Unleashing the Beast: Discovering the Rare 1968.5 Ford Mustang Coupe with the Ultimate Performance Upgrade

In the 1960s, the Ford Mustang started as an affordable pony car with decent engine power, but it quickly transformed into a muscle car powerhouse. In 1968, the Mustang stepped up its game by adding a 390-cubic-inch (6.4-liter) FE V8 to its already impressive 289-cubic-inch (4.7-liter) small-block.

With a four-barrel carburetor, this new engine option cranked out a solid 325 horsepower. But the real game-changer came halfway through the model year with the introduction of the massive 428-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) powerhouse. The Mustang was no longer just a pretty face; it was a true force to be reckoned with on the road.

Few engines in the history of the Ford Mustang command the same level of reverence as the fabled Cobra Jet. With a rating of 335 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of torque, this V8 powerhouse was a force to be reckoned with, earning a coveted "R" code on the options list.

Only the 429-cubic-inch Boss unit, reserved for homologation purposes in 1969 and 1970, boasted more brute strength. From 1968 through 1970, the Cobra Jet was a popular option, with over 18,000 Mustangs bearing its name - or almost 21,500, if we count the Shelby models.

But, with only 1,299 'Stangs ordered with the 428 V8 in 1968, the 1968.5 Cobra Jet stands as the rarest of them all. Nowadays, spotting one of the only 34 convertibles or 221 coupes equipped with this powerful engine is a sight to behold.

While 1,299 may not sound like a small number, the reality is that very few Mustangs were produced with the coveted 428 Cobra Jet engine, especially when you start to narrow it down by body style. Most customers preferred the Sportsroof (fastback) model, which saw production numbers of 1,044 units.

Only 34 orders were placed for the 428 Cobra Jet in the convertible, and a mere 221 buyers selected the coupe. These rare versions are even more difficult to come by today since not all of them survived in one piece until 2023.

However, the black-striped Candy Apple Red Mustang featured here is one of the lucky ones. Restored to its original specification in the early 2000s, it looks stunning both inside and out. Powered by its original 428 Cobra Jet V8, this rare gem is likely to be valued at six figures.

While many classic car enthusiasts may gravitate towards the fastback model, I can't help but admire the striking design of the 1968 Mustang coupe. And when it comes to rare specimens, this particular R-Code automatic coupe is a true standout, with only a little over 100 examples ever built.

But what makes this Mustang truly one-of-a-kind is its factory-installed power steering and console, which make it a unique gem, as confirmed by the accompanying Marti report. Of course, the real star of the show is the formidable 428 Cobra Jet engine that roars to life under the hood.

Though it may not pack quite the punch of the 429 Boss, this powerhouse is still capable of blazing down the quarter-mile in a lightning-fast 14.3 seconds. Little wonder then, that owners continue to showcase their Mustangs at events such as the Pure Stock Muscle Car Drag Race.

While this Candy Apple Red beauty may not be competing in the video below, the sound of its Cobra Jet engine idling is music to any car enthusiast's ears.

So go ahead, hit play, and turn up the volume to enjoy this classic muscle car in all its glory.

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