What Is A California Special Mustang?

What Is A California Special Mustang?

Last Updated August 4, 2019

The remarkable popularity of the Ford Mustang has led to the production of special-edition models, many of which have become favorites of Mustang collectors and enthusiasts. One of the earlier special-edition Mustangs was the California Special, which was based on a Shelby GT500 prototype known as “Little Red.”

Released in 1968, only about 4,100 California Special Mustangs were produced. As one might surmise from the name, this limited-edition Mustang was geared toward the California market and was originally made available only to select Ford dealers within two specific California sales districts. The actual model name was GT/CS, with the latter two initials standing for “California Special.”

California Special Features

California Special Mustang

The GT/CS was available in a variety of engine sizes, although most models were equipped with a small-block 289. Other features included non-sequential 1965 Thunderbird taillights, twist-type hood pins, side scoops and a rear spoiler decklid with endcaps.

Another distinctive styling touch was the side stripes featuring a die-cut GT/CS logo. While the California Special was available in all the standard Mustang colors, the only color options for the side stripes were red, white, black and metallic medium blue.

GT/CS Eventually Solid in Other States

Eventually some California Specials were distributed to dealers in other western states and Canada. Those sold in the Denver, CO area were renamed to “High Country Special.”

Production of the original GT/CS ended in July of 1968. Ford decided to pay tribute to the vehicle by introducing an updated California Special Mustang package that was available from 2007-2009, from 2011-2014, 2016-2017 and now as a 2019 California Special as well.

Image Credit: Mecum Auctions

What Is A California Special Mustang?

Many special-edition Mustang models have become favorites of Mustang collectors. One of the earlier special-editions models was the California Special Mustang which was first produced in 1968 for only select Ford dealers in California. Ford has started to pay tribute to the GT/CS with recent models as well, including 2019's Mustang.

Related Resources

Mustang Rear Gear Ratios OverviewMustang Rear Gear Ratios Overview

Gear ratios dictate how quickly your car will accelerate from a mechanical standpoint. Rear gears can also affect things like gas mileage, automatic transmission shift points, RPM when cruising down the highway and what gear you’re in when crossing the 1/4 mile traps at the dragstrip. All of these factors go into finding the right gears to make your Mustang the most enjoyable to drive. Whether you’re attempting the installation on your own, or having a professional do the work for you, be sure to do your homework to ensure you get the right set of rear gears the first time.

Mustang VIN DecoderMustang VIN Decoder

Almost everyone has at least written down or seen the VIN number to their Mustang at least once. Whether it was on the Bill of Sale or on the paperwork when you signed the title and adjoining paperwork from the dealership. However, each VIN number means something when you boil it down to each particular character. Since 1979, the Federal Government mandated how VINs should be regulated and modeled off a particular template. You’ll be able to find your 1981-2019 Mustang’s VIN info right here in CJ’s Resource Center.

History of the 1960's MustangHistory of the 1960's Mustang

Ever wanted to know the history of the Ford Mustang from the beginning? Then this article is for you as it will explain who was responsible for designing the Mustang, where it first debuted, all of the changes it went through in its first years and how wildly popular it was.

What Is NMRA?What Is NMRA?

If you’re a Mustang enthusiast, odds have it that you’ve heard of the National Mustang Racers Association or “NMRA” for short. This association hosts a tour of drag race events all across the country every year. Starting in Bredenton, Florida in March and ending in Bowling Green, Kentucky in September. Hundreds of racers travel this tour across the country in order to compete in specific classes all circled around the quarter-mile dragstrip.