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How can you tell a 1965 Mustang from a 1966?

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1965 Mustang Grille

1965 Mustang Grille

Photo © Jonathan P. Lamas
Question: How can you tell a 1965 Mustang from a 1966?
I'm into classic Mustangs, but I have a hard time identifying 1965 Mustangs from the 1966 model year. What should I look for?
Answer: Although 1965 and 1966 Mustangs are very similar in design, there are easy ways to tell the difference between the two. The first place to look is the Mustang's grille. A 1965 Mustang will feature vertical grille bars. A 1966 Ford Mustang will feature the running horse without a vertical grille bar. This gives the appearance of a free floating running horse that has no visible attachments. Of course, there's always an exception to the rule. 1966 Ford Mustang GTs feature a light bar which includes a vertical grille bar, similar to the 1965 model. But never fear; there are other ways to identify these two vehicles.

The next place I'd recommend you look is at the side scoops. 1966 Mustangs with side scoop trim feature three horizontal sweeps. The 1966 side scoop almost looks functional. 1965 Mustangs with side scoops feature a single compact scoop with no large horizontal sweeps.

Also, 1966 Ford Mustangs feature an instrument cluster with five circular dials, whereas non-GT 1965 Mustangs feature a Ford Falcon style instrument cluster with rectangular gauges.

Of course, you can always look at the gas cap. You'll find three notches for gripping the sides of 1965 caps, whereas the 1966 gas cap was more circular in design with subtle ridges for gripping. When in doubt, you can always try checking the Mustang's VIN or warranty plate.

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