By 1968, the Mustang Sprint option was already a springtime tradition. The first Mustang Sprints appeared as six-cylinder models in the spring of 1966 during a mid-year "Millionth Mustang Success Sales" promotion, with the Sprint 200 Option Group adding a body-side tape stripe, chrome air cleaner with a "Sprint 200" decal, wire wheel covers, and console. For the spring of 1967, the Sports Sprint arrived with special pastel colors, a louvered hood, wheel covers, bright rocker panel moldings, and a chrome air cleaner lid. Offered on hardtops and convertibles only, the '67 Sports Sprint sold well; nearly 110,000 were built, according to Kevin Marti's book, Mustang...By the Numbers.
With minimal change to the '68 Mustang, Ford upped the ante for the '68 Sprint by offering two packages for its "See the Light Sale" in the spring of 1968. Sprint Package A was available for six-cylinder and V-8 models, adding C-shaped side stripes, wheel lip moldings, full wheel covers, and a pop-open gas cap. Package B was for V-8s only, utilizing the components from Package A but replacing the wheel covers with Styled Steel wheels and adding grille-mounted foglights.
With foglights, a C-stripe, and Styled Steel wheels, Sprint Package B was essentially a GT without the added cost of its mandatory four-barrel engine and heavy-duty suspension. Although the Package B Sprints didn't have the GT emblems on the fenders or center wheelcaps, the cars were often identified as GT models, a confusing situation that continues to this day.
Even with two packages, the '68 Sprint program wasn't nearly as successful as the previous '67 promotion. Mustang...By the Numbers reports that only 40,118 '68 Sprints were produced-25,012 Package A's and 15,106 Package B's. All but three were hardtops. Watch for the others: a Package A fastback and convertible, and a Package B fastback.
The Sprint shown here is a Package B hardtop owned by Tom and Loretta DeSchane from Bonita Springs, Florida. Already restored when they purchased it in 2000, the couple has re-restored the car for Antique Automobile Club of America shows and other competition. It has already won AACA Junior and Senior awards.
Originally sold by Smith Motor Company in Garden Grove, California, the Candyapple Red hardtop is well optioned for a Sprint. In addition to the $102 Sprint Package B, the invoice shows the 289 two-barrel engine, Select-Shift automatic, air conditioning, power steering, an AM radio, a deluxe steering wheel, Courtesy Light Group, bumper guards, and a heavy-duty suspension. It stickered for $3,970, a hefty price tag for a car that was supposed to be a low-buck version of a GT. At some point, several dealer accessories were added, including the dual exhaust, power brakes, and rear speaker.