If you could have just one old car for fun, what might it be? For
millions, it's probably a 1966 Mustang convertible just like this.
With a bubbly 289 V8, classic color combination, and that vintage
Mustang charm, it is one legend that certainly lives up to the
Mustangs always work best in bright, sunny colors and red certainly qualifies. It was repainted at some point, but the color is pretty close to Signalflare Red, which was on the color charts in 1966, so it looks right. It appears that the bodywork underneath was in great shape and nothing has changed in the intervening 50 years, with crisp lines, good alignment, and doors that open and close with reassuring precision. Not trying to be something it isn't, there are no Shelby stripes or even fake GT badges, although it does have a GT rear valence with exhaust trumpets poking through, a look that really should have been standard equipment. There's the grille with running pony emblem, '289' badges on the fenders, and the three-element taillights, all of which make it perhaps the most recognizable car on the planet, and with shiny chrome bumpers it still looks bright and nicely detailed.
The black interior is the right choice with the red bodywork; red cars with white interiors always look like candy canes or an ambulance. Low back buckets wear correct reproduction seat covers with pleated inserts, and they flank a factory center console with the T-handle shifter. The carpets, dash, and door panels are equally nice and don't look like they've spent decades in the hot sun, so they have surely been replaced along the way, too. Factory instruments in the 5-gauge panel that became standard in '66 look good, and that's a correct 3-spoke steering wheel grip. The factory AM radio is still in the middle of the dash, but it's ready to be replaced by something a bit more contemporary. The black convertible top is in decent shape but looks like it's spent a lot of time folded under the contrasting white boot. Open the trunk and you'll find a reproduction mat, which is sitting on top of a brand new gas tank (yes, the gas tank is the floor of a Mustang's trunk).
Ford wasn't doing the matching numbers thing in 1966, so we can't tell you whether this is the original 289, but it looks quite correct and has that wonderful small block Ford sound that is a big part of the Mustang's appeal. This is a real C-code car, so all the hardware around it is suitably beefy for the V8's power output (unlike the converted 6-cylinder cars), and it has been smartly upgraded with a 4-barrel carburetor for a bit more power. A few dress-up items like valve covers, red wires, and an open-element air cleaner give it a slightly custom look. It's backed by an effortless C4 3-speed automatic transmission and 3.00 gears out back, so cruising is low-effort, but the engine's torque makes it a lot of fun, and a fresh front disc brake set-up helps you stop. The underside is unrestored, but you can see what we mean about this car taking it easy for the past few decades, and a burbling dual exhaust system gives it just the right soundtrack to earn its Mustang credentials. Factory steel wheels with wire hubcaps and 195/75/14 whitewalls add to the cheerful look.
This is the new baseline for V8 Mustang convertibles, and they're only going up from here. If you've been waiting to buy one, don't wait too long, because cars like this just don't last long. Call today!
The first pre-production hardtop to receive a Ford serial number will be offered at no reserve during the Scottsdale auction in January
How would feel if Ford added two doors its iconic vehicle line?
Drive Toward a Cure staging raffle of BRM Chronographe watch with hand-painted Nicolas Hunziker artwork
Get behind the wheel of Ford’s legendary car that started a movement
Vaughn Gittin Jr. drifts his way around the Nordschleife
It took 17 years, but Christine is back in the garage
This is the 17th in a 30-day countdown to Barrett-Jackson’s annual Las Vegas collector car auction
The Pick of the Day is a low-mileage fastback equipped with its original 428cid Cobra Jet V8
The Pick of the Day is a rare and scantly remembered performance pony car