Side Air Bags In 1965 Mustang


New Member
Oct 4, 2013
Nampa, Idaho
So I just purchased a mustang body that was put on a rotisserie, primered w/ 2 part epoxied, front/rear Baer disc brakes, rinolined interior/undercarriage, dynamat, front torque boxes, shelby drop....but I have to finish it. I'm expecting it to be a $20k to $25k Mustang when it's done.

As part of my build, I purchased matching front/rear leather seats out of a 2008 Mustang to install in my silver and black 1965 Mustang.

Among the niceties these seats provide is an undeployed side airbag.

View attachment 123887

A couple of thoughts.....
.....I haven't yet purchased the ECU for the 5.0L engine (out of a 1997 Lincoln VII) that I'm installing
.....and I do see ebay sells wiring harness for airbags (probably could buy from the dealership if needed)

I mean....couldn't in theory I purchase an ECU from a 2008 Mustang that is designed to deploy these on impact and ...... then buy the sensors .....

and get side airbags in my car?

Am I dreaming that I could actually hook these baby's up?

Has anyone ever attempted such a thing?
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New Member
Oct 4, 2013
Nampa, Idaho
Wow, I just read some forums where people discuss the idea of installing air bags in their vintage cars. Phew, definitely not a lot of support for the idea over fears of liability due to an accidental deploy.

I still think it's an interesting subject, especially when they are already baked into my seats and just need plugged into the right sensor and computer.


10 Year Member
May 24, 2005
Rowland Heights,California
Air bags dont communicate with the cars computer(or they didnt used to). They have their own air bag module that also has the individual crash sensors and must also read vehicle speed so they cannot deploy under lower mph.I dealt with air bags a lot and had to blow some up for warranty issues.There is NO way i would have one in a old car with a possibilty of accidental deployment.


New Member
Sep 23, 2013
Manitoba canada
As a former ford diagnostic technician,the airbag idea may be a good thought,but you would be time and money ahead reskinning a 2008
With the 65 body. The controller area network is dependant on almost
Every module in the car.
Body control
Airbag module
And add in
Speed sensors
Crash sensors
Seat belt pre-tensioners.
It would be extensive.


New Member
Oct 4, 2013
Nampa, Idaho
I've been doing some research on side impact design.
Here's a good site to get one up to speed in a hurry:
Basically, the goal is keeping the cabin whole
The methods to accomplish this are:
- Crumple zones
- Distribution energy of impact around the cabin
The available tools to accomplish this are:
- Door beams
- B pillars
- Stiff frame
- Side airbags
I can't find any data, but based upon what I know about side impact design, the 1965 Mustang has to perform horribly.
- Tiny door beam (see picture 2 below. The small beam is the stock one)
- No B pillar
- Unibody frame with no center support (will fold upon side impact)
- Obviously no air bags

So. I added a door beam:

Door beam1.jpg

Inside the door, on the hing end, I cut the channel iron so it'd slide behind a bunch of metal:
Door beam3.jpg

On the other side, I added a steel plate that I will cut so the door strike plate bolts into it, giving the impact energy somewhere to go:

Door beam2.jpg


New Member
Oct 4, 2013
Nampa, Idaho
The beauty of this?

This took like 5 minutes to do a door. This isn't a huge time consuming venture. Of course, my car is still in the build stage. If one had to remove the glass and gears.....I can see it taking some time.

But if you're going to do that anyway to fix a poor performing window.....this is a worthy upgrade. I spent $33 on the channel iron and strap and had a ton of metal left over.

This isn't welded yet (as you can see), so I'm going to pull this out and paint it before I weld it.

Also, the door feels heavier, more solid. I like it.


SN Certified Technician
Apr 12, 2002
more power to you, but i agree with the others, i personally wouldnt install them in either of my vintage cars due to all kinds of issues, legal and otherwise. for instance, lets say you install those air bags and make them work. what happens if they suddenly deploy unexpectedly, and you are in an accident whether it is the result of the unexpected deployment, or coincidentally to the accident? if you get sued regarding the accident, the lawyer for the other side is going to hammer you about the air bags and you installing them and in effect causing the accident, and that you are not an automotive engineer, etc. and in the end you become liable for something you did, that perhaps wasnt the cause of an accident, and you would otherwise be found not responsible for the accident, but now you are on the hook, and your insruance company may disallow any claims as a result, putting you further on the hook, and the bad things is you cant eliminate the judgement with a bankruptcy anymore. so you are in essence screwed royally.