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The Differences Between a Mustang Fastback and a Coupe

If you are around car guys for exceptionally long, you may just hear a classic debate over which mustang is better, fastback or a coupe.  Both have their advantages in performance and styling which can make it hard to choose a favorite.  Being an owner of a 1965 ford mustang in the past, I have spent plenty of time researching the differences. What is the difference between a Mustang Fastback and a Coupe?  The fastback and coupe are body styles of the classic mustang manufactured by Ford. A fastback has an aerodynamic appearance with a sloping back window while the rear of the coupe has a vertical rear window and larger trunk lid.  Both models came with similar drivetrain and engine options. When you are at a classic car show there will most likely be several Mustangs on display.  It is a perfect opportunity to see if you can tell the differences.  Outlined below are the characteristics between the fastback and coupe.
  • Rear Window and Quarter Panel – Ford designed the rear half of the fastback to have much more sleek side profile over the standard coupe model. There is no denying that angled rear glass of the fastback that extends farther to the rear of the car is how you can tell the two apart.  The design of the fastback incorporated a vented trim panel right behind the door glass on the drivers and passenger side B pillars.
  • Back seat – The one functional difference the fastback had over the coupe was the folding rear seat. The sloping back half of the body eliminated the coupes stereo speaker sill, leaving a large opening behind the rear seat.  Ford made it possible to access this area by having the back rests of the rear seat fold forward and lying flat.
  • Small trunk lid – This extra space in the interior of the fastback meant the trunk size was reduced. Comparing the exterior of the fastback versus the coupe, you will notice the fastbacks rear glass goes much farther to the back and has more of a curve to it.  The trunk lid of a coupe is shaped like a rectangle and the top is a few inches deeper.
  • Weight – The fastback has a heavier curb weight over the coupe by approximately 59 pounds. The weight difference of the fastback can be found in the extra material used to create the sloping rear section of the car.  The fastbacks rear window glass is larger, additional sheet metal was added onto the quarter panels, and the folding rear seat had a larger inner structure.
  • Most items remained the same – The differences between a mustang coupe and a fastback give the appearance that they could be completely different cars. However, when you look at the drivetrain, engine combinations and most of the interior they are the same.  You could consider everything in a Ford Mustang from the doors B pillar and forward as the exact same parts.  Each model had the same options of engine selection and transmission types.  The steering wheel, front dash, and door panels are the same part numbers for both the fastback and coupe.

Why are Mustang Fastbacks More Popular Than The Coupe?

As a fan of the classic Mustang, it is easy for me to say that the fastback body style is the one I would want in my collection.  The fastback became more popular because Ford had produced far fewer than the coupe.  Ford also had a small number of fastbacks built for a racing campaign to increase popularity with sports car enthusiasts. The mustang fastback only accounted for 12% of all mustangs produced from 1965-1968.  There are far fewer fastbacks on the road today which makes them rare or found online for sale.  Having fewer of any classic car or truck make them more popular to collectors. Production Numbers:  Mustang Fastback vs. Mustang Coupe
Mustang in Years Fastback Coupe
1965 77,079 409,260
1966 35,698 499,751
1967 71,042 356,271
1968 42,581 248,594

Winning on the Racetrack Made the Fastback More Popular

It was not long after Ford put the Mustang into production that racing legends like Carrol Shelby saw a platform for a race car.  The mustang had a great foundation with a compact unibody and was considered exceptionally light weight. Carrol Shelby worked with Ford in 1965 to take 100 Mustang Fastbacks to build high performance cars intended for racing in the Production class of SCCA track circuit.  Carrol took everything he knew about winning races from the Cobra car and put it into the Fastbacks. Building the Fastback model into the iconic 1965 Mustang GT350 is what makes it so much more popular than the coupe.  You could make a coupe have everything the GT350 had, but you would still be missing the overall look of the Fastback.

Can You Convert a Mustang Coupe into a Fastback?

Having a coupe but wanting the look of a fastback will tempt someone to consider converting the back section of a mustang into a fastback.  Companies do manufacture all the body panels necessary to convert a coupe into a fastback, but it will require major fabrication work from a professional auto body shop.  These kits will replace the inner structure of the side panels from the front door A pillar all the way back to the rear taillight.  The roof panel is also replaced so that the sloping rear glass and quarter panels come together and match up with the new trunk lid seamlessly. Could you just buy a fastback to save on time and money?  Buying a mustang fastback instead of a conversion will save you time, but not sure about money. Every year the price of great condition fastback is increasing making the iconic classic out of reach.  If you had a coupe that already needed body work from rust or perhaps an accident, then it may be just a little more cost to do a conversion.  Not to mention that the body panels coming in the conversion kits are higher grade thicker steel that will make your Mustang a better platform than an original fastback when its complete. If you want to know more about the mustang coupe to fastback conversion, I have outlined the companies producing the kits.  These companies did have kits available for all classic mustangs between 1965-1973.  Each kit did have addons you could select during checkout like adding the original drip rail on the roof or upgrading parts to fiberglass to reduce weight. The prices listed are based on converting a 1967 mustang coupe.
Gold Star Fastback Conversion Kit $4699.95
Tamraz’s Warehouse Mustang Coupe to Fastback Sheet Metal Roof Quarter Trunk Conversion Kit $5299.99
Stang-Aholics Coupe to Fastback Sheet Metal Conversion Kit $4549.99
Champion Mustang Coupe to Fastback Conversion Kits $4599.99

Most Popular Mustang Fastback

The use of the fastback on the racetrack and in movies make the model extremely popular.  Over time we have seen specific versions of the fastback gain popularity over others. The most popular Mustang Fastback is a 1967.  Looking at online search trends and the prices of fastbacks sold over the past 10 years, Mustang enthusiasts are looking for the 1967.  In 1967 Shelby created the GT500 that was fitted with a 355 horsepower 429 engine and light weight fiberglass body panels for the hood, fenders, and trunk lid. In Hollywood movies the fastback gained attention in famous chase scenes.  Steve McQueen was behind the wheel of a 1968 mustang fastback in the movie ‘Bullitt’.  Another famous movie car was the 1967 Mustang Fastback Shelby GT500 replica driven by Nicolas Cage in the 2000 remake of ‘Gone in 60 Seconds’.

The Fastback Was Renamed the Sportsroof

In 1969 Ford decided to change the name of their Fastback model to Sportsroof.  The overall body style did not change, the Sportsroof still had the overall same shape of the sloping rear window glass.  However, Ford decided to add accents to the Sportsroof model like slanted louvers on the rear glass and a rear spoiler to the back of the trunk lid. The coupe, along with the convertible, remained in production and kept its body style name.

Author: Jason Skinner

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