1968 vs 1969 Ford Mustang

1968 vs 1969 Ford Mustang

Last Updated February 5, 2020 | Sam Padgett

The 1968 and the 1969 Mustangs mark the middle of the first iteration of the Ford Mustang. While these two models are not as distinct as say a Fox Body and an SN95 are, the early Mustangs are full of small tweaks on the pony car formula, and a list of minor changes and additions that show the amount of care and attention put into refining the Mustang experience. Mustang scholarship is quite the deep hole to go into as we well know here at CJ Pony Parts, and we invite you to join us as we compare some of the most important consecutive Mustang generations out there.

1968 Mustang Exterior Characteristics

The 1968 Mustang is a model that you may not know that you know. In one of the most famous car chase scenes in cinema history, a green 1968 Mustang GT350 squares off against a Dodge Charger throughout the streets of San Francisco in the movie Bullit. Even though the Ford Mustang has continued to be a great on-camera personality, it was this specific model that firmly planted itself into the canon of screen-worthy vehicles.

Red 1968 Mustang

In the specific context, however, the 1968 Mustang is largely unchanged from the 1967 model. There are a select few differences though that the eagle-eyed Mustang enthusiast can spot. First off, the grille no longer featured the "Ford" name or the horizontal bars. Additionally, the "Mustang" fender badging changed from a more rigid style of block lettering to a more fluid, handwritten-styled script. The ‘68 Mustang also has remodeled hood scoops, gas caps, and steering wheels. Beyond that, sidelights were added to the 1968 Mustang in order to keep up with government regulations at the time.

Blue 1968 Mustang Grille

1969 Mustang Exterior Characteristics

As opposed to the 1968 Mustang, the 1969 model is a bit easier to differentiate through your eyes alone. There are several physical modifications to this model. First, the dual headlamps make quite a bright impression. Additionally, the traditional Mustang logo was replaced with the Tri-Bar logo.

There were some general body modifications made to the 1969 Mustang as well. The overall length grew by 3.8 inches and its curb weight increased by 40 pounds. 1969 Mustangs also had the option for a shaker hood scoop. All in all, the ‘69 Mustang had a much more aggressive stance. It’s larger size, additional set of headlights, and pointier curved grille make the 1969 model one of the tougher looking classic Mustangs made to this day.

1969 Mustang Convertible Exterior

A new piece of Mustang jargon also entered the scene with the 1969 model. One of the body styles that was sold for this model was called the SportsRoof. While there are no major differences between this and the fastback body style, Ford decided to use a new name in an attempt to increase sales. Regardless of the variation in names, both the 1968 and the 1969 Mustang came in a coupe style (fastback or sportsroof) and a convertible.

White 1969 Mustang Grille

Another one of the significant additions to the 1969 Mustang was the addition of several special edition Mustangs, including the Mach 1, the Boss 302 and Boss 429. Some of these special edition models came equipped with a 5.8-liter Windsor V8 engine. The theme with all of these models was performance, and each one came with the more powerful engines available on the Mustang platform at the time. Beyond those special editions were also a few more additions to the Mustang family, including the Mustang E, a Mustang built with fuel efficiency in mind, and the Mustang Grande, a Mustang designed to be luxurious with an upscale interior.

Red 1969 Mach 1 Mustang

1968 and 1969 Mustang Interior Characteristics

From the inside, however, there are a few things that really do set the 1968 Mustang apart. For starters, this is the first Mustang to offer both a three-point seat belt and an AM/FM radio, two things that from a modern perspective seem like a given. Continuing with this trend, the non-convertible ‘68 Mustangs also came with a rear window defroster. There was also a shock absorbing steering wheel, and door handles that were flush with the side of the Mustang. All in all, the additions to the '68 Mustang were more on the inside than on the outside.

1968 Mustang Convertible Interior

The interior of the 1969 Mustang has several changes as well. For one, the steering wheel was changed from a 2 spoke to a 3 spoke design. Additionally, the instrument cluster is recessed into the dashboard as opposed to having an external bezel like the 1968 Mustang.

1969 Mustang Convertible Interior

One quick way to tell the difference between these two Mustang models is to look at the grille. The Tri-Bar logo means that it is a 1969 Mustang, and the 1968 has the Pony emblem. While there are several other ways to tell these apart, this is the simplest way to be able to talk the Mustang talk.

Dimension 1968 Mustang 1969 Mustang
Length 183.6" 187.4"
Width 70.9" 71.3"
Height 51.6" 50.6"
Wheelbase 108" 108"
Leg Room 42" 42"
Curb Weight 2,798 lbs 2,833 lbs
Trunk Capacity 9.3 cu. ft. 9.8 cu. ft.

1968 and 1969 Mustang Engine Differences

There were plenty of engine options introduced these two years. New to the 1968 Mustang was the 302 cubic inch Windsor V8 engine. The 1968 Mustang also marked the introduction of the 428 Cobra Jet.

1968 Mustang Engines
Engine Letter Code Horsepower Torque Displacement
Standard 6-cyl T 120 hp 190 lb-ft 200 cubic inches
V8 C 200 hp 288 lb-ft 289 cubic inches
V8 J 235 hp 310 lb-ft 302 cubic inches
V8 X 280 hp 390 lb-ft 390 cubic inches
GT V8 S 335 hp 427 lb-ft 390 cubic inches
Cobra Jet V8 R 425 hp 480 lb-ft 428 cubic inches
High Performance V8 W 390 hp 460 lb-ft 200 cubic inches

The 1969 Mustang had its own selection of new and exciting engine options as well. The 429-cid Boss engine, a semi-hemi powerhouse was premiered on this model of Mustang. While this engine was quoted by Ford as having 375 horsepower, many believe this to be an underestimation. This engine was intended by Ford to be a Nascar engine, but in order to use it in competition, it had to be sold to the public first. It’s for that reason the horsepower of this engine is stated to be as low as it is, partially because a proto-Nascar engine certainly wouldn’t be street legal.

1969 Mustang Engines
Engine Letter Code Horsepower Torque Displacement
Standard 6-cyl T 120 hp 190 lb-ft 200 cubic inches
Boss 302V8 G 290 hp 290 lb-ft 302 cubic inches
V8 F 220 hp 310 lb-ft 302 cubic inches
V8 H 250 hp 355 lb-ft 351 cubic inches
V8 M 290 hp 385 lb-ft 351 cubic inches
Cobra Jet V8 Q 335 hp 440 lb-ft 428 cubic inches
Boss 429 V8 Z 375 hp 476 lb-ft 429 cubic inches
V8 S 320 hp 427 lb-ft 390 cubic inches
Cobra Jet V8 (with Ram Air) R 360 hp 440 lb-ft 428 cubic inches

Both the 1968 and the 1969 Mustang came with the option of a three or four-speed manual transmission and a three-speed automatic. The cruise-o-matic automatic transmission used on the Mustang was an early automatic transmission, hence its name which needs to draw attention to the fact that it is indeed an automatic. For most Mustang owners, the manual is the preferred option, and that preference is especially clear with the early models. This transmission was a bit difficult for some drivers since the seemingly default “D” gear started in second gear, causing many unaware automatic Mustang owners to shorten the life of their transmission.

1968 and 1969 Mustang Unique Colors

There are many colors shared between the 1968 and 1969 Mustang, but some of them are unique to each model. The names for Mustang color codes are always interesting, so reading them is quite a treat. If you want more in-depth information about the Mustang paint codes, we have compiled an extensive list of all of them by each model year. Regardless, here are some of the paint colors that are distinct to each respective model.

Colors Unique to 1968

  • Diamond Blue
  • Highland Green
  • Presidential Blue
  • Seafoam Green
  • Sunlit Gold
  • Tahoe Turquoise

Colors Unique to 1969

  • Aztec Aqua
  • Black Jade
  • Calypso Coral
  • Indian Fire Red
  • New Lime
  • Pastel Gray
  • Silver Jade
  • Winter Blue

Even though both of these Mustangs belong to the same generation, there are quite a lot of differences between them. The early days of the Mustang were full of experimentation since the name Mustang didn’t carry nearly as much weight as it does now. Unless you are going to want to restore a car for the complete sake of authenticity, either car can contend with each other in terms of performance. In regards to looks, however, the 1969 does have a notably more intense appearance while the 1968 conforms more to the idea of a truly classic Mustang. Regardless, both vehicles are definite classics, and really show why Pony Car has been such an automotive institution to reckon with.

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Sources: Ford | Thought Co. | Car and Driver | Mustangspecs

1968 vs 1969 Ford Mustang

The 1968 and the 1969 Mustang truly encapsulate the majesty of early pony cars. Their tough and classy exteriors are coupled by that classic automotive muscle that has made the Mustang a symbol of excellent American vehicles. In order to be a true Mustang scholar, read this guide to be able to differentiate these two early models from each other.