If you're a Mustang fan, you already know what the GT/CS stands for
on the C-scoop of this 1968 Ford Mustang GT coupe. No, it's not
Carroll Shelby, although his influence can be seen throughout the
car; it stands for "California Special," and indicates a series of
special models for the west coast. Today the CS is a prized
possession, and this one packs enough surprises under the skin to
make it a genuine threat to today's best performers.
The inspiration for the California Special did indeed come from Shelby, whose "Little Red" coupe was the CS's immediate predecessor. Shelby was studying the feasibility of a Shelby coupe, and when Ford assumed production of Shelbys in 1968, building the California Special was easy. Farmed out to A.O. Smith, the Specials used Shelby rear clips, including the fiberglass trunk lid with integral spoiler and those 1965 Thunderbird taillights. They also got special badging, decals, and stripes, a custom gas cap, and a Shelby-style blacked-out grille without a running pony and fitted with Marchal fog lamps. So it's easy to see why someone might mistake this for a Shelby. Fortunately, this one is the real deal and has been very nicely restored with an eye towards making it authentic, so no modifications were permitted. Finish quality is excellent, with Wimbledon White paint and contrasting red stripes, plus arrow-straight bodywork underneath. The chrome has been restored and all the special California details are still intact.
The interior is pretty standard Mustang fare, with bucket seats, a deluxe steering wheel, and a long list of available options so you could dress up your California Special any way you wanted. This one is pretty basic, offering an aftermarket A/C unit under the dash that still blows ice cold, a tach strapped to the steering column, and an AM/FM/CD stereo system hidden in the glove box. The upholstery is all new, so it looks fresh and is quite comfortable, and yes, code 2D Dark Red is this car's original interior choice. The details are excellent, with just the right texture on the seats, plush carpets with matching embroidered mats, and nicely finished door panels that look almost new. The back seat is untouched and the trunk is correctly outfitted with a plaid mat and spare tire with cover, and you'll note that the battery has been relocated (we'll get to that in a moment).
Under the hood you'll find a correct 289 cubic inch V8, which was the base engine in the GT. However, you'll quickly spot the big "doghouse" intake box over the 4-barrel carburetor, which is part of the supercharger system that makes this small block feel a lot bigger out on the road. A Paxton Novi 2000 supercharger is a big step up from the ancient Paxtons used in the '60s but it's a nice link to tradition and works ever so much better. It's also got an upgraded intake manifold to handle the additional flow and long-tube headers and a Flowmaster dual exhaust system to give it an awesome V8 bark. Some polished aluminum pieces and Ford Blue paint look suitably hi-po and with the blower, the 3-speed automatic transmission is hardly a handicap, snapping through the gears without hesitation. Out back, 2.79 gears make it a superlative highway cruiser and modern components in the A/C system mean this is a car you can drive coast-to-coast. Standard chrome GT wheels are part of the CS package and carry 205/70/14 BFGoodrich T/A radials all around.
A very rare find with some very clever modifications, this California Special is faster and rarer than any Shelby and still costs less. Call today!