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1967 Mustang's First Wash in 20 Years Reveals Live Mice, Iconic 351 Cleveland V8 Muscle

April 17, 1964, New York. The event is the World Fair, and one crucial occurrence would take the world of Piston by a category seven hurricane. Alright, there’s no such thing – the highest rank for said meteorological cataclysms is a five. But for one carmaker, the launch of an all-new model in that spring would catapult its fame into the stratosphere. Enter the Ford Mustang – arguably the most famous American automobile in the world.
1967 Ford Mustang 351 V8 111 photos
Photo: YouTube/The Detail Geek
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Before I proceed, let me set one thing straight. When it premiered, the new ‘pony car’ (nicknamed after the galloping wild equine on its grille) was expected to sell around 100,000 units before the end of the model year. The new car was introduced in April, instead of the traditional September timetable, so the inaugural Mustang endured through an 18-month ‘model year.’

Ford’s top brass couldn’t have been more abruptly swept off their feet if an actual hurricane had hit the Dearborn headquarters when order began pouring for the Mustang. By the end of 1965 (the official first year for the Ford pony), around 680,000 units were assembled – nearly seven times over the initial predictions (hence the ‘category seven’ reference above).

The story of the nameplate is one debate among the brand’s fans: one version is that the car paid homage to the magnificent fighter plane of World War II, the North American Aviation P-51. Another tale is that one Ford high-ranking official (Robert J. Eggert, Ford Division market research manager) proposed the ‘Mustang,’ drawing inspiration from his own business of breeding quarter horses.

1967 Ford Mustang 351 V8
Photo: YouTube/The Detail Geek
(Side note: the term ‘quarter’ in the animal’s name strongly indicates its ability to outrun any other breed over short sprints – particularly quarter-mile races. Any resemblance with the later horsepower gatherings is definitely not a coincidence. After all, what’s a cowboy to do when he drops the reins and takes the wheel?)

Whichever the origin of the name, the emblem made it clear that Ford’s heart stood with the untamable spirit of the Wild West. The new car was just the right offer for the young buyers. FoMoCo was so passionately courting. The strategy paid off with dividends – no other model in the world is more closely associated with rebellious youth than the Ford Mustang.

Almost six decades after its launch, the emblematic Ford is unquestionably one of the most sought-after classics, and gearheads won’t turn their head away from any Mustang, regardless of its state. Covered in rust and with one cylinder bank in the crusher or immaculate survivor with undeniable originality – any Mustang will at least get a long look from a passer-by.

1967 Ford Mustang 351 V8
Photo: YouTube/The Detail Geek
Notably, the first-generation examples lure piston worshippers without any specific segregationally allegiant preference toward a specific model year. Some individual models are highly praised for their attributes – like a legendary FoMoCo V8 motor, a low production number, or a limited series run. But even plain run-off-the-mill Mustangs from the sixties will have a consistent and loyal pool of followers devoted to their brand of choice with all their hearts.

Don’t take my words for granted – play the video and see the reaction of this owner of a Candy Apple Red Mustang notchback from 1967 after his filthy 20-year-barn-stored car gets a spa treatment. A detailing job worthy of the legendary nameplate – the result deserves a standing ovation. After 16 hours of scrubbing, washing, rinsing, wiping, erasing, vacuuming, and whatnot, the splendid Mustang shines again like new.

Well, almost like new – the paint is not original (and not a tremendous accomplishment, too; see how the pressure washer takes away the flaking layers of color), but the car will go through a complete restoration soon. Before the deep-cleaning operation, the owner didn’t even touch the 351-cubic-inch V8 engine (the 5.8-liter Cleveland).

1967 Ford Mustang 351 V8
Photo: YouTube/The Detail Geek
And yes, I know: there is no such thing as a 1967 Ford Mustang with a factory-installed 351 Cleveland, mainly because the famous V8 became available in 1970. Nonetheless, it’s a good engine that goes well with the four-speed manual transmission of the car.

When it came out, this Mustang was optioned with one of the three versions of the small-block offered that year, the 289-cube V8 (Ford’s famous 4.7-liter). The motor was tuned to three output levels, from the two-barrel 200-hp ‘Challenger’ and the four-barrel 225-hp ‘Challenger Special’ to the High-Output Cobra and its 4-V 271-hp muscle. For the sake of all that's eight-cylinder, let's note that the big-block, the Thunderbird Special 390-CID (6.4 liters) turned out 320 horses, thanks to its four-barrel carb and dual exhaust.

1967 saw the first significant alteration in the Mustang design, with the car becoming longer, wider, and heavier to accommodate the big-block. This Mustang has had three owners (the current one included), but we don't learn when the 351 Cleveland V8 made its way under the hood.

1967 Ford Mustang 351 V8
Photo: YouTube/The Detail Geek
Regardless of the moment, this Mustang now sits on 300 hp (304 PS) and 380 lb-ft (515 Nm). It's a good thing the owner has a complete set of spare tires (and wheels, oddly mounted in perfect disharmony, as we can see in the video). The 5,699 (9,170 km) odometer is sure to knit some eyebrows, but the aftermarket 8,000-RPM tach obstrusively sitting atop the column might clear the air about the mileage dilemma.

But before he can put the car on the road, he will do something about the seats since the mice ate through all the foam inside them during the two-decade barn retirement. Two of those varmints were still in the car when filming (probably looking for something else to chew on).

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About the author: Razvan Calin
Razvan Calin profile photo

After nearly two decades in news television, Răzvan turned to a different medium. He’s been a field journalist, a TV producer, and a seafarer but found that he feels right at home among petrolheads.
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