Are Classic Ford Mustangs Really Fast?



In 1965 a V-8 Mustang was one of the quicker cars from red light to red light and with a stick shift they could easily spin the wheels which gave the impression of being fast. But I had a 65 Valiant with a 1bbl slant six that could easily outrun all but a few V-8 Mustangs. The Valiant’s 0-60 time was measured on a calendar but eventually it would reach 100+ and only the rare Mustangs with the tall final drive could do that. And the OHC 6cylnder Firebird could embarrass Mustang owners in any heads up competition.

And most of the early Falcons had 144 or 177 cu in engines that had weak valve springs that seemed to have been intentionally used as a governor. The valves would float about 4000 rpms @Bing. Of course those engines used asthmatic carburetors also. The Mustange V-8 was a hot rod in comparison.


I had a 68 cougar with the small v8, If I recall correctly the speedometer only went to 120, I don’t know how fast I ever went but recall 120 probably wishful thinking.


I think it’s more like needing to double the horsepower. My 300 cc Kawasaki Ninja motorcycle with it’s alleged 39 horsepower can hit the 100 mph mark if you really crawl under the paint. It takes the most outrageous motorcycles made, with 200+ horsepower engines to double that speed. On the other hand, a '60s era 125 cc tiddler could easily go half the speed of my 300.


You’re probably right. I could easily find the 50% increase, one place had 100% increase needed to go from 120 to 150 mph.


Apparently it was governed to 155 MPH, a speed that it could achieve in 5th or 6th gear

Your car is governed to 147 MPH, but should be able to exceed it if the electronic limiter were to be disabled.

Ford had to make up for the horses they shorted 99/01 Cobra owners :slight_smile:


I am pretty sure none of the 1960/70 era Mustangs could do 150 mph from the factory They were geared for 1/4 mile acceleration and with only a 4 speed transmission w/o overdrive and engines that developed maximum HP at relatively low RPMs they just were not geared for top speed. More recent 5.0 Mustangs can definitely do 150 mph (they are computer limited to 155).


And modern Mustangs will beat the old ones in 0-60 and 1/4 miles contests, too. They also get better fuel economy and handle better.


Here’s an interesting site I found while looking up older cars 0-60 and 1/4 mile runs

They only have the Mach 1 for the 1969 model year Mustang with an auto transmission listed and it sits at 5.6 seconds 0-60 and 14.1 seconds 1/4 mile. Compare that to my GT with auto transmission and I’m a couple seconds quicker on both.

They even have a 1973 Civic listed on there. With a stick shift, that little 4cyl engine took 19.1 seconds to get to 60mph and 23.1 seconds to do the quarter mile


Had a 68 cougar, 302 it was fast enough. Really fast is not what I would say, buds 360 chevelle or buds GTO was really fast, at least after they got done burning rubber!


The Clipper Ships were fast!
Steamships were fast!
The Pony Express was fast!
The Steam Locomotives were fast!
The Spirit of St. Louis was fast!
The Constellation air liner was fast!
Classic Mustangs were fast! Classic fast.


I am a Ford guy, but but Pony cars from any Mfd. would have similar performance depending on the boxes checked on the order. I don’t have any performance figures but my gut instinct says a Firebird OHC 6 would out perform their six cylinder rivals.


The bottom line is that anything that old is not going to be fast by today’s standards. My boring old-man daily driver 2007 Acura TL is considerably faster than a 1965 Porsche 911. It will even keep up with a 1965 425hp Stingray, which is one of the fastest, if not the fastest, stock 0-60 cars produced in that year.

And the Acura is considered to be a slow car for its class.


I think you’d be right about the OHC 6:


You could also get the OHC engine in a LeMans. A friend owned a '67 4 door version (he had kids!) with the 4 barrel engine with a 4 speed manual.


Fast is relative.
The acceleration and top speed on those old cars was scary as heck given the level of technology. Steering precision, body roll, brakes… it’s an apples to oranges comparison IMO.


Also known as ‘the thrill is gone’…

A Tesla S is crazy fast, but not thrilling, I’d think.


Oh… I’m not sure about that…


Given that most speedometers have up to a 5% +/- accuracy, the following should be taken with a grain of salt. One of my neighbors and I took his car to watch the street racing at a rural street close to where we lived. He had a 1992 Mustang LX 5.0. At the time I think the only mod he had was an underdrive pulley for the A/C. When we got to the road the racing was going to be on he punched it, and from the passenger’s seat I saw 140mph on the speedo, in 4th gear. Don’t know how accurate his speedo was, and also remembered that given aerodynamics (or lack thereof) a lot of cars would actually have a higher top speed in 4th gear rather than in 5th gear due the engine falling below its peak horsepower rating.


Thanks, I needed a good laugh.

140 mph with 225 HP ain’t gonna happen.


I liked your comment but a little research shows top end for one of these 225 hp “beasts” as 145! :astonished: