Ford’s Mustang was an instant success, pioneering a completely new market segment, the personal sports coupe, one that even gave its name to the type-‘Pony cars’. GM and Chrysler were soon caught in a rush to create their own Pony cars, but the Mustang was the first, and won the Pony car sales war until the late 70s. Based on the compact Falcon platform, Lee Iacocca’s team created a car that was both stylish and sporty and - more importantly - could be tailored to the owner’s individual taste and specifications through an extensive options list. As a result Mustangs ranged from the mild – with six-cylinder engines and automatic transmissions – through to wild, with powerful V8 motors and heavy-duty manual shifters. They were a regular sight doing the shopping and tearing up the dragstrip.
Available as a Coupe, a Fastback and a Convertible the original Mustang’s styling was so successful Ford made the decision to leave it largely unaltered for 1966, making this the final year for the original - and to many eyes best looking - shape. Changes were confined to a floating pony emblem in the grille along with a new instrument cluster.
This delightful Coupe was built in San Jose, California in early 1966 furnished with a shopping spec 200ci 6 cylinder engine. At some time it was upgraded to a 289 cubic inch V8 before being imported into the UK in January 2017 by a dealer. A copy of the US title reveals it was previously owned by a Mr Hudgins of Murray, Kentucky. Shortly after import it was purchased with great excitement by the Vendor. His initial excitement soon waned when he discovered the Mustang drove like a “three legged pig” -the handling and brakes desperately needed attention. This, as is often the case, led to more major works. Although the Mustang now drives how it should the Vendor thinks he is unlikely to drive it as much as he originally intended, so has decided to offer it for sale to re-coupe (sic) some of his investment.
As you would imagine with a car so recently imported from the USA the history file is a little thin for its age. Apart from the Title Certificate there is nothing to tell us about its Stateside past but that isn’t really a problem. Once the Vendor got the car home decided to start improving the Mustang to make it comfortable and safe to drive. A certain amount of work had been completed before Import, including the conversion to a 289ci V8, a respray in gorgeous Aqua Blue –one of the best colours, a new “Pony” interior in matching Blue and cream and the installation of ice cold Air conditioning. The Vendor then added a front disc brake conversion with a new dual servo to address the poor braking performance costing $919. The suspension was totally rebuilt with new bushes, control arms, rod ends, and re-tempered rear springs. More recently the Mustang has had a new battery and a couple of new tyres on the front that have really improved the handling.
Inside the Mustang the Mustang really looks the business as can be seen in the photographs. The seats are all fresh with no marks, resplendent with the galloping “pony” inserts. The interior chrome is all gleaming; the blue dash pad appears to be brand new with no cracks. The smart blue carpets are protected by a set of mats complete with Mustang logos. The roof lining is clean and well installed. The gauges have been upgraded to black lettering on a white background, and all appear to be functioning correctly. The background colour of the dials can be changed from blue to green depending on your mood using a small knob near the steering wheel. The manual windows all wind up/down nicely, including the rear quarter windows for that cool pillarless look.
There are a pair of speakers in the rear parcel shelf, and what looks to be an amplifier in the trunk, (boot sounds wrong..) The vendor says he hasn’t attempted to get what appears to be the original Ford radio working –that can be a nice weekend job for the new owner!
Ford’s Aqua Blue paint colour has to be one of the best shades of the period, and it certainly shows off the Coupe’s styling. The paint work on this car, although not perfect, leaves little to be desired. There is the odd chip and crack here and there, but you have to look closely to find them. The chrome is in generally excellent condition throughout with no visible dents and very little pitting. The wheels are after-market American Racing 15 inch Magnum style and show no evidence of curbing or corrosion. We think they look great and really suit the car. There are two brand new tyres on the front, the rear tyres look to be virtually unused too. The 2” dual exhaust finishes below the rear valance in stylish twin pipes either side which replaced some tired chrome tips that were on the car when imported. The glass is all clear and the screen has no chips or cracks. The lights function correctly, with modified rear lenses that have an orange indicator in the outside section, very neat.
Mechanically the Mustang seems to be in great shape. It sounds beefy, with plenty of power, and gear changes from its C4 3 speed automatic transmission are smooth. Under the hood the engine bay appears clean and tidy with no drips or leaks. There is evidence of much work completed with lots of new cables and parts. The V8 appears to have been correctly installed; in fact it looks like it’s always been there!
Whilst any early Mustang has plenty of appeal perhaps the early 65/66 Mustangs are the purest, unadorned shape. In this attractive Aqua colour you can really see the sharp lines that made these cars such a sales success in period, and why over sixty years later they still look so good. With an excellent aftermarket, plenty of cheap parts and endless possibilities for personalisation Mustangs have proved to be a sound investment over the past few years. And there aren’t many investments you can make that actually look so damn cool!
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