What Is the Mustang Player's Special Edition?Last Updated August 8, 2023 | Andrew Boyle
File this one under "it could only happen in the ‘60s" — the Player's Special Edition Mustang was a special collaboration between Ford and the John Player and Sons tobacco company. Given away exclusively on the Canadian market starting in 1965, the Player's Special Edition Mustang featured a unique two-tone paint in blue and white to match the Player's cigarette package. The contest was an apparent success, as it ran for an additional three years in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta.
Aside from the unique paint job, there's little to distinguish the Player's Special Mustang from others of its generation. The cars were all six cylinders, 200ci hardtops outfitted with wheel covers and an AM radio. As many as one a week were given away while the contest ran — one memorable ad shows Des Orton, Windsor sales representative for Imperial Tobacco (the parent company of Player and Sons), handing over the keys to contest winner Jack Idler of Riverside, Ontario. Production of the Player's Special Mustang varied from year to year and province to province — in Ontario in 1965, the contest ran for 15 weeks, with one car each week being given away.
While a car known for performance and sport wouldn’t be associated with a cigarette company today, the ‘60s were different. One of the reasons why the Mustang continued to be a success after its initial launch was Ford's aggressive push into regional markets. From 1966 to 1970, a number of special editions were launched throughout the country, including the iconic California Special in 1968. Offering the exclusive Player's Special Edition to Canadian drivers may have been a way for Ford to build the Mustang's brand north of the border. That it chose to partner with a cigarette company is perhaps more indicative of the prestige both industries shared at the time.
The Player's Special Mustang is a unique footnote in the car's early history — it's unknown how many, if any, of the cars that were given away in the ‘60s, are still in existence today.
Image Credit: Mustang Attitude