Why the 1965 Mustang Fastback is Still America’s Beloved Classic

Originally designed to rival the Chevy Corvair, the 1965 Mustang line-up served options galore. Available as a convertible, coupe, or fastback, buyers could take their pick. These days, the ’65 Mustang Fastback is hailed as a classic because it launched the Pony Car revolution.

1965 Mustang Fastback
Image Editorial credit: Kamran Rzayev / Shutterstock.com

When it was unveiled at the 1964 New York’s World Fair, three major TV networks were there to cover the big reveal. It was viewed by approximately 30 million viewers. Newsweek and Time Magazine also covered the Mustang, leading to an impressive debut in which 680,989 units sold.

The Mustang Fastback is a particular staple of the American classic market. With a well-appointed cabin buyers could customize, an athletic exterior design, and two strong engines to choose from, the ’65 Mustang Fastback is still a ridiculously cool vehicle.

A Cabin You Could Customize

While the Mustang Fastback’s cabin focused primarily on the front seat occupants, the rear leaves sufficient space. The front bucket seats look sporty and offer ample comfort for folks of different sizes. The design was eye-catching despite the minimalist instrumentation panel, which only came with a fuel gauge, speedometer, oil pressure warning lights, and water temperature indicator.

Buyers could easily customize the cabin with options like a center console, power steering, unique wheel covers, a steering column-mounted clock, and a bench seat with a center armrest for the front in place of the sport seats. A simulated wood-rim steering wheel, wood grain trim, and duotone vinyl upholstery could also be added.

1965 mustang fastback
Image Editorial credit: Kamran Rzayev / Shutterstock.com

Rugged Body Design

Ford gave the Mustang Fastback a uniquely stylish exterior design too. It blew competitors out of the water with its short deck and long hood – elements future rivals would attempt to replicate. The welded-up platform-type chassis came with a reinforcing box on the front end to increase torsional rigidity. The sportier shape can be attributed to the 3-inch reduction in height and 3-inch width reduction from the Ford Falcon, on which the Mustang Fastback was based.

To boost the Fastback’s speed and lessen its fuel sipping ways, Ford gave the vehicle more advanced specs than what came on the coupe and convertible variants. The front wheels had specially designed suspensions consisting of one lower control arm featuring coil springs and an independent A-upper control arm. Semi-elliptical leaf springs were fitted to the rear damping, and front disc brakes made for swifter steering and better handling at higher speeds.

1965 mustang fastback
Image Editorial credit: luizsantanna / Shutterstock.com

Two Powerful Engine Options

The ’65 Mustang Fastback was not just optimized for sporty handling – it was immensely powerful with a strong overall driving performance. Powered by a standard 4.7-liter 8-cylinder engine, there was a power output of 225 horsepower and 305 lb-ft of torque. This engine was referred to as the 200.

If buyers wanted more power, they could put a Hi-PO V8 under the hood for 271 hp. This engine was called the 289. Either way, the engine was front-mounted with a four-speed manual transmission attached. Power was directed to the rear wheels with the RWD drivetrain in place.

The 1965 Ford Mustang Fastback was indeed fast, and it looked downright awesome. Its athletic prowess wowed audiences then and continues to impress them all these years later. The Fastback is a vehicle that a lot of folks like to restomod since this first-generation Mustang was mass-produced due to extreme popularity. There are still plenty of these vehicles around, so they make for fun restoration projects. Plus, the ’65 Mustang Fastback still retains its romantically wild, rugged American icon status – and that will certainly garner you some attention at a car show.

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Author: Jen Chichester

Jen Chichester is a freelance writer who grew up around classic cars. She holds a M.A. in English Literature and is currently working on her Ph.D. in Advanced Studies in Human Behavior. When she isn't working, she's hanging out with her twin boys and taking care of her cats and guinea pigs.

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