There’s a secret parlance between classic car owners – a mix of numbers, letters and years – that to those in the know, spell out wonderful histories in metal. Mustang owners have their dialect too, and one of the most hallowed utterances from the early days of ‘Stang is “K-code.”
Jim’s K-code story is pretty incredible, we’ll let him tell it in his own words.
How did you first come across the car?
My daily driver was a ’65 V8 Mustang coupe and I drove it until the wheels fell off, rebuilt it, and drove it hard again. While attending a local show, someone struck up a conversation and said they knew of someone with an “old Mustang” that they didn’t drive. Naturally, being young and naive, I mentioned that if they ever wanted to sell it to give me a call… not that I had any money at the time.
About a year or so later, I got a phone call that if interested, the car would be for sale. A few weeks later, I went to the location and there it was, parked inside a basement next to another car, covered only with a bed sheet. Untouched since it was rolled inside over a decade earlier, its odometer was just a few clicks away from 12,000 miles. It was a genuine, K-Code, four-speed Mustang GT that time forgot.
What first attracted you to it?
Back then, Mustangs were still considered just old or used cars, but looking at one that had been put away inside a house was pretty amazing. Being handed a box of original paperwork, receipts, title, order form, and keys, and then being able to prove all the special Ford Performance parts was what sealed the deal for me.
What does it feel like to drive such a legendary 289 HiPo?
When we do drive it, and that’s not often, it’s a blast. It may not have the same feel as today’s cars but it’s important to appreciate and respect it for what it is. There’s plenty of seat-of-your-pants power when you want it, and unlike today’s econoboxes, you can count on plenty of stares and thumbs-up as you rumble by.
Was it really sitting in the basement for all those years when you found it?
Sure was. Interestingly, the car stayed in the Ford showroom for over a year until late 1967. It was finally sold new to a local woman who had no idea that it had so many performance parts added. It came equipped with the factory K-code 289 HiPo engine, four speed transmission, 3.50 rear gears, Factory GT package, ‘pony’ interior, styled steel wheels, and a number of other things.
Other than replacing a battery, plus tires and a few hoses that had suffered dry rot, the car is exactly as it was found with the odometer now reading just 13,000 miles. We have put just 1,000 miles on it in over 30 years. The car originally racked up less than 12,000 in the 7 years prior to it being put into the house.
Any plans for its future – shows or minor mechanical fixes?
You know, despite all the folks who have told us over the years that we should be driving the car more often, we have no plans of changing a thing with it. Some years ago I toyed with the idea of correcting the panel gaps – they aren’t too uniform like today’s restored cars – but that is the way it was made, for better or worse, so it will stay as it is.
There’s something about an original and all its “flaws” that a restored car cannot duplicate. Don’t get me wrong, we love them and appreciate what it takes to make them perfect, but rattles and squeaks are as much music to us as the car’s throaty growl when you fire it up.
Right now we have no plans for future shows. The car will remain tucked away for the time being, as it has for the past four decades, enjoying cool dry interior temperatures and the occasional neighborhood cruise to stretch its legs a bit.
Think you’ve got a pretty cool ride? Let us know!