Late Sixties Branded kits even made their way to new Mustangs
Leave it to Ford to so thoroughly support its already hot-selling Mustangs that it created a dress-up kit to make its pre-owned ponies stand out on dealer lots. A runaway hit like the Mustang could’ve easily created a glut in the used-car market when they were traded in to dealerships in high volume for newer models. One way to move those second-hand gems more quickly was to provide them with affordable visual enhancements. Thus, Ford created the “Branded Kit” and tasked DSI Corporation of Plymouth, Michigan, with producing it.
For a dealer cost of $47.25 in 1968 dollars (about $385 today), the kit was delivered in a mailing tube that contained the ready-to-install vinyl top, which was available in 15 different bold patterns/colors across four categories: sculptured, tweed, paisley, and leather. Also included were “Thoroughbred” tape stripes in blue, white, red, gold, or black; a pair of C-pillar running horse emblems in silver or gold tone; chrome trim for the top’s lower edges; plus two cans of adhesive and installation instructions.
The “B” version was marketed for 1965 to 1966 Mustangs and “A” was for 1967-’68 models. In some instances, the over-the-counter Branded Mustang Kits were applied to new models, as well
Finding a Branded Mustang
Marlene and Keith White of McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, purchased this Branded 1967 Mustang in 2019. “Our friend Fran Cosentino had the car restored, but found that he was not getting it out enough for people to see and enjoy,” Marlene recalls. “I love the color and the way it complements the roof, so when he thought about selling it, I knew I had to have it.”
Fran says he’s always been on the lookout for interesting special edition Mustangs. He recalls that, once he began delving deeper into the Branded cars, “All things ‘Branded’ started coming to me.” He ultimately acquired six Branded Kits, a set of uber-rare Branded cufflinks, and, in 2011, this Mustang, which even sported a seemingly one-off Branded fender emblem.
He didn’t reinstall the badge during the car’s subsequent restoration because, “It had been difficult enough to convince people that the Branded Kits from Ford actually existed,” he laments, “so I didn’t want to confuse the issue further with an item I couldn’t verify as being part of it. The badge may have simply been made by a dealer trying to take the package a step further.”