In 1968 Smokin' Joe Frazier TKOed Buster Mathis in the 11th round, clinching the heavyweight boxing title. Life Magazine named Jimi Hendrix "The most spectacular guitarist in the world", and the Ford Mustang, well, the Mustang got side markers.
New Safety FeaturesA year earlier the Mustang had seen its first major redesign. The car was bigger and more powerful than ever before. In 1968 newly introduced Federal regulations mandated front and back side markers on the car. This, alone, made it easier to determine a 1967 Mustang from a 1968. 1968 Mustangs have side markers, while 1967 models do not.
The 1968 Mustang also featured a new two-spoke energy-absorbing steering wheel along with federally mandated shoulder belts. No doubt, the 1968 Mustang was designed to be safer than previous models, both inside and out.
1968 Model-Year Highlights
- First Mustang with Front and Rear Side Markers
- FORD Lettering Removed from Hood
- Rear View Mirror Attached to Windshield Instead of Frame
- New 302 Cubic Inch V-8 Engine Available
- First Mustang with Shoulder Belts
- C-Stripe Graphics
Subtle Improvements and InnovationsThe Mustang’s side scoops were switched out in 1968 and replaced with one-piece chrome styling, accentuated by C-stripe graphics. As for the Mustang’s grille, it changed as well. Ford decided to do away with the horizontal bars surrounding the galloping pony emblem. Instead they added a single band of trim surrounding the grille opening.
A truly innovative feature on the 1968 Mustang was turn signal indicators integrated into the car’s hood. Other changes for 1968 included the introduction of a new GT Mustang emblem, GT hub caps, and quad exhaust tips on the V-8 powered GT Mustang. As for features, the Mustang included Selectshift Cruise-O-Matic automatic transmission and AM/FM radio. Other standards included bucket seats with options such as hood racing stripes, pop-open gas cap, overhead console, and a new 302 engine capable of producing 230 hp.
Performance and PowerIn 1968 Ford introduced its new 302 engine, which would eventually go on to replace the 289 version. The standard 302 V-8 was capable of producing 230 hp, which was 30 more ponies than the 289 engine. As for high performance offerings, 1968 was the year Ford unleashed their 428 Cobra Jet Mustang. The car’s engine was conceived from a 428 police-car short block engine, aluminum manifold, 427 low-riser cylinder heads, and a special camshaft. It also featured numerous suspension tweaks. No doubt, the car was a huge hit at the drag strip. So popular, in fact, that Ford released a 2008 tribute model, and plans to release another limited-run in 2010.
Other special offerings of the 1968 year included the introduction of the 1968 California Special (GT/CS) Mustang. The coupe, available through California Ford dealers, featured a Shelby-styled deck lid and spoiler along with a blacked-out grille. About 4,325 of these cars were produced.
Special Editions and Mustang Movie StarsDealers in the Denver, Co. area offered their own special-edition Mustang coined the “High Country Special”. These cars were sold in the Denver area and were similar in design to the California Special Package, complete with special striping and Shelby styling.
1968 also saw the return of the Sprint Mustang, the Shelby GT350 and GT500 Mustangs, along with a newcomer coined the “King of the Road” Shelby. This GT500KR Mustang, released midyear, featured Ford’s new 428 Cobra Jet engine, and was said to produce upwards of 400+ hp.
Many folks remember the GT 390 when they think of 1968 Mustangs. The car, which was a GT Mustang with a 390 engine, was made famous later that year when it starred as Lt. Frank Bullitt’s police car in the Warner Bros. release “Bullitt.” The movie car featured no markings signifying it was a Ford Mustang. In 2001 Ford introduced a special-edition Mustang dedicated to the original GT 390 "Bullitt" Mustang. They released another version for the 2008/2009 model year.
1968 Ford Mustang Production StatsStandard Convertible: 22,037 units
Deluxe Convertible: 3,339 units
Standard Coupe: 233,472 units
Deluxe Coupe: 9,009 units
Deluxe Coupe w/Bench Seats: 853 units
Standard Fastback: 33,585 units
Standard Fastback w/Bench Seats: 1,079 units
Deluxe Fastback: 7,661 units
Deluxe Fastback w/Bench Seats: 256 units
Total Production: 317,404 units Retail Prices:
$2,814 Standard Convertible
$2,578 Standard Coupe
$2,689 Standard Fastback
Ford offered a choice of seven engine configurations in 1968:
- Engine Code T: 200 cubic inch 6-cylinder engine @ 120hp
- Engine Code C: 289 cubic inch V-8 engine @ 200hp
- Engine Code J: 302 cubic inch V-8 engine @ 230hp
- Engine Code S: 390 cubic inch V-8 engine @ 335hp
- Engine Code X: 390 cubic inch V-8 engine @ 280hp
- Engine Code W: 427 cubic inch V-8 engine @ 390hp
- Engine Code R: 428 cubic inch V-8 engine @ 335hp
Vehicle Identification Number DecoderExample VIN #8FO1C100001
8=Last digit of Model Year (1968)
F=Assembly Plant (F-Dearborn, R-San Jose, T-Metuchen)
01=Body Code For Coupe (02-fastback, 03-convertible)
100001=Consecutive unit number