What is a 1964½ Mustang?
1964½ is a term that is used by Mustang owners and
enthusiasts to describe the earliest Mustangs ever
built. Although Ford never officially used the term
"64 and a half" to describe these cars, they did
the market in early 1964, before other true 1965 models. The
first Mustang actually rolled off the Dearborn, Michigan
assembly line on March 9, 1964. This was in the middle of the
normal 1964 model year, giving rise to the common term
These early cars also have a large number of important
differences from the true 1965 model Mustangs.
Basically, if the car was built before August 17, 1964 - it
will have come with a generator instead of an alternator, and
therefore be considered a 64½ Mustang.
Officially, Ford stamped a 1965 VIN number on all 1964½ and
1st Dearborn 64.5 Mustang: 5F08F100001
1st San Jose 64.5 Mustang: 5RXXX100001
1st Dearborn 65 Mustang:
5FXXX250001 (1st known fastback - 5F09K250009)
1st San Jose 65 Mustang: 5RXXX125001
Many changes came before the cut off date
for 64.5 production (Sometime in early August, 1964.) and many
came well into the regular 65 production.
Ford did have a shutdown period for
retooling of the Mustang lines in early August, 1964. This is
when the switch from generators to alternators was made. When
they started back up, the VIN numbers were rounded up to
5FXXX250001 at Dearborn, and 5RXXX125001 at San Jose. To those
of us in the hobby, this is the point when the 64.5's ended
and the 65's started. There was a lot of overlap before and
after the shutdown.
So what’s the difference
between a ’64-1/2 and a ’65 Mustang?
Not much and yet everything. From 50 feet away, they look the
same; close up, they host quite a number of differences. The
’64-1/2 Mustangs have always been ’65 Mustangs--always. As
enthusiasts, we call them "’64-1/2" because it’s
easier to say, but it’s also a cult thing. Early ’65
Mustangs have the distinction of being the first block of
Ponies ever produced. They were an integral part of the
Mustang madness that swept the world in 1964. And if you have
a "’64-1/2" built at Dearborn, that makes it even
more significant in the relative scheme of things, because it
was born in the motherland.
When the Mustang entered
production early in March 1964, it didn’t have many of the
refinements it would have later on; call it a reskinned Falcon
with bucket seats. To be a ’64-1/2 at all, a Mustang has to
be factory-equipped with a generator charging system, a 170ci
six (U-code), a 260 2V (F-code), or a 289 4V (D-code)
low-compression, large horns mounted down on the frame behind
the radiator, a brake light pressure switch on the master
cylinder, a center "off" heater fan switch, and a
generator charge light, just to name the basics. These are
features exclusive to Mustangs built between early March and
July 31, 1964 (scheduled build date code only). The ’64-1/2
Mustang is simply an early-production unit without the
refinements that came later. And another thing, Ford never
built a production ’64-1/2 Mustang fastback...evar.
© 2004 JoshuaStarling.com