Vintage Ad story and photo by M.J. Frumkin
The 1969 Ford Mustang’s tag line — “Hottest thing going” — was truth in advertising at its best. The sizzling ’69 stallion was continuing its sales supremacy in the pony car stampede by looking flashier than the original Mustang, by being bigger than the original and better equipped than those first 1965 models. Ford knew it had a winner again, and when it came to promoting the 1969 model on this billboard, it splayed a Candy Apple Red SportsRoof larger than life and boldly stated, “Somebody finally built a better Mustang.”
For the first time, the SportsRoof fastback was priced as low as the hardtop. Both included Ford’s reversible keys, deep-foam bucket seats, and the 200-cid six-cylinder engine with floor-mounted “Synchro-Smooth Drive” three-speed manual transmission at the $2,618 base price. In addition to its sporty roofline, the SportsRoof added standard rear deck spoiler, swing-out rear quarter windows and tinted glass rear window.
If the peppy six didn’t provide enough wallop, Mustang riders could rope one of five V-8 engines, including the pavement-pounding Cobra Jet Ram-Air 428.
Many of the ’69 Mustang V-8s came equipped with dual exhausts sporting quad outlets, and either a SelectShift Cruise-O-Matic transmission or close- or wide-ratio four-speed manual gearboxes.
Available GT components took the SportsRoof to the next level by making the vehicle more roadable with heftier shocks, springs, stabilizer bar and wide-oval belted tires on real competition-type styled steel wheels. The ’69 Mustang GT SportRoof was “like a vehicle built for Parnelli – you know, one of the Jones boys,” said an advertisement for Ford.
Once all the figures were in, the 1969 Mustang had trampled its nearest competitor: 299,824 Mustangs to 243,085 Camaros. Forty-five years later, Ford and Chevrolet would be thrilled if the combined sales figure for new Mustangs and Camaros was nearly 300,000 cars.
How’s that for hot?