1968 Ford Mustang – The Improved Pony Car
The Ford Mustang underwent its first major redesign for 1968, just four years after the original pony car took America by storm. Ford aimed to keep the car fresh and competitive against enhanced rivals like the new Chevrolet Camaro. The 1968 update brought key improvements in styling, performance and handling while retaining the Mustang’s essential muscle car character. Even as tastes moved toward more aggressive machines, the ’68 Mustang represented a refinement and evolution of the seminal pony.
Fresh and Athletic New Bodywork
The ’68 Mustang replaced the original’s clean lines with a more chiseled, aggressive appearance. Prominent body creases modernized the exterior profile while enhancing visual muscle. Larger grille openings and recessed headlights added visual punch. The fastback roofline gave the hardtop and new SportsRoof models a sleeker stance. Enlarged rear quarter glass improved visibility. While sportier in flavor, the ’68 body retained enough continuity to stay familiar as a Mustang.
More Powerful Engine Choices
More powerful V8s topped the ’68 Mustang engine roster, appealing to buyers craving acceleration. The 390-cube FE V8 churned out 325 horsepower, while the 428 Cobra Jet delivered 335 horsepower to shatter previous Mustang output records. Even the entry-level 200-cube straight-six saw a boost to 120 horsepower. Horsepower and torque were up across the board, ensuring every ’68 Mustang delivered brisk performance – V8 or not. Ford had evolved the lineup for power-hungry customers.
Improved Ride and Handling
Chassis refinements aimed to tame the early Mustang’s lively rear-drive handling while improving ride quality. The wheelbase stretched 3 inches for a smoother gait over bumps and highway cruising. Upgraded suspension geometry delivered more precise steering response and inspired confidence when pushed hard into corners. Optional front disc brakes finally arrived to improve stopping power. While racy, the ’68 Mustang also excelled as an all-around daily driver.
The ’68 Mustang line diversified to satisfy more tastes. The elegant 2+2 Fastback joined the notchback and convertible bodies. The new mid-range GT package combined comfort and performance upgrades. Luxury-themed Grande models catered to buyers wanting a dash of opulence. Special variants like the California Special, High Country Special and hardtop-convertible Skyliner broadened choices. Yet performance stayed central – the mighty 428 Cobra Jet became a defining ’68 Mustang model.
A Pony Car for Changing Times
The Mustang’s sales dominance faded as the pony car segment turned more competitive in the late 1960s. But by thoughtfully evolving the DNA of the original, Ford ensured the 1968 Mustang remained relevant to performance fans. It had matured from a carefree cruiser to a capable sports machine reflecting shifting buyer priorities. The ’68 Mustang served as a bridge between the original “fun car” concept and the more aggressive muscle Mustangs soon to come.
Collectible 60s Muscle
Today the 1968 Mustangs are cherished for their balance of classic pony car character and late-’60s muscle. The performance variants like the Cobra Jet fastbacks and GT convertibles stand out as especially desirable. Beautiful yet muscular styling encapsulates the final golden era of 1960s American automotive exuberance before tightening emissions regulations arrived. For Mustang and muscle car enthusiasts, the improved yet recognizable 1968s hold special appeal.