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Who says American Built Cars Can't Go 840,000 miles? This 1965 Mustang Did It


It might be a surprise to read that an original fastback 1965 Mustang GT K-Code has clocked over 840,000 miles (trust us, we were surprised, too!), but after learning that the car had been purchased in 1967 and used as a daily driver up until 1994, the math starts to make more sense. It made even more sense after we heard of all the places the Mustang has driven across the country and saw the detailed service and mileage records taken by its owner.

This 289 HiPo powered Mustang was purchased new from Smith Motor Co. in Garden Grove, California, in May of 1965, reportedly being used as a weekend road-racer by its first owner. After being sold back to the dealer in 1966, the car bounced through two more owners before being purchased by Mark Mosteller, also from Garden Grove, California, in July 1967.

Mark used the fastback Mustang as his daily driver, taking him to work every day as well as road trips with his family every summer. It even brought Mark, his wife Martha, and their daughter Carrie cross-country to Charlottesville, Virginia, where they lived through the winter of 1969. Keeping with the theme, they drove just about everywhere on the East Coast while living there, even going as far as South Carolina. Then, in the summer of 1970, the Mustang took the family all the way back to Garden Grove, just in time for the birth of Mark and Martha's second child, Tim.

The K-Code-equipped GT was on the road from the day Mark bought it right up until 1994, when the unthinkable happened. He had the Mustang parked on the street in front of his home in Garden Grove while working in the garage when the careless driver of a meat truck ran straight into the back of his beloved GT. As unfortunate as the situation may have been, it was the springboard Mark used to begin a much-needed restoration of the 1965 Mustang GT. With its original, numbers-matching 289 HiPo engine and Toploader 4-speed, it was the perfect candidate for a show-level overhaul.

Related: Barn Find 1965 Mustang GT Stored Since 1982

Six years of well-documented hard work ensued, with Mark doing most of the work in their driveway and two-car garage. Mark completed the concours restoration in January of 2000. In the years that followed, he had the 1965 fastback GT judged by Mustang Club of America where it earned Gold and by Antique Auto Club of America where it earned Senior.

Mark spent the next decade enjoying his new-again Mustang GT, taking it to various shows and racking up well over a dozen trophies and awards. Mark didn't just relegate the Mustang to show car, though, with he and his wife Martha continuing to take it on long road trips. Right after the restoration in the summer of 2000, they even drove it all the way up to Bellevue, Washington, stopping at Mount Hood in Oregon on the way.

Then in 2011, Mark passed away suddenly, leaving the fastback 1965 Mustang GT and another 1965 Mustang to his wife Martha. After the passing of her husband, Martha found that seeing the pair of Mustangs in her garage each day bore too strong a reminder of her loss. But she couldn't just sell them, so she made an agreement with her daughter, Carrie, and husband Carl Pihl to store and take care of the two Mustangs for the foreseeable future.

Even with Mark now gone, the memories—and the car—remain thanks to his detailed records and the stories from family members that lived it. Among those memories, Martha shared with us an "incident," as she called it, back in the late 1980s. On yet another road trip in the fastback Mustang, the car broke down just outside Las Vegas in 100-plus-degree heat. She recalls "riding with a local sheriff a few miles to a tiny little town that had a car parts store. We left the car along the interstate and hoped it would be there when we got back. Mark bought the needed part, sheriff brought us back to the Mustang where Mark installed it, and we headed for Las Vegas." But the adventure wasn't quite over yet. They had "just got into town along the hotel strip, and the car quit again! The parts store sold us the wrong part! So, we parked in the driveway of the hotel and Mark laid on the driveway underneath the car to fix it," Martha remembered, adding, "We had to assure [the hotel owners] that we'd soon be on our way."

Hidden within those 840,000 miles are probably hundreds more stories as interesting as that one. It's a good reminder that, while the cars are certainly exciting on their own, it's the people who drive them and the life experiences had that really make this hobby worth it.

Mark And Martha Mosteller's Fastback 1965 Ford Mustang GT Factory Options:

- Original K-Code 271-hp 289ci HiPo engine and original Toploader 4-speed
- GT Equipment Group (10-inch front disc brakes, quick-ratio steering box, Special Handling package, foglights in the grille, dual exhaust with chrome tips, GT badging and rocker stripes, upgraded circular gauges)
- Red vinyl interior with red carpets, rally pack instrumentation, wood-rim steering wheel, Fomoco push-button radio, center console, and folding rear seat
- Sculptured steel wheels with 6.95x14 Red Line tires
Raven Black exterior paint

Ford 289 HiPo Engine Specs (1965 K-Code Mustang):
- Ford 289ci small-block Windsor
- Rated at 271 hp at 6,000 rpm and 312 lb-ft at 3,400 rpm
- 10. 5:1 compression ratio
- 4.00X2.87-inch bore and stroke
- 480 cfm Autolite 4100 4bbl carburetor
- $442.60 option for Ford Mustang in 1965
- 7,273 of 559,451 1965 Mustangs were equipped with K-Code 289 HiPo engines
- Decreased the factory warranty to three months or 4,000 miles
- Only offered with Toploader 4-speed transmission in 1965 model year

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