A new Mustang joins the family. My Father and I were on our way to breakfast when we stopped into a weekend garage sale. Sitting in the driveway was a tired old 66 Mustang Coupe. I inquired about the car and the old couple that owned it said it was for sale, but that it hadnít been on the road since 2012. They claim to have purchased the car from the original owner back in 1983.
The car was filthy, but upon inspection it looked to be a mostly stock and in surprisingly really good shape under a crusty layer of dirt. The body had numerous small areas of surface rust and the driver door had a dent. The rear frame rails, floor pans, floor supports, and front frame rails looked rust free. I didnít see any visible traces of prior collisions. I saw dual exhaust and new shocks all around.
The door tag indicated that this California 66 was built in San Jose (Plant: R), 289 2v (Engine: C), Standard Bench (Body: 65C), Sauterne Gold Metallic (Z), Standard Black Bench Seat Interior (Trim:36), November 26, 1965 (Date: 26L) delivered to Los Angeles (DSO: 71), 2.80:1, Conventional (Axle: 6), C4 (Trans: 6). I wasnít expecting a factory bench seat. Unfortunately it looked like the dash was hacked to accommodate a single DIN stereo, but otherwise it all looks to be factory original interior.
Under the hood, things also looked fairly stock. The smog thermactor pump was missing, but otherwise the car still had the factory CA emissions equipment. It is my understanding that 66 was the first year for this kind of smog equipment required on California cars. As an added bonus, the car had factory power steering and power drum brakes.
So Iím thinking this is a pretty cool find to come across such an intact and pristine specimen of a car. It did need some work and I already have my hands full with a couple of projects. I made an offer to the old couple planning to walk away. They said they needed the money to pay off their mortgage, but they declined. It was fun nevertheless. I left my number and my Father and I continued on our way to breakfast. Thirty minutes later, I get a call from the husband agreeing to my offer. So everybody wins. I get a crazy good deal and the old couple makes their last few mortgage payments with the funds. So my Father and I trailer the car home later that day, power wash, and attempt to start the car. Over the weekend, we drop in a new battery, check the fluids (ps, tranny, oil, coolant), and in Roadkill fashion (referencing the MotorTrend TV show), we hook up an external fuel container directly to the carburberator using a gravity feed. We check a couple of plugs and under the cap is a Pertronix Ignitor electronic ignition, which is another bonus. So we give it a few cranks, and the autolite 2100 carburetor is leaking fuel all over the block and is mechanically unsafe. Conveniently, we have another 2100 that we swap from an engine that we pulled out of my Momís 65 Fastback. We make the swap and give the car a few more cranks. On the third attempt, the engine fires right up and runs surprisingly smooth. Itís obvious that the engine was rebuilt. Meanwhile, we let the engine fuel pump push out about thirteen gallons of old gas, which has that wonderful varnish aroma. We flush the tank with some fresh fuel and reconnect the factory fuel line. I check all of exterior lights and loosen up the crusty switches. A voltmeter confirms the alternator is charging. I put it in gear and the C4 is sluggish to shift so we check the fluids and feed the tranny with about three more quarts of Type F fluid. This time, the C4 shifts into gear immediately. I check the brakes and cautiously take the car for a spin. The car steers good and the tranny makes smooth shifts. Itís a driver!
I clean out the trunk and interior. The car has fresh Cobra radial tires, which are a bit oversized. The Cobra logo is hailarious. Lots of things need to be fixed. The coolant overflow has a leak. The horns, window regulators, and heater fans need some TLC. Nevertheless, I am very pleased with the deal.
After a clean up, my Dad and I figure its best to address the surface rust with a converter and use some rattle can paint to seal for the winter. We probably had a little too much fun with our custom paint job on the hood, but at least the rust has been halted. I donít have any particular plans for this gold coupe at the moment, but it definitely helps having another factory-assembled car for reference. It eventually needs a proper mechanical inspection. That was a fun weekend adventure.