"T5" - The German "Mustang"
|Ford could have hardly anticipated this. When the company wanted to introduce its biggest hit of the 1960's to the German market, a car that had broken sales records in the US, management in the US received an unpleasant surprise: The name “Mustang” had already been trademarked by two German companies, Krupp and bicycle manufacturer Kreidler.
What now? What to do?
Ford management saw little chance of success in a potentially long and drawn out legal battle, and for reasons
|unclear today the company declined an offer from Krupp to buy the rights to the name for $10,000.
Instead, they renamed the “Mustang” the “T5”. Why T5? Because it had been the internal Ford product code name of the Mustang during the development phase.
Now they could start, and Ford could do it in style. The T5 was advertised in Germany with great promotional expense and the successful model sold with operating instructions in German, which was rather unusual for imported cars at that time.
What makes a Mustang a T5?
From today’s point of view, it is far more critical to a T5 enthusiast to know when a Mustang is not actually a Mustang, but a T5 instead. In other words, what makes one model different from the other?
To clarify, the DSO code (Domestic Special Order / District Code) is first referenced.
This code provides the first information on whether an exported vehicle is involved.
At that time, Ford used DSO’s from 90 to 99 for exports, while for the T5 they used codes from 90 to 96. This means that all T5s have to have a DSO code in the 90’s.
The DSO code is found on a stamped metal plate with the respective number and located on the right or left inner fender.
The most obvious difference is the (missing) Mustang lettering that was replaced with a newly designed T5 emblem. For the first models, which were 1964 ½, only a decal borrowed from the Ford Comet was applied; starting in 1965 a T5 emblem made of metal was used.
This caused a bit of a problem. The actual Mustang emblem took up more space and required more attachment points than the T5 sign, so the fenders had to be drilled differently. Many of the 1964 models were modified in Germany so that either a new fender had to be installed or the existing Mustang holes had to be professionally plugged.
Please note: not every modification was done professionally!
The emphasis should have been on “professional”. But this was not always the case. The Mustang symbol on the horn was sometimes removed quite amateurishly with an angle sander. The hubcaps and the gas cap had to be replaced as well. Only the pony symbol on the radiator grille remained as the last Mustang memento.
Along with the purely cosmetic changes, there were also a few changes to the chassis.
Because Ford USA felt that the original, fairly comfortable, chassis could not handle German roads, stiffer struts and shocks were installed. Last but not least, other headlights had to be installed due to the special German regulations.
All in all, these changes and the fact that only a few hundred units were exported to Europe make the T5 a true rarity.
In the 1960s there was a second sales channel in addition to the Ford dealers, though it was not open to everyone. Dependents of service personnel stationed with US Army units in Germany could buy a T5 through the PX system, and gasoline was available at the gas stations on base at a sharply reduced price. Some of these vehicles landed in German hands later on, if they were not shipped back to the US when the buyer's deployment ended. The Army T5s can be recognized by the speedometers that shows miles per hour; all others had km/h speedometers.
By the way, Mustangs had to be sold in Germany as the T5 until 1979. The naming rights were not available until then, and afterward the T5 was again a Mustang.