Barn-Found 1968 Ford Mustang California Special Looks Stunning And Attracts Attention With Its Superb Color

Like most pony cars from the golden era, the Ford Mustang spawned a long list of high-performance and limited-edition models. The California Special is one of them, and this two-owner example might just be the finest survivor of its kind.

Also known as the GT/CS, the California Special was introduced in 1968 following requests from California-based Ford dealers, which were responsible for 20% of all Mustang sales.

The story goes that the GT/CS was ordered in response to new competition from the Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird. With the 1967 model year sales having dropped more than 20% compared to 1966, Ford was hoping that the California Special would become a hit and boost Mustang deliveries.

Designed in collaboration with Shelby Automotive, the GT/CS turned out to be a hybrid between the Mustang GT and the Shelby GT350. It left the assembly line with an assortment of fiberglass body panels, rectangular fog lamps integrated into the grille, side scoops, a rear spoiler, Thunderbird taillights, and side stripes. It was available in all standard Mustang colors and with all engine and transmission combinations.

The California Special wasn’t as popular as Ford had hoped, though. The company failed to meet the initial 5,000-unit production target, with only 4,188 cars built and sold between February and August 1968. But what was a disappointing number back then is now one of the reasons why the GT/CS is a rare and expensive classic.

And the fact that this example here has soldiered on into 2022 with no significant damage is downright amazing. Not to mention that it has also survived a whopping 36 years in storage without rust issues. The Lime Gold paint, which looks fantastic when paired with white stripes and a matching vinyl top, is the cherry on top.

This car was purchased by its second owner in 1986. It was tucked away in a Texas barn that same year and remained in storage until 2022. An unrestored survivor, the GT/CS did get a mild refresh under the shell to become road-worthy.

It now features a new fuel tank, carburetor, brake master cylinder, and battery, and it starts, drives, and brakes as it should. The Mustang still needs some work, including new lights and windshield, but the seller wanted to keep it as original as possible for the sale.

Speaking of originality, it’s fitted with a numbers-matching, 289-cubic-inch (4.7-liter) V8 of the C-Code variety. Paired to a three-speed manual gearbox, the mill delivered 195 horsepower when new. Granted, the 289-equipped CS cars aren’t as rare and desirable as the 390-cubic-inch (6.4-liter) and 428-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) Cobra Jet examples, but they’re not as expensive either.

While the latter can easily fetch more than $50,000 in Good condition, this survivor is being sold by eBay’s “dacmotorsports” for only $25,500. And the seller is also accepting offers, so the price might go down a bit. 

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