(Images courtesy of mac200864 on eBay)
I’ve never been a Mustang guy, but to me there’s one Mustang that stands out above all others: the 1968 “135” fastback. To the casual enthusiast, it’s difficult to infer what model this particular nickname suggests, but to those in-the-know this may be the fastest Mustang from the muscle car era.
Although the 428 Cobra Jet was announced on April 1, 1968, Ford produced a limited run of 50 Wimbledon White fastbacks on December 30, 1967. They all featured ram air, 4-speed manual transmission, manual drum brakes, 3.89 rear axle with limited slip, and black vinyl buckets. Of the 50, 20 were built without sound deadener and seam sealer.
Ford made quite a splash at the 1968 NHRA Winternationals with the new Cobra Jet, but only two of the six team race cars were 135 cars. Many others landed in teams desperate for a competitive factory Ford – remember, this was the time when there were lots of promises for a 427 Mustang but all Ford ever mustered was a 325-horsepower 390 that wasn't very competitive against Tri-Power GTOs and solid-lifter big-block Chevelles.
(Image courtesy of http://www.mustangandfords.com/featured-vehicles/mump-0101-1968-ford-mustang-cobra-jet-history-review)
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Of course, you may be familiar with the 1968 428 Cobra Jet Mustang, as many of the 1,299 have been featured in magazines over the past 35 years, but the regular production ones required the GT package, was available in a coupe or convertible in addition to the fastback, and featured a matte black stripe down the hood.
Yet despite the candy, my heart is with the vanilla 135 cars, which is why I’m damning myself under my breath for not having the money to buy this one on .
According to 428CobraJet.org, VIN 8F02R135030 (notice the 135? It’s the sequence that gave them their nickname) was sold new at Mel Burns Ford in Long Beach, CA. Seller doesn't add much but says, "This has gone through a one-year full...restoration. Unlike many, it was never tubbed and [is] completely rust free. This has all [particular] 1968 Cobra Jet motor, bell housing, transmission and rear end [parts] but not date-coded. Intake manifold and carburetor are not correct. It retains its original 8000 RPM tach, hood scoop and ram-air cleaner. It is believed to be 8,000 miles...Unknown race history probably on the west coast. It is known to have gone to Holman-Moody for prep."