5 Mustangs are therefore much rarer and also hold the distinction of being the first production run of the world’s most successful car.
The special features of the "early” Mustangs include the fact that only the hardtop and convertible models were available. There was no fastback model for the 1964.5 Mustang; this was not available until September 1964 with the 1965 model.
The engine was also significantly different. The “early” Mustangs were provided with four different engines, all of which were replaced in the late 1965 Mustangs, except for the 289 HiPo. A list of the different engine variations can be found in our technical overview.
Along with the different engines, there was also a variety of smaller and larger differences. The 1964.5 Mustangs all had a generator with a corresponding “GEN" warning light on the instrument panel, while the 1965 model had an alternator and an "ALT” indicator was provided. In addition, the 1964.5 Mustang had a non-adjustable passenger seat, larger horns (this was not mounted on the radiator, but instead on the frame near the strut rod) and an Eaton
power steering instead of a Ford unit, to name just a few differences.
Neither the GT package nor the Interior Décor (Pony) package were available for the 1964.5 models.
Click pictures to enlarge
The most important change or enhancement to the 1965 model is the expansion of the model line-up to include the fastback. This was also used as the basis for Carroll Shelby‘s GT350.
The 200ci 6-cylinder engine replaced the smaller 170 ci engine. Instead of the 260 engine, a 2V 289 was used. The horsepower was increased to 225 in the 4V 289. Only the K code 289 HiPo engine remained unchanged since its introduction.
In addition to other smaller changes, like the carpeting that now fully covered the interior rocker panels, or the gas cap that was equipped with a tightening ring starting in 1965, there were no major differences.
But two options are worth mentioning that were available starting in 1965 and which today represent a distinctive difference. One was the GT Equipment Group, offered starting in April 1965 and available only with the two 4V motors (the A code and the K code). Essentially, the package included a five-gauge instrument panel, front disc brakes, a thicker front stabilizer, a quicker steering ratio, a dual exhaust that led through the rear sheet metal, a double headlight front grill, different emblems, and a decorative strip on the lower body.
In addition, the Interior Décor Group was offered for the “late” 1965 Mustangs, which was also referred to as the “Pony package”. This comfort upgrade was striking mostly due to the two-tone interior with the embossed running horses on the front seats. Furthermore, the package included special door panels with integrated armrests, pistol grip door handles, a five-gauge instrument panel, a wooden steering wheel, and wood appliqués for the instrument panel and the glove box door. If the car was equipped with a center console, then this was also finished with a wooden look.
You can find more information about the 1964.5 / 1965 Mustang and the Ford T5 on the following pages: