A number of us Mustang owners wonder about the history of our Ponies-where it's traveled, what happened along the way, who's been in its seats. We can piece some things together using the vehicle's registration and information from the previous owners. Bill Norman of Graham, Washington, knows every detail of his California Special. You see, Bill is the original owner of this '68 GT/CS.
In April 1968, Bill drove his '65 three-speed six-cylinder to the Haywood Ford Dealership in California. On display that day was a red California Special. Since Bill was not partial to Red, the salesperson took him to the back lot where there was a sea of new Mustangs ready for purchase. Sticking out just a few feet more than the others was the nose of an Acapulco Blue California Special. "It was wet from just being washed and the salesperson said it had just been taken off the showroom floor to rotate the color of the display car." Bill wanted a tachometer for the Mustang, but did not appreciate the look of a Rally-Pac. Ford's newer hood tachometer was ordered and installed by a dealership in Salinas, California.
Being in the Military, Bill traveled back and forth between Washington, Colorado, and Texas. On one trip Bill said he got pulled over by a Texas State Patrol. He asked what he did wrong and the officer replied, "Not a thing. I have never seen a car like this. I recognize the Mustang look, but I didn't think it was a Mustang." The conversation went on for a good half hour until the officer was pulled away by a call.
When Bill retired from the Military in 1982, the Special was still his daily driver and needed restoration. He took it to the Mustang Ranch in Eatonville, Washington, where it was restored to show quality. Now the car is housed at the Mustang Ranch and is driven to shows all over the United States on the weekends.
California Specials came stock with a blacked out grille, Lucas fog lights, fiberglass side scoops, a fiberglass rear decklid, Shelby taillights, and that famous white stripe down the center with GT/CS cut out over the side scoops. With standard blue bucket seats, this Pony is a comfort on the road. The Acapulco Blue California Special packs a powerful punch with a 302 4V under the hood. Pulling power through that punch is a standard C-4 transmission backed up by an 8-inch rearend with 3.25.1 open gears.
With 407,000 miles and counting, Bill is taking the car to Indiana this year, then Virginia to visit friends and hopefully a few car shows along the way. So, if you're driving down an interstate somewhere and see an Acapulco Blue GT/CS, wave to the driver; it might be Bill.