1968 vs 1969 Ford Mustang

1968 vs 1969 Ford Mustang

Last Updated June 30, 2020 | Meghan Drummond
Contents

1969 marks one of several mid-generation refreshes for classic Ford Mustangs. The differences between the 1968 and 1969 Mustang include everything from changed exterior dimensions to new performance editions.

If you’re torn between a 1968 and 1969 Mustang, you can rest easy knowing either is a great choice. These two years are some of the most loved due to their impressive specs and modification opportunities.

Here’s how to tell the difference between them and how to decide which is for you.

A dark green 1968 Mustang

1968 vs 1969 Mustang Exteriors

The Mustang got progressively larger with each year of its first generation. 1969 signifies the real jump between the smaller first-gen Mustangs and the larger end-of-generation models. 1969 Mustangs are larger than 1968 Mustangs in every dimension except for two: The wheelbase stayed the same and the height was lowered.

1968 vs 1969 Mustang Exterior Dimensions
Dimension1968 Mustang1969 Mustang
Wheelbase 108 Inches 108 Inches
Length 183.6 Inches 187.4 Inches
Width 70.9 Inches 71.3 Inches
Height 51.6 Inches 50.5 Inches
Curb Weight 2,824-3,461 Pounds 2,855-3,549 Pounds

The Mustang’s side panels changed from concave to convex in 1969. This drastically affected the Mustang’s body lines and gave it a new look.

Two images, the top of a 1968 Mustang’s front, the bottom of a 1969 Mustang front

While the 1968 Mustang featured the same pony in a corral grille as previous years, the ‘69 changed to a more subdued pony and tri bar logo. This logo allowed more room for headlights. 1969 Mustangs were also offered with quad headlights, with one pair inside the grille and one pair outside. This fit with the other sporty options the 1969 Mustang offered.

Bright red 1969 Mustang frontview shows updated grille

Ford also modified the list of available colors to reflect the variety of available Mustangs.

1968 vs 1969 Mustang Color Availability
ColorCodeSample1968 Mustang1969 Mustang
Raven Black A
Royal Maroon B
Black Jade C
Acapulco Blue D
Aztec Aqua E
Gulfstream Aqua F
Lime Gold I
Wimbledon White M
Diamond Blue N
Seafoam Green O
Brittany Blue Q
Winter Blue P
Highland Green R
Champagne Gold S
Candyapple Red T
Tahoe Turquoise U
Meadowlark Yellow W
Presidential Blue X
Sunlit Gold Y
Indian Fire Red Y
New Lime 2
Calypso Coral 3
Silver Jade 4
Pebble Beige 6
Pastel Gray 6
Bright Yellow 9

1968 vs 1969 Mustang Interiors

1968 and 1969 Mustang Interior Dimensions
Dimension1968 Mustang1969 Mustang
Front Headroom 37.4 Inches 37.4 Inches
Front Legroom 42.0 Inches 41.1 Inches
Rear Headroom 35.8 Inches 35.8 Inches
Rear Legroom 27.0 Inches 29.5 Inches
Cargo Capacity 9.3 Cubic Feet (Hardtop)
6.8 Cubic Feet(Convertible)
5.6 Cubic Feet (Fastback)
9.8 Cubic Feet (Hardtop)
8.0 Cubic Feet (Convertible)
5.3 Cubic Feet (Fastback)

The interiors of 1968 and 1969 Mustangs were impacted substantially by the available options. Though the boring two-spoke steering wheel came on both ‘68 and ‘69 Mustangs, the 1969 had more choices. The ‘69 Mustangs’ Tilt-Away steering wheel had three spokes and honked when you squeezed it. A feature Ford called Rim-Blow.

Other interior changes were minor but added to overall comfort. 1968 Mustangs equipped with air conditioning had to deal with Ford’s “downspout” style AC. On the other hand, 1969 Mustangs had a more pleasing design that routed air in through kick panels. You also had the option of ventilation without AC in 1969. This was an affordable and practical option for most drivers.

1969 Mustangs also came with a foot-operated parking brake and an electric windshield washing system.

The trim and packages Mustang owners selected also significantly affected the interior and exterior features.

a 1968 and 1969 Mustang interior side by side

1968 vs 1969 Mustang Packages

Mustang GT

There were Mustang GTs in both 1968 and 1969. While today the GT is its own thing, in the ‘60s, the GT package could be added to any Mustang that had a V8. Listed as an option for people who knew they weren’t Sebring-bound but wanted to “live a little” the GT offered performance on a budget.

1968 and 1969 Mustang GT Features
Feature1968 Mustang GT1969 Mustang GT
Fog Lamps
Dual Exhaust
Heavy-Duty Suspension
Wide Oval Tires and Rims
GT Styled Steel Wheels
GT Flip-Open Gas Cap

Mustang Grande

In 1969, the Mustang Grande was introduced. This was designed to be the luxury Mustang. While it offered all of the deluxe interior features from higher-tier Mustangs, it had no performance upgrades.

The Mustang Grande included:

  • Sound Insulation Package
  • Soft-Ride Suspension
  • Luxury Cloth and Vinyl Seats
  • Molded Door Panels
  • Integral Arm Rests
  • Electric Clock
  • Rim-Blow Steering Wheel
  • Wire-Style Wheel Covers
  • Moldings for the Wheel Openings, Rear Deck, and Rocker Panels
  • Racing Style Side View Mirrors

1968 vs 1969 Mustang Engines

In general, the 1969 Mustang does have more engine options. In 1969, Ford offered the Shelby GT350, the Shelby GT500, the Mach 1, the Boss 302, and the Boss 429 Mustangs. These all had unique engines with the ability to purchase even more upgrades. The result? A lot of engine options!

A yellow 1969 Mach 1 Mustang

It’s hard to imagine anyone not ordering a Cobra Jet when given the chance. But the reality is that more than half of the Mustangs produced in these two years either came with the I6 or the 2V V8s.

One of the big reasons these two years are favored is that unlike early classic Mustangs, these are capable of supporting a big block V8. This makes them perfect candidates for an engine swap to make your own hot rod.

1968 and 1969 Mustang Engines
EngineCodeHorsepowerTorqueYears Available
289 CID I-6 C 195 hp @ 4,400 RPM 282 lb-ft @ 2,400 RPM 1965-1968
302 CID 2V V8 F 210 hp @ 4,600 RPM 300 lb-ft @ 2,800 RPM 1968-1973
Boss 302 4V V8 G 290 hp @ 5,800 RPM 290 lb-ft @ 2,600 RPM 1969-1970
351 CID 2V V8 H 250 hp @ 4,600 RPM 355 lb-ft @ 2,600 RPM 1969-1973
302 CID 4V V8 J 230 hp @ 4,800 RPM 310 lb-ft @ 2,800 RPM 1968
250 CID I-6 L 155 hp @ 4,000 RPM 240 lb-ft @ 2,600 RPM 1969-1973
351 CID 4V V8
(Shelby and Mach 1)
M 290 hp @ 4,800 RPM 385 lb-ft @ 3,200 RPM 1969-1971
428 CID 4V V8
(Cobra Jet W/O Hood Scoop)
Q 335 hp @ 5,200 RPM 440 lb-ft @ 3,400 lb-ft 1969-1971
428 CID 4V V8
(Cobra Jet W/Ram Air)
R 335 hp @ 5,200 RPM 440 lb-ft @ 3,400 RPM 1968-1970
390 CID 4V V8 S 320 hp @ 4,600 RPM 427 lb-ft @ 3,200 RPM 1967-1969
200 CID I-6 T 120 hp @ 4,400 RPM 190 lb-ft @ 2,400 RPM 1965-1969
427 CID 4V V8 W 390 hp @ 5,600 RPM 460 lb-ft @ 3,200 RPM 1968
390 CID 2V V8 X 280 hp @ 4,400 RPM 401 lb-ft @ 2,600 RPM 1968
Boss 429 4V V8 Z 375 hp @ 5,200 RPM 450 lb-ft @ 3,400 RPM 1969-1970

Performance 1968 and 1969 Mustangs

Mustang Mach 1

The Mach 1 Mustang was a performance-oriented package. It also came with some aesthetic upgrades and is generally regarded as a great looking Mustang. You could only get a fastback (or SportsRoof) body style.

The matte black hood is the most striking feature of the Mach 1. Many also got the optional Shaker hood scoop. This is often complemented by the (optional) chin spoilers, rear spoilers, and rear window louvers.

Though the Mach 1 is most often associated with a 351 Windsor V8, it could actually be upgraded to any of the performance V8s. If equipped with a big block V8, Mach 1s would also come with a strut tower brace, thicker sway bars, and heavy-duty suspension parts.

Unlike the Boss or Shelby Mustangs, Mach 1s were easy to buy. There were actually more Mach 1’s produced than standard fastbacks for 1969. 72,458 1969 Mach 1s were originally produced.

This has become an attainable dream car for many due to its high production numbers and sporty looks.

Bright Red Mach 1 Mustang being auctioned

Boss 302 and Boss 429 Mustangs

One of the major reasons for the Mustang’s total appearance makeover was a personnel change at Ford. When Bunkie Knudsen defected from GM to Ford, he brought Larry Shinoda with him.

Shinoda, a dedicated hotrodder, helped give the Mustang its sportier appearance. Shinoda’s major contributions to Mustang legacy would be the Boss 302 and Boss 429 Mustangs. These two Mustangs were only produced between 1969-1970. That was how long it took for Knudsen to get canned and for Shinoda to head out the door with him.

Despite only being in production for two years, the Boss Mustangs have risen to legend status.

1968 vs 1969 Shelby Mustangs

The GT350 and GT350R launched in 1965 along with the Mustang itself. Thanks to Carroll Shelby and drivers like Ken Miles, Shelby Mustangs lent the Mustang performance credentials. But after years of racing, Shelby was ready for a break. 1969 would be the last true year for Shelby Mustangs. Though technically there are 1970 Shelbys, they were just carryovers, built on ‘69 bodies.

The difference between ‘68 and ‘69 Shelbys is even more pronounced than on the Mustang. The entire face changed, and Shelby had less input in the design. Shelby ultimately terminated his relationship with Ford in the summer of 1969.

In general, the update wasn’t well-received. The iconic Le Mans stripes were gone, and the pinched face didn’t have the same appeal. It also didn’t handle the way the original Shelbys did. Peak Shelby performance was reached in 1968, with the GT500KR. The KR stood for the King of the Road, and it was designed to be the pinnacle of what Mustangs could be.

Equipped with a 428 Cobra Jet, the GT500KR went from 0-60 in 6.5 seconds. You can read more about the evolution of classic Shelby Mustangs for more details on how these changed over the years.

Special Edition Mustangs in 1968 and 1969

Special Edition Mustangs were made frequently in the early years. Though these special editions usually consisted of a few cosmetic upgrades, they’re unusual and interesting. This makes them great for people interested in Mustang history and shows.

Though we don’t know the production numbers for many of these, evidence suggests they were limited.

1968 and 1969 Mustang Special Editions
Special Edition19681969
Cardinal Edition Available N/A
California Special 4,100 Produced N/A
High Country Special 251 Produced N/A
Mustang Limited Edition 600 N/A 503
Rainbow of Colors 500 split between ‘68 and ‘69 500 split between ‘68 and ‘69
Mustang E N/A 50

Should You Buy a 1968 or 1969 Mustang?

Classic Mustangs look great, are perfect for restoration, and have plenty of options for collectors. There’s really no way to make a bad choice.

A bright blue 1968 Mustang convertible with white top

If you have your heart set on a Boss, Shelby, or other special edition, that may help narrow things down. Here are a few other pros and cons to consider.

1968 vs 1969 Mustang Pros and Cons
YearProsCons
1968 Mustangs Best Shelby Selection
Slightly More Popular
Easier to Find
Narrower Body
Fewer Performance Editions
1969 Mustangs Most Performance Editions
Mach 1, Boss, and Shelby Availability
Slightly Roomier
May be Harder to Find
Limited Availability on Many Special Editions

When looking specifically at 1968 and 1969 Mustangs, there aren’t many things one can do that the other can’t. Both are good candidates for V8 swaps, and either would be a great restoration project.

1968 vs 1969 Ford Mustang

There are a lot of differences between the 1968 and 1969 Mustangs. New limited editions, like the Boss Mustangs, were introduced, but all Mustangs saw changes to their physical dimensions, interior amenities, and performance options.