After being transferred to Northern California in March of 1967, I needed to get a car. My first new car of my own to be exact. Driving past the Ford dealership one day, I noticed that they were selling Shelby’s. I stopped and saw they had an Apple Green GT350. This was the new design without the marker lights on the roof vents. I came back another day and asked if I could get that in blue and was told no. So with that I decided to go to Southern California and see if the dealers there were any different. This was also before Shelby announced the GT500 and GT500KR. Another problem with the GT350 was Ford only gave it a 90 day/3,000 mile warranty like most of their other V8’s with mechanical lifters. Ford classified these as racing engines , unless it was for police use. So the last Friday in March my fiancée and I headed south to my parents to see if I could do better at that end of the state. That Saturday we went to the salesperson that had sold my parents three of their special order cars. He informed me that they were not a Shelby dealer thus could not order one, but we could create a Mustang that could handle and perform like a Shelby. With the Mustang options book in hand, we set out to do that resulting in the vehicle below.
The Mustang was ordered on April 1, 1967 from Jack Gosch Ford in Hemet, California. The Dealer placed the order with the DSO in LA on April 6th. Ford than scheduled it for production on April 27th, but actually put it into production on April 20th at the Ford Plant in Milpitas, California (San Jose), then shipped it to Hemet, California for delivery. In the past this took four weeks for the vehicles to arrive, but this order was not delivered until May 18, 1967 which was six weeks after it was ordered. On the $4100.30 window sticker (which I still have) for this Mustang was the GT package, fold down rear seat (sport rear seat), black standard interior, deluxe seat belts and shoulder harnesses, AM push button radio with Acapulco Blue exterior color. More luxury options were going to be added but the cost of the Competition Handling Package was on top of the GT package and either the hi-po 289 "K-code" engine or the "S-code" 390 FE big-block motor took the extra options money I had. Included with the Competition Handling Package was a Heavy Duty 3 core radiator, stiffer springs then the GT rated front coils and rear leaf springs, a 1.00" heavy-duty front anti-roll bar, adjustable 1 5/8” (likely Gabriel Adjustable “E”) shock absorbers, quick ratio steering (16:1), 2.5 turns lock to lock, 8K tachometer, Equa-lock, 3.25 gears and performance tires (Firestone Sport Car 200 black wall tube tires rated to 170MPH) on 15 inch rims. The engine came with a Holley carburetor (not the usual Autolite 4100 carburetor of the 320HP 390), like the 335 HP ‘66 Fairlane. This is the only Mustang that I have had that has factory rolled inter fender well lips, front and rear, to clear the 6.50-6.70 x 15 Firestone Sports Car 200 tires (E70/15) that came on the vehicle. Like most racing tires, you can see the sidewall cord structure and they required tubes. Ford provided LTD wheel covers with the package, which I had the dealer exchange for Thunderbird wheel covers. Other dealer installed options: 3.89 gears, 427 heads, 427 dual point distributor, adjustable rocker arms (this turns out to be what Tasca Ford was doing to 390 Mustangs to make them more competitive at drag racing events before the 428), Shelby GT 350 steering wheel, oil pressure and amp gauges to replace the idiot lights. Not liking where the dealer placed the gauges (under the dash), I designed a custom gauge panel to place the gauges just above the radio replacing a stock plastic panel for the A/C vent. By doing it this way, I do not have to take my eyes off the road to get their readings which I had to do when they were under the dash. This also provided space to add switches to control the Carello driving and fog lights that replaced the factory fog lights. I later added an Addco rear sway bar that gave a slot car feel in corners. In 1973 the factory dual point distributor was replaced with an Accel racing distributor and converted to electronic ignition.
There were only 195 Mustangs from the 1967 production run ordered with the Competition Handling Package. This is likely a subset of the Shelby’s that were produced. It does not stand out exterior wise from any of the other GT Mustangs when it rolls down the roadway. I had not noticed this myself, but, it was pointed out to me by a neighbor who had a 1967 also. One Saturday morning in 1968 when my neighbor and I were washing our cars, he asked why my car was lower than his. I had not noticed this until I moved it alongside his. The roof of his Mustang was two inches taller than mine. I always thought the tires rubbing the front fenders when I turned and hit a dip in the road was due to just the wider tires. Other original items that have been retained for the car are its warranty card, owner’s manual and window sticker. The current spare tire is one of the original five tires and rims that came with the vehicle in 1967.
At a Ford National Council of Mustangs event (now MCA I believe) in 1968, the car took first place in its class at the car show (Sacramento, CA). In 1972 the speedometer turned 68,000. Today the vehicle has 85,000 miles and is parked in the garage and mainly driven to car events. It’s like me - no longer a daily driver.
From the magazine articles I'd been reading, none of the concourse Mustang judges, (back in the ‘90’s) had ever seen a Mustang fitted with the competition handling package option. Concourse judges have to be aware that not all factory production vehicles come with a twenty-seven inch clearance from the ground to the edge of the wheel well. I myself have only seen one other such Mustang roaming the highways near Hayward, California. I'll bet its current owner thinks they just have a GT Mustang with fifteen inch wheels. Without the paper work one would be hard pressed to prove they had one of these limited production vehicles. But your odds are higher if it has a “K” or “S” code engine. Marti Auto reports that Ford delivered only 195 Competition Handling Package vehicles out of their nearly half a million production run (141 Fastbacks, 33 Coupes and 21 Convertibles). Thanks to the internet, Ford and Kevin Marti, “S” and “K” code GT owners can find out if they own one of these Competition Handling Package Mustangs or not.
I am scared to restore the car to new for fear of losing the car's uniqueness and not getting the correct parts. My father taught me to take care of my (our) vehicles, making restoration a maintenance problem instead of a rebuild or recreate problem. Unrestored I can say today that “that’s the way it came from the factory”. At one point a car restorer valued this GT at $50,000 plus (in the 90’s). The vehicle has all its original sheet metal (no bondo), carpet, interior, glass, drive train, engine compartment and interior paint. It would likely have its original exterior factory paint had it not been for what looked like acid on the left rear quarter panel that appeared after driving to work one day. Since I like to drive new cars, I try to keep the ones I own looking like new. Due to originally being driven daily it has dirt on the bottom side and inside its panels. There are some touchup spots also thanks to the parking lot neighbors I’ve had to park next to. I can say “she’s” not a trailer queen.
This is a fun vehicle to drive on the open road, especially in the hills. “She” handles most corners on less than a quarter turn of the steering wheel and a half turn for a hairpin. Revs to 6500 without a problem. I use to get 16 MPG at 65 MPH or 120 MPH. (Oh for the days when we had good gas). It does not have the luxury items of today, but for those of us that love to drive and hear the sound of the engine, we’re on cloud 9.
The things that were done at the time of purchase were done to keep the car original and unique and not just another run of the mill factory built Mustang. It goes faster than the legal limits. It’s a safer vehicle than most for its time, and fun to be behind its steering wheel. In the 60’s on Friday nights we drove to LA on dark roads thanks to the Carello lights. These lights have at least double the light distance of normal headlights and with a 1.5 mile reflective distance. The fog light puts out a flat beam that does not blind the driver in fog and light’s the right side of the roadway farther and better then the headlights on clear nights thus making night driving safer at speed. Oncoming driver’s think after seeing four headlights they just passed a Shelby unless they notice the tail lights. The engine develops 427 foot pounds of torque at 3200 RPM. With a 3.89 gear ratio, that puts 65 MPH at 3250 RPM so it cruises at maximum torque at the speed limit.
In summary, my goal was for a more unique vehicle than a Shelby. It’s the only one that has factory shoulder harnesses of the 141 Fastback’s built with the Competition Handling Package and one of two that came in Acapulco Blue with standard black seats. I was able to create a vehicle in 1967 that is more unique than most of the 1967 Shelby’s built. “She” handles as well and rides as low or lower and goes as well as a Shelby for less money. As a matter of fact, this car was featured in the January 1994 issue of Mustang and Fords on Page 58. I think I lucked out and succeeded for this being my first car!
The car was featured in the January 1994 issue of Mustang and Fords on page