The fairly major redesign in 1967 meant that there were few major changes for the 1968 Mustang. Though the two are similar, new safety features, paint colors, and aesthetic revisions were added for the new model.
1967 vs 1968 Mustang Exterior
One of the easiest ways to distinguish the 1967 and 1968 model year Mustangs is by looking at the side scoops. Whereas the 1967 side scoops featured two vents on each side, with horizontal bars across them, the 1968 model opted for sleeker, more modern vents that are much more narrow and feature vertical bars.
The side scoops for 1968 (shown left), were more subtle, sleek, and vertical than those in 1967 (right)
Another safety feature that made its way to the 1968’s exterior were front and rear side markers or reflectors. The large, red marker on each side of the rear is especially noticeable.
In part because the Mustang was truly evolving into its own brand by this point in time, the “FORD” lettering from the front of the hood was removed for the 1968 model year. On the fender emblems, the font of the word “Mustang” was changed from block letters to script. As the final, noticeable difference, the grille was also changed for 1968. The horizontal bar was removed and the pony emblem was made slightly smaller.
The now-coveted regional variant known as the California Special was launched in 1968 for the Golden State in a limited run, as the state of California contributed to 20% of total Mustang sales. The package didn’t upgrade performance but brought a host of exterior upgrades including 1965 Thunderbird taillights, hood pins, and side stripes with a GT/CS logo. Some of these units were re-branded as the “High Country Special” and sold in Denver, Colorado.
Only a handful of paint colors were carried over from 1967 to 1968. New exterior colors for 1968 included Highland Green, made famous by the fastback that Steve McQueen drove in the movie Bullitt. It essentially replaced the Dark Moss Green of 1967 (Though made popular in the movie Bullitt, Ford wouldn’t offer a Bullitt edition until 50 years later in 2008).
Arcadian Blue, Springtime Yellow, Clearwater Aqua, Vintage Burgundy, Burnt Amber, and Nightmist Blue were not available after 1967.
Diamond Blue, Meadowlark Yellow, Tahoe Turquoise, Royal Maroon, Sunlit Gold, and Presidential Blue more or less replaced these discontinued colors respectively.
Silver Frost, Frost Turquoise, Sauterne Gold, and Beige Mist were dropped in 1967 as well. Gulfstream Aqua and Seafoam Green were added in 1968.
1967 vs 1968 Mustang Interior
The Pony interior package, which included embossed horses on the seats, was discontinued after 1967 in favor of the Deluxe interior package. The wood-grained trim of the 1968 model meant that the brushed stainless steel interior accents and seat back shell trim of 1967 were no longer available. For 1968 non-convertibles, the option of a rear window defogger was made available.
1967 Mustang Interior
1968 Mustang Interior
Several new safety features were added for the 1968. Most notably, three-point safety belts were made standard. Additionally, due to government safety regulations, the 1968 Mustang added an energy-absorbing steering column. Also added for safety were easier-to-use interior door handles and front seat backs that were latched to prevent them from flying forward in a crash.
1967 vs 1968 Mustang Engine and Driving
The 1968 model introduced the veritable 230 hp, 302 cubic inch 4.9 liter Windsor small block V8, which would soon lead to the creation of the Boss 302 engine in 1969. This engine replaced the 289 hp, 4.7 liter V8 that was used since the Mustang’s inception.
302 4.9 Liter V8 Engine
1968 also saw the addition of the massive 7.0 liter 428 Cobra Jet V8, available as an engine option that could essentially turn the Mustang into a 335 hp street-legal drag racer with 440 lb-ft of torque.
No matter which of these two iconic models you’re interested, you’re looking at a true piece of American history and some of the most highly-prized Mustang model years of all time.