Low-mileage, original classic Mustangs fascinate us because they're snapshots from history. They remain much the way they came from the factory. You can still feel and smell the newness.
Virginia's Mike and Patsy Murray are among the few who can appreciate the finer qualities of how classic Mustangs came from the factory. Their Mustangs aren't over-restored show cars, but instead they are documented and left-alone factory originals.
The Murray's 4,575-mile '65 Mustang hardtop is one of the borderline "'64 3/4" cars with a scheduled build date of 22H (22 August 1964), delivered new to the New York City sales district. By the time 5F07A270685 rolled off the Dearborn assembly line, some 20,000 '65 units had already been ordered and scheduled for production, yet there are still many '64 1/2 details in this car, such as carpeting that ends at the rocker panels, pedal pads without perimeter lines, AM radio with "All Transistor" lettering, center-off heater fan switch, clip-style door handles (used on '64 1/2 and early '65 Mustangs), unimproved hood with non-bevel headlight doors, and Eaton power steering pump.
So how does a 45-year-old Mustang survive with such low mileage? This one started out at Park Inn Ford in Valley Stream, New York, and spent its first years in northern New Jersey. Later, it migrated to Pennsylvania. In September of 1981, the original owner sold the hardtop to an eager buyer in New Jersey. A few months later, it showed up in the MCA's Mustang Times classifieds, priced at $12,000 with 2,829 miles showing. It sold quickly for $11,000 and was driven to its new home in Texas-that's where the other 1,700 miles came from.
This brings us to the Murrays, who bought the car in 2005. Mike admits being surprised at some of the things done to the car, such as a louvered belly pan and an aluminum strip across the radiator support. He removed both. When he examines maintenance receipts, he finds it ironic the Mustang passed so close to his home on its way to Texas in 1982. One receipt shows an oil change on March 27, 1982, with mileage at 4,537; only 38 miles have been added in the last 27 years.
The wonderfulness of this car is its simplicity. It has the optional 225-horse 289-4V, which calls for premium fuel thanks to a one-point boost in compression. Behind the 289 is a four-speed instead of a Cruise-O-Matic or three-on-the-floor. On the ground are power drum brakes surrounded by Dayton knock-off wire wheels. The color is Ivy Green Metallic, which was very popular at the time. Sit inside and you're surrounded by Palomino vinyl in the Mustang's most basic form. The '65-only Falcon-based instrument panel with its twin pod vitals and horizontal sweep speedometer fell short in a ride like the Mustang. But that's what it took to keep the Mustang's base sticker price at $2,368.
Base sticker this one isn't. Someone, either a dealer or the original owner, penciled out this Mustang with the 289-4V, four-speed, 3.50:1 gears, handling package, power drum brakes, Rally-Pac, Deluxe seat belts, two-speed wipers with washer, Accent Group (which deleted the rear-quarter chrome trim and added pin striping), tinted windows, Heavy Duty Autolite Sta-Ful battery, and Dayton wire wheels wrapped inside the factory Firestone Deluxe Champion tires. With these options, it makes you wonder how anyone has resisted driving this car through the years
Presently, Mike and Patsy own three unrestored '65 Mustangs, all of which have appeared in Mustang Monthly. All have received the Mustang Club of America's Platinum Award. Mike, a Ford service Senior Master Mechanic, has been an MCA Gold Card certified judge for six years. More recently, he began his fourth year as MCA Assistant National Head Judge for '65-'66 Mustangs. Between Mike and Patsy, they've owned more than 20 Mustangs, with undoubtedly more on the way.