The Mustang Challenger Special was a Mississippi special, but this was quite different from most specials of the era. The Challenger Special was a dealer modified Seafoam Green car with hardtop coupe bodystyle and powered by either the 289 cubic inch V8 with 4 speed manual or 302 cubic inch V8 with 3 speed manual. The cars got Shelby intakes and a special 4118 Holley carburetor. In order to keep the cars as light as possible, things like power steering, power brakes and air-conditioning were removed.
The Challenger Special was aimed at affordable performance improvements. It added more power and improved performance through weight reduction and it made a big difference. Some claim “Shelby-like” performance but we suspect that it was some way off those numbers in the real world.
In terms of production numbers, it is estimated that there are 21 units with a 302 V8 and a handful with the 289 V8. That was more timing related than anything else, starting out with the 289 V8 and then, from early May onward moving to the better 302 V8. Other enterprising dealers followed suit and offered similar packages through their areas, but we have not been able to narrow those down in detail.
All Challenger Specials originated from the New Orleans District Sales Office (DSO), where the model’s special intakes and carburetors were installed. The optional package was available for an extra $158 over list pricing.