The first time I almost bought a '65-66 Mustang convertible was in 1978. I was 16 years old. The car was a '65, automatic, white with a black top and red Pony interior. It also had some "C" stripes, which I didn't like, and some sequential tail lights, probably from a Cougar, to make it look more like a Shelby I guess. The kicker was, it supposedly was a "K" code car but I was too young and new to Mustangs to realize what that meant.

The body, top, and interior had all been nicely redone, but the engine needed work. The guy I was going to buy it from was the owner of the bike shop I was working in at the time. He restored cars in the lower level of the shop and was reducing his collection. He was getting rid of the Mustang for what he had into it... $1200. Yep, $1200 for a solid, K-code convertible. Problem was, I only had $900, and I didn't want to borrow the extra $300. He told me we could work something out. He even got it running for me to listen to. I wasn't sure what to do...

I passed.

A couple days after that, a friend of his bought the car and I showed up at work just in time to see it loaded on the trailer. Standing there looking at it in the light of day, I had a feeling I made a mistake on that one.

Flash forward 26 years, and a friend of mine is selling her '66 because she didn't drive it much, and had just bought a triple black Corvette convertible. This time I took the plunge. Not counting the '74 Mustang I had for a year in college, I finally had a Mustang.

It's an A-code 289, 4-speed, with A/C and a few GT options that were added later in life. At some point it had undergone an amateur restoration, and the further I get into it, the more I realize the guy who did it wasn't much of a mechanic. It's a 20/20 car for sure. When I started to dive into the known problems with it, I found myself following the classic course of getting deeper and deeper into the car. I finally said enough is enough, and decided to simply fix it up enough to drive until I decide what I want to do with it for the long term.

So far I have:

Rebuilt the heater box. The heater lines were MIA when I bought the car, which made for a chilly ride home in 28 degree weather, considering the driver's side vent was wide open and I didn't know how to shut it. As I drove down the highway I had to laugh when I could see my breath every time I exhaled! While I was at it I also replaced the thermostat since the gasket was leaking anyway.

Fixed the dim dash lights - flat white paint on the dash, new bulbs, bulb lenses, and a headlight switch did the trick.

New Speedo cable to fix the shaky needle. The one on the car had been resting up against the cobbled together exhaust system which had melted the covering off of it. The parking brake cable has suffered the same fate, but I haven't gotten to that one yet. It still works...

New Z-bar for the clutch linkage, along with the misc parts to go with it. At some point, Hipo manifolds were put on the car. The old linkage was modified to work with the new manifolds. It wasn't pretty...

Installed a Flaming River steering box. The previous owner thought the steering was little loose. The shop she went to said it was fine, they're all like that. Whatever. I put the new box in and it made a big improvement - no play in the steering now! It has revealed other evils in the front end though, so I think I'll be rebuilding that this winter. And "while I'm at it", I'll probably add a Monte Carlo bar and export brace too. By the way, you can replace the steering box through the top of the car. It's a tight fit, and requires a little twisting and turning, but it can be done. I had to remove the aircleaner and cowl brace (and clutch linkage obviously) but that was about it.

New rear brake lines. The cobbled exhaust is a (very loud) dual system with (absolutely horrible) cherry bomb mufflers. The rear lines were kind of sort of modified to work with the (horrible sounding) dual exhaust, but the rubber line is still too close to the pipes. I have the correct new lines, but have to admit they aren't installed yet. They are next on the to-do list.

Also on the to-do list is replacing the horrible exhaust it has on there now with real mufflers and a correct H-pipe. I have a set of replacement pipes, new mufflers, and a couple types of tailspouts. I'll be using non-stock tailspouts as I'm not a big fan of the GT trumpets. Nothing fancy, just a couple polished tips with rolled ends.

The car needs more work than this, but if I can get these things done I think it'll be a nice driver. I'd like to get into it a lot further, but for now it will have to wait until I get some other projects out of the way.


Update: This car was sold in the spring of 2007. Too many projects...