Andy’s Mustang buyer’s guide

Andy’s Mustang buyer’s guide

My advice to rookie collector car buyers who want American: Start with a Mustang

One of the most frequent questions I get, either by email or while giving one of my auction tours, is what is the best choice for a first classic car?

Well, if you are into American cars, my first, second and third suggestion is the Ford Mustangs.

The reason for this is threefold. First the Mustang is an absolute icon, an American car that has been produced constantly, with no year gaps, since the 1964 model year. It good times and bad, there has always been a Mustang.

Second, there are Mustangs for every budget. If you have anything between $1,500 to $1.5 million, there is a Mustang to fit the bill.

Third, the Mustang club and show scene is unbelievable in its depth and breadth. Wether your Mustang is a Shelby, a Fox body, or even the much ignored Mustang II, there is a club scene for everyone, and at a Mustang show all are welcome.

Those are good reasons to choose this American icon and I have owned a few myself over the years.

The followup question is: Which Mustang?

That answer is determined by your budget. To help with the choice, here are my top picks at different levels, followed by what I feel is the absolute best Mustang deal out there.

$2,500-$5,000: Fox-body cars, or for those with a certain form of nostalgic longing, the Mustang II

Both of these versions of the Mustang can be purchased within this entry-level price range. My picks would be a Fox-body GT or a Mustang II Cobra II.

$7,500-$15,000: 1965-1966 Mustang 6-cylinder notchback

No ,it doesn’t have a V8 but a vintage 6 cylinder coupe is the perfect Saturday cruise-night classic for such a budget. I saw three immaculate examples at the Hershey Swap Meet last year for less than $10,000. An excellent deal if you don’t need blistering performance.

$15,000-$20,000: Any 1971-73 Mach 1

These are the last Mustangs before the launch of the Mustang II and while not as iconic as the 1960s cars, they offer a ton of Mustang for the money and a lot of luxury items that were rare in earlier ponies. They are also the most extreme fastback styling exercise ever designed for the Mustang.

$25,000-50,000: 1965-1966 Mustang GT

1965 Mustang convertible

The GT is the top-of-the-heap classic Mustang that is still generally affordable. These cars offer performance to go with the looks. However, cars at this price level must be matching numbers examples.

$60,000-$75,000: 1969-1970 Boss 302

The Boss 302 is an amazing car, with epic racing pedigree and the best-balanced classic Mustang performance car out there. These are like the Porsche 944 of Mustangs, with fantastic handling and plenty of power.

Over $100,000: 1965 Shelby GT350

To me this is the top of the heap for street Mustangs. This is the icon that really helped grow the Shelby brand to what it is today. With production limited to only 562 cars, the ’65 GT350 will always be valuable. The prices have continued to rise in recent years and are likely to continue to do so.

Smart Buy: A 1965 Shelby GT350 clone or tribute car

These cars look like a real GT350, drive like a real GT350, and are mistaken for real GT350s all the time. These cars are often built with excellent reproductions of every single part that made the actual Shelby cars the performers they were. They can be bought for as little as $35,000. I saw an example at Bonhams Amelia Island auction this year that was absolutely perfect in every way that sold for only $51.520.

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4 Comments

  • Tom
    April 17, 2018, 3:12 PM

    Very useful but simplified article.
    What about K models and the extra value of convertibles and fastballs in the series one production? Also ‘69 and ‘70 Mach 1’s and their various power train options….just to name a few
    Tom

    REPLY
    • Joe B.@Tom
      April 18, 2018, 5:26 AM

      54 years after gazing at the birth of an Icon as a teen, I went in a slightly different direction. A new ’17 V6 takes me back and forward at the same time.

      REPLY
  • James McIntire
    April 18, 2018, 9:04 AM

    The Fox body 5.0 is no longer a sub-$5000 car. I’ve seen really nice GT’s of the 87-93 era going for as much as $15-20k in the past few years. That’s just a GT, not the 1993 Cobra or any of the other special editions. Every once in a while, a low-option automatic LX 5.0 that doesn’t appear to be too badly abused will come up in the $5-10k price range. If you want something for under $5k, be prepared to put a ton of work into the car before you can even drive it!
    I like the Mustang II, but to find one with a 302 that’s worth buying is very rare. Plus parts for them just are not available anywhere.

    REPLY
  • JACK
    April 18, 2018, 9:04 AM

    YOUR ARTICLE WILL MAKE THE NOVICE THINK THERE IS SUCH A THING AS A 64 MUSTANG?? WHEN THE EARLIST OF MUSTANGS ARE TITLED AS 65’s..

    REPLY

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