Briefly produced 1968 Mustang California Special coupe

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Just over 4,000 examples of the Mustang California Special were produced

Ford developed one of its first Mustang special editions by tapping into a vibrant California automotive market, as well as the pop culture emphasis on all things West Coast. 

The result was the 1968 Ford Mustang California Special, a cosmetic and options package developed by Shelby Automotive and based on Shelby’s famed GT500 concept car named Little Red

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The Special has a rear deck scoop and Thunderbird taillights

The Pick of the Day is a “very original” example of the California Special, of which just 4,118 were built for less than six months during the 1968 model year, most of them sold in their namesake state of California.  This one is finished in the classic combination for the package of Lime Gold with a Parchment vinyl roof and Ivy Gold interior.

“This is a numbers-matching example still equipped with its VIN stamped original engine,” according to the Irvine, California, dealer advertising the coupe on ClassicCars.com.  “Equipped from new with the J Code 302ci V8 with a 4bbl carburetor, a C4 Automatic transmission, power steering, power disc brakes, factory air-conditioning, AM radio, tinted glass, and the argent styled steel wheels.

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A 4-barrel 302cid V8 provides the power

 “The car comes with a deluxe Marti report, and the original owner warranty card. It is an excellent candidate to restore or to simply preserve and drive it as is.  It runs and drives very nicely and is solid example.”

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Although California Specials were developed alongside Carroll Shelby’s Mustang-based GT350 and GT500, they had very little in common with those iconic performance machines.  Still, they are rare and attractive variations of the basic factory Mustang and command a premium in the collector car market.

Among the special features of the GT/CS package were grille-mounted fog lights, hood pins, unique rear fiberglass decklid with spoiler and end caps, 1965 Thunderbird taillights, side scoops, side stripes, pop-open gas cap and California Special script lettering on its rear side panels.

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The interior looks to be in good condition

This car looks good in the gallery of photos with the ad. The photos also show the 5-digit odometer reading 6,805 miles, which is most likely inaccurate or a 100,000-mile-plus rollover.  The dealer makes no special mention in the listing of the mileage, which would be unusual indeed and definitely worth crowing about.

The asking price is $29,900, which seems like a fair deal for this piece of Mustang history.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

6 COMMENTS

  1. This is the same car that sold at Mecum Phoenix last March for $18,700. Looks like this dealer is ambitious in his asking price. Nice HPOF candidate, but to drive this car, it will need every inch touched. One to inspect in person for sure.

    • Yes, obviously a California dealer. Asking 30k for a 20k car is no surprise. I do remember these California special Mustangs. They were a "cute" option but, not a performance car at all.

      • I did see the car in person, studied it for a bit with the original intention of bidding on it. I saw it as a 15-17,000 car given that Nothing has been touched on the car. If you restore one part, welcome to an expensive rabbit hole. Will be a great car to study and preserve, but there was rust on it, and it was well worn.

        • Assume this car is still available since it still shows on line. Baird Ross comment is "right on". The only car I ever purchased w/o personal inspection was a classic about 5 years ago and it was guaranteed "rust free". Obviously the reason for my comment is that it did have rust when it arrived and the guarantee was not upheld. Never buy a car with rust as we all know it is a cancer and will soon need expensive body and paint work. I do not live on the West coast but thought California cars were usually rust free…….guess not. Also believe the car is way overpriced.

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