The Specifications of a 1965 Ford Mustang

by John Stevens J.D.
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The 1965 model year proved to be a historic year for Ford, as the Mustang became the fastest selling new car in history, reaching 400,000 units in March. Aside from its low price, the Mustang's popularity was fueled by the consumer's ability to customize the car. Whether a consumer wanted a daily driver or a high-performance car, the Mustang could deliver.

Dimensions and Capacities

Although three different bodies were available with the 1965 Mustang, the hardtop, the convertible and the fastback, all three bodies were 181.6 inches in length, 51.1 inches in height, and 68.2 inches in width. The total wheel base for all three models was 108 inches. The hardtop weighed approximately 2,562 pounds. The fastback weighed 2,621 pounds and the convertible weighed the most at approximately 2,740 pounds. Each of the three models was equipped with a 16 gallon fuel tank. Oil capacity depended on the size of the engine, with the six-cylinder containing 4.5 quarts and the eight-cylinder holding five quarts. Luggage volume also varied by model, with the hardtop capable of storing nine cubic feet, the convertible storing 7.7 cubic feet and the fastback storing only five.


The 1965 Mustang was available with two different engines, the 200 and the 289, although the 289 was available with three different power ratings. The 200 cubic inch six cylinder was standard equipment, and produced 120 horsepower. The 289 cubic inch V-8 engine was available with either 200 horsepower, called the "Challenger," 225 horsepower, called the "Challenger Special," or with 271 horsepower, called the "Challenger High Performance." The differences in power were primarily due to the compression ratio and the carburetor. The Challenger used a two-barrel carburetor and a compression ratio of 9.3:1. Both the Challenger Special and the Challenger High Performance featured a four-barrel carburetor, but the former featured a compression ratio of 10:1 and the later featured a compression ratio of 10.5:1. Unlike the other 289s, the Challenger High Performance was equipped with solid lifters and exhaust headers, rather than hydraulic lifters and exhaust manifolds.


Four different transmissions were available with the 1965 Mustang. A 3-speed manual transmission was standard equipment for the six cylinder engine, and featured a floor-mounted shifter with a standard "H" pattern. A stronger 3-speed manual transmission was standard equipment with the Challenger and Challenger Special engines. A 4-speed manual transmission was also available as optional equipment. All engines, with the exception of the Challenger High Performance, were available with a 3-speed automatic transmission, called the "Cruise-O-Matic," which featured a floor-mounted "T-bar" handle. The 4-speed manual transmission was the only transmission available with the Challenger High Performance engine.


All 1965 Mustang's were equipped with the same suspension, including the GT mustang. The front suspension consisted of an angle-poised ball-joint type suspension with coil springs mounted on a pair of upper arms. The lower arms were strut-stabilized arms. Finally, each 1965 Mustang was equipped with a rubber-bushed ride stabilizer bar, sometimes referred to as a sway bar. The rear suspension consisted of a pair of leaf springs and two diagonally mounted shock absorbers. Each leaf spring was equipped with four leafs and two rubber-bushed mounts.

Wheels and Tires

Standard wheels for the 1965 Mustang measured 13 inches in diameter and had a total bead width of 4.5 inches. Six-cylinder models used a four-lug pattern, while Mustangs equipped with an eight-cylinder engine used a five-lug pattern. All standard Mustangs were equipped with the same wheel cover. Five different wheel covers were optional equipment. As optional equipment, the Mustang was available with 14 and 15 inch wheels.

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