Of the three Mustang body styles that tempted showroom buyers throughout the '60s, the practical hardtop was an obvious choice for the mainstream public. Actually, any of the three body styles were fairly economical-both from a price and a maintenance standpoint, but the hardtop was alone in its ability to offer a decent-sized trunk, good visibility, and an all-weather top in one package. Recognizing the need to appeal to the masses, Ford's advertising generally portrayed hardtops in plain-Jane attire, emphasizing the Mustang's trendy appeal, even when sparsely equipped. In fact, those ads were rather true to life, as a high majority of the 2 million hardtops built during the '65-'73 era were fairly basic rides.
Jerry Walker's '67 GT is a bit different from the picture we've just painted. It breaks the mold that most hardtops were poured into, because it's a loaded-luxury, performance car. Well-equipped Ponies such as this make us want to know more about the story-more about the original owners and why they chose this particular Pony. We wonder about the possibility of a dealer's demo, but unfortunately, these mysteries are seldom uncovered. All Jerry knows for sure is that the original owner purchased the hardtop at Anaheim, California's, McCoy Ford and enjoyed it for the better part of 20 years.
Whoever was the first owner definitely checked off some of the best options available. The GT package is clearly visible, whose best attribute beyond great cosmetics are the mandatory power front discs. Quad exhaust tips announce the presence of a four-barrel powerplant-in this case, the newly introduced 320-horse 390 GT. The engine was rebuilt to stock specs by Kirby Automotive, with the sole exception of a stealthy Pertronix electronic ignition. The requisite California-emissions equipment is present and accounted for and combines with the power steering and air conditioning for a full-up engine compartment. Once inside, the Interior Decor Group and floor console provide plenty of flair, while the four-speed shifter simply begs for a gear-bangin' good time. Should the driver fall to such temptation, a 140-mph speedometer/ 8,000-rpm tachometer combo assures the big FE won't bury the gauges. Jerry believes the unusual instrumentation is a dealer-installed item.
When Jerry acquired the car as the third owner in 1990, the California sun had done a number on all the soft trim, despite the factory-tinted windows. The good news was, the most important part-the body-was straight and rust-free. The few dents and dings were smoothed by Atomic Autobody in Richland, Washington, before the DuPont basecoat/clearcoat in the original Acapulco Blue was applied.
Throughout the restoration, Jerry found it hard to resist making a good thing even better. That philosophy accounts for a smattering of owner-added factory options, such as the AM/FM radio, Comfortweave upholstery, Deluxe steering wheel, Tilt-Away column, Styled Steel wheels, and ribbed rear grille. The grille is a seldom-seen piece, which could be obtained only when the Exterior Decor Group was specified, as it was on Jerry's car. This appealing option added the louvered turn-signal hood, the chrome trunk and wheelwell trim, and pop-open gas cap.
While Jerry is an experienced Mustang enthusiast, this GT was his first full-on restoration effort. Help from friend Bob Keenan and brothers Dave, Tom, and Bill was more than welcomed and came in the form of both encouragement and actual participation. It's been said that many hands make light work, but we know better on this one; in fact, Jerry spent nearly 10 years of off-and-on work getting the '67 to its current condition. The result speaks for itself and reminds us that whether bare bones or fully loaded, the Mustang hardtop is the definitive ponycar.