The 1969 model year is often seen as one of the high water marks for the Mustang — Ford offered no less than six high-performance variants of its signature pony car including the very first Mach 1. One interesting footnote to this memorable time in pony car history is the Mustang E. Limited to just 50 models, the Mustang E represented a more fuel-efficient take on the pony car, foreshadowing the direction the brand would follow in the early ‘70s.
Mustang E Specifications
The Mustang E is one of the rare early Mustangs known more for its fuel-efficiency than its performance. Signifying “economy,” the Mustang E was meant as a high MPG alternative to its gas-guzzling brethren. In a way, its existence was in keeping with Ford’s “something for everyone” approach to marketing the Mustang in the late ‘60s — the same era that spawned the launch of countless regional special editions in markets throughout the country.
Offering a fuel-conscious Mustang seems like a natural extension of this strategy, although Ford kept its expectations for the Mustang E low, producing only 50 units. Available only as a fastback, the Mustang E featured a 250 ci six-cylinder engine, a high-stall torque converter and a rear axle with a 2.33:1 ratio. To further reduce the car’s fuel consumption, air conditioning was not available. In addition to the changes under the hood, the Mustang E can be identified by the unique badging on its rear fenders.
A Vision of Things to Come
The 1969 Mustang E is remarkable not only for its rarity, but also for the way it anticipated by more than four years the consumer trends that would make the Mustang II such a success. Although it’s rarely mentioned in pony car circles, the 1973 launch of the smaller, more efficient Mustang II was actually one of Ford’s biggest successes in years. Offering a sporty alternative to the imports that were gaining in popularity among cost-conscious consumers proved worthwhile. In fact, the Mustang E can be seen as a direct ancestor of the popular 1975 Mustang MPG, another attempt to market Ford’s famous pony car as a fuel-friendly choice.