In 1968, Ford put forward the 1967 model with only a few notable changes, although this was an important year for the Mustang.
Mainly minor cosmetic adjustments were involved, as well as safety relevant aspects. The almost complete replacement of the available engine variations was significant, however. The 225 HP 289 A-code engine was replaced with a 302 with 230 HP. Ford increased the engine displacement by changing the stroke from 2.8 inches to 3 inches.
In the middle of 1968, the 2V 289 engine was replaced with a 2V 302 engine. The 390 big block was available as a 2V with 265 HP or as a 4V version with 325 HP. Only 733 2V units were sold.
Because Ford was neck-and-neck in competition with many models with high-powered engines, like the big block Camaro, two additional big block engines were added to the line-up. Indeed, a 427 4V big block with 390 HP was offered on the list of options, but per Kevin Marti there was not a single model built with that engine. In December 1967, it was taken off of the option list. One reason for this was the high price, because the charge of $622 was almost a fourth of the car’s base price.
On April 1, 1968, the legendary 428 Cobra Jet V8 big block engine was introduced. This model was meant to strike fear in to the heart of the competition, consisting of the big block Camaros and Firebirds or the 340 Darts and Barracudas. And it was successful in a very impressive way. The 428CJ produced 335 HP on paper, but in reality it was probably somewhere above the 400 HP limit. Ford indicated lower horsepower numbers in order to avoid insurance problems. The 428 Cobra Jet was really not just about an engine, but instead much more about an engine package. Customers who chose the Cobra Jet for right around $500 received something more. In addition to the engine, a RAM air hood, working hood scoops, front disc brakes, reinforced strut towers, and Polyglas F70X14 tires were also included in the package.
The safety-relevant improvements included front and rear side marker lights, a steering column that would reduce impact energy in the case of an accident, three-point safety belts, and front headrests.
There were also model year changes to the exterior, even if they were fairly inconspicuous. The letters “F O R D” were removed from the hood on all models. The same was true for the horizontal front grill bars that had framed the horse and corral emblem in every previous model year. All models now had chrome sill cladding. The taillight edging was now black and no longer made of chrome as in previous years. The relatively noticeable side scoops from the 1967 model were refined to be even more filigreed.
In the interior, there was a restyled steering wheel that now had a massive horn pad in the middle along with a horn ring. The interior mirror was no longer mounted to the frame starting in 1968, but instead was mounted directly to the windshield. In addition, the seatbacks received a locking lever for the backrest adjustment. The instrument panel remained largely unchanged, but the optional center console was redesigned.
With the Interior Décor package, the aluminum appliqués from 1967 were replaced with wood décor accents. The door handles were no longer rigid, but instead had spherical bearings and could be folded down.
The GT Equipment Group was changed only slightly. The 14 inch styled steel wheels were modified once again and given a GT center cap. The gas cap and the decorative C stripe also underwent revision. A slightly different font was selected for the GT emblem on the fenders and the difference between GTA (GT automatic) and GT (GT manual) was discontinued. Regardless of the transmission installed, the fenders were now adorned with a uniform “GT”.
One of the most popular Mustangs still today is the Fastback GT 390 in the color “Highland Green”. The vehicle's reputation is due to the movie “Bullitt”, in which Steve McQueen as Lieutenant Frank Bullitt laid down one of the most breath-taking car chase scenes in cinematic history. Lt. Bullitt chased a black 1968 Dodge Charger through the streets of San Francisco relentlessly. Of course the Mustang had a happy ending to this chase…
You can find more information about the 1968 Mustang and our special report on the Fastback GT 390 "Bullitt" on the following pages: