Car of the Month – May, 2020

1965 Ford Mustang K-Code Convertible


1965 Ford Mustang K-Code Convertible

Engine – 289 CID overhead valve
Horsepower – 271 hp @ 6000 rpm and 312ft-lbs of torque @ 3400 rpm
0-60 time – 5.9 seconds
¼ mile time – 14.5 seconds
Number built – 3500 (1965)
Top Speed – 117mph
MSRP price – $3,163.00

The Ford Mustang was debuted as a 1964 ½ model with much fanfare at the 1964 New York City World’s Fair and simultaneously at showrooms across America where almost 22,000 of them were immediately snapped up by buyers. The 1965 K-Code Mustang Convertible was a very special and rare car in the Mustang lineup.

Each 1965 K-Code Mustang had a special badge on its front fender that read “HIGH PERFORMANCE 289”. No doubt about it, the 1965 K-Code Mustang was all performance. They were not available with air conditioning, power steering or automatic transmission. All K-Code Mustangs had only four-speed manuals. The car also came with a shorter warranty than the typical 65 Mustang. K-Code cars had only a three-month or 4,000-mile warranty instead of the standard 12-month or 12,000-mile warranty.

The K-Code Mustang engine also differed from the standard Mustang 289. The engine featured upgraded pistons, cylinder heads, carburetor, lifters, heads and connecting rods as well as a high-performance clutch, drive shaft, rear differential, and suspension. Carroll Shelby even put this engine in his Shelby GT350 Mustangs. In fact, the first Shelby Mustang, the Shelby GT350R– of which only 34 were built and one (number 31) is here in the Newport Car Museum – featured a modified K-Code engine. It was rumored the1965 K-Code Mustang Convertible was really a Shelby GT350 convertible without the Shelby badging.


Approximately 1.7 million Mustangs were produced in the car’s first three years of existence, and less than 1% of those were equipped with K-Code engines. In total, only 13,214 K-Code Mustangs were ever produced; there is no specific breakdown by body style, but the number of K-Code convertibles produced is widely agreed to be staggeringly low.