1966 Ford Mustang Coupe - $22,900
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The fact that it was built in San Jose and spent its entire life in Los Angeles and had that 6-cylinder engine means that it’s ultra-straight, ultra-clean, and extremely tight.

Ford’s versatile Mustang has been a lot of things to a lot of people over the years, and that’s probably why it remains on of the most popular collector cars of all time. They’re easy to drive, easy to fix, and universally loved. Nobody sees a bright red Mustang like this 1966 coupe and says, “Nah, I don’t like that.” The fact that they were inexpensive and fast certainly helped sales, but it also meant that a great many early Mustangs were abused, neglected, and just plain used up, so you have to look pretty carefully at the car you’re buying to see where its history might have taken a turn for the worse. And for those of you doing your homework on this pretty hardtop, I’ll give it to you straight: this is a T-code car, meaning it was born with a 200 cubic inch inline-6 instead of the torquey 289 that lives under the hood today. That’s a common conversion and the work was done so well that if you didn’t spot the VIN, you’d never know the difference. And better yet, the fact that it was built in San Jose and spent its entire life in Los Angeles and had that 6-cylinder engine means that it’s ultra-straight, ultra-clean, and extremely tight. V8 conversion or not, this is one of the best-driving early Mustangs we’ve ever had.

While they were changing the powerplant, they also changed the color from the original code K Nightmist Blue to bright Candyapple Red, and I don’t think anyone will complain. Red always looks right on a Mustang. And if you take the time to look it over carefully, you’ll see a rather significant investment in the paint and bodywork, with super straight panels, good alignment, and a brilliant shine that looks like money well spent. It shows about 7500 miles on the odometer, and that’s since the work was done, so it’s still crisp and bright with very few signs of use. They added a few spiffs like the GT-spec fog lights up front, but they didn’t really want to make a fake GT, so they skipped the stripes and exhaust trumpets. They did, however, add the proper ‘289’ emblems on the front fenders—remember what I said about it being virtually indistinguishable from a real V8 car. The chrome and stainless trim is in excellent condition, the glass is clear, and there are recent weather seals throughout, so it feels robust going down the road. This really is a delightful little car—I’m afraid I don’t have any complaints.

The interior is likewise all-new, and it was upgraded to the Deluxe interior, also known as the “Pony” interior (dig the running horses on the seat backs). Again, the color change from light blue to black works in your favor, because you know that everything that isn’t light blue is new or refinished, including seat covers, door panels, headliner, carpets, dash pad, and the steering wheel. For 1966, all Mustangs received the 1965 GT’s five-gauge instrument panel, and they all seem to work properly, although we never quite trust the ammeters on early Mustangs. A center console is a nice addition to the options list and a newer AM/FM stereo radio was added in the center stack. It does have an original Rally Pack on the column, but it doesn’t seem to be connected, although the wires are there and it should be easy enough to do on a Saturday afternoon. Heavy-duty floor mats with Mustang ponies, a back seat that’s like new, and a fully detailed trunk with full-sized spare round out this car’s list of virtues.

Converting a six-cylinder Mustang into a V8 involves more than just throwing the 289 between the fenders, and you’ll note that the guys who did this conversion totally nailed it. They could have gone nuts with all kinds of modifications and upgrades, but instead restored it to C-code specs, which includes a 2-barrel carburetor under the chrome open-element air cleaner and about 200 horsepower on tap. It’s smooth and torquey but not fussy or peaky, and it pulls the lightweight coupe around with genuine enthusiasm. It’s finished in correct Ford Blue paint with a set of finned valve covers to make it look a little racy, but that’s a forgivable upgrade. You’ll note a factory-style distributor and coil, a new aluminum radiator with proper shroud, and a reproduction battery cover to give it the right look. Even the alternator is a correct vintage piece, not some parts store rebuild. The chrome export brace makes a notable improvement in how the car feels going down the road and as part of the upgrade, it received a dual master cylinder for the 5-lug front disc brakes. It starts easily and runs great and given that the hardware proved itself decades ago, you should never think twice about getting in and hitting the road.

The 289 is linked to a C4 3-speed automatic transmission, as it was when it was new, and it shifts like it should—just make sure you’re using the “green dot” shift position to force it to start in first gear. Otherwise it feels a little soft. You’ll note the extremely clean undercarriage, which is undoubtedly due to its lifetime in the California sun, and as I mentioned, the front disc brakes are brand new. The 8-inch rear end was also upgraded with correct 5-lug axles and hubs (6-cylinder Mustangs had 4-lug hubs) and it feels like it still has 3.20 gears inside. A correct reproduction dual exhaust probably adds a few horsepower over the C-code’s original single exhaust, and it sounds great without being too aggressive. The torque boxes are solid (the beauty of a 6-cylinder car is that it’s not powerful enough to hurt anything), the seam under the rockers still shows its original spot welds, and there’s only a light dusting of satin black paint to seal it up without hiding anything. Traditional 14-inch Styled Steel Wheels are exactly the right choice and they carry recent 205/70/14 BFGoodrich T/A radials.

If you love Mustangs, this one will delight you. It drives great, it’s affordable, and there’s a lot more than the asking price wrapped up in the restoration. You can’t drive a pedigree and the engine sway was so well done that most folks will never even think twice about it. The car works like it should and the fact that it has lived such an easy life is only a bonus. Time to start having fun. Call today!

Vehicle: 1966 Ford Mustang Coupe
Price: $22,900
Stock Number: 115135
Mileage: 7491
VIN: 6R07T135631
Engine: 289 cubic inch V8
Transmission: 3-speed automatic
Gear Ratio: 3.2
Wheelbase: 108 inches
Wheels: 14-inch styled steel wheels
Tires: 205/70/14 BFGoodrich T/A radial
Exterior Color: Candyapple Red
Interior Color: Black vinyl (Pony)
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