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Your handy 1965–73 Ford Mustang buyers guide

The first-generation Mustang’s popularity is proof that Lee Iacocca’s concept of a pony car had the staying power to influence other manufacturers and countless car enthusiasts to this day. When was the last time you went to a car show and didn’t see a first-gen Mustang? Or what about a late-model car meet with later Mustangs clearly influenced by the original’s iconic styling?


Let’s get a high level overview at every year of the first generation’s production, highlighting special editions so you’ll know which Mustangs are best for you!


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A correction on the 1964.5 Indy Pace Car

Ford pulled about 35 Wimbledon White Mustang convertibles off the line for Indianapolis 500 duties, regardless of interior color. The interiors were blue, red, and black. All had white tops. 

The actual pace cars were powered by the 289 c.i. D-Code V-8, and were subsequently massaged by Holman and Moody. They were Wimbledon White with white interiors, and blue carpets and dash, red seat belts. One is known to have survived. 

The pace car coupes are another story. 

As a sales reward for Ford dealers selling the most Mustangs at launch, Ford instituted the Green Flag and Checkered Flag Awards. The winning dealers either received a special pace car coupe (Checkered Flag) or an option to buy one (Green Flag) to resell. Each one of the approximately 190 pace car coupes were identical - a coupe painted a special color (Pace Car White), white interiors, blue carpet and dash (like the actual pace cars), with a 260 c.i. V-8 and automatic. None were delivered with exterior mirrors installed. 

Most of these coupes were built in early April 1964, prior to the Mustang’s public unveil at the New York World’s Fair.


These pace car coupes can be identified by special grease pencil notes written on the front/passenger side of the radiator support. 

They remain one of the rarest Mustang special editions. 

New Driver