1968 Mustang GT/California Special

Today’s car is a 1968 Mustang GT/California Special (GT/CS) owned by Jamison Yee. I photographed this street spot in Westchester, CA. while walking in the Hood. The car is finished in Wimbledon white with a black vinyl interior. It is powered by a 230 hp, 302 cu in, overhead valve V8 engine, with Holley four barrel carburetor and mated to a SelectShift Cruise-O-Matic Ford 3-speed automatic transmission with a 3.00:1 rear axle. Slowing this beauty down are Wilwood disc brakes in all 4-corners. It has independent front suspension with coil springs mounted on the upper arms and struts stabilizing the lower arms. The rear suspension is solid axle with longitudinal semi-elliptical leaf springs and diagonal shocks. This car was optioned with power steering, power brakes, air conditioning and power windows.

Lee Grey was the Southern California district sales manager for Ford and was looking for something unique to spark the sales of Mustangs in Los Angeles, CA. He attended the Ford Preview event for the new 1968 Fords at the Los Angeles Coliseum where he saw the Shelby GT-500 prototype known as Little Red. It was on display to gauge market response as a possible for Mustang. Grey met with Lee Iacocca and they made the decision to bring the car to Dearborn to develop a limited edition Mustang with the objective of marketing it in California that looked unique compared to the standard models available elsewhere. The marketing theme for this limited edition was “California Made it Happen!” The initial distribution were in Los Angeles and San Jose in California District Sales Offices (DSO). It was later expanded to sales districts in Washington, Nevada, Texas, Utah, Oklahoma, Arizona, Western Canada, and Colorado.

The Mustang GT/CS unique features included: Lucas fog lights, twist-type DZUS hood pins, side scoops, pop-open gas cap, rear spoiler decklid with end caps, and taillight panel with 1965 non-sequential Ford Thunderbird taillights, side stripes with the “GT/CS” die-cut logo, along with a rear decklid stripe were included and were available in white, black, red, and metallic medium blue only. The fiberglass parts included: the rear decklid and end caps, taillight panel, and side scoops that were made at A.O. Smith, in Ionia, Michigan. A.O. Smith was also the same OEM manufacturer for the Corvette fiberglass bodies.

Series 1 Mustangs were produce from 1965 – 1972 and the GT/CS models production ran for only 5.5 months from mid-February 1968 to early August 1968. A total 0f 317,148 units of 1968 Mustangs were produced with 249,447 of them being 2 door hard top coupes of which 4,118 were GT/CS. This one is number 121 and came from San Jose DSO. The MSRP for a base GT/CS was $2,558. It had a published top speed of 100 mph with a 0-60 mph time of 9 seconds. This is a beautiful example of the low production Mustang GT/California Specials. Classic car collectors consider these cars to be very desirable. To be honest I did not know that this model existed until I saw this one and was pleasantly surprised when Jamison filled me in on the unique details. What a great car to take to Mustang car shows, Cars and Coffee events or just cruising around town visiting friends ion Westchester. Thank you for riding a long. Frank