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1966 Ford Mustang Convertible


84TransAm
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I just got back from taking a quick look at my mom's friend's 66 Mustang Convertible. She wanted to learn as much as she could about it and find out the value, and whether its worth restoring etc. From what I saw of the car it looks like your typical early Mustang, rust on all four fenders so they will need to be replaced, the cowl from what I could see looked decent, floors I'm told were replaced, and the motor I'm told was either rebuilt or looked over near the 100,000 mile mark. She also needs a new top. I opened the drivers door to pull the tag numbers to see if there was anything special about it. I didn't see anything that stood out but there were a couple things.

The numbers I pulled were:

6108A25791 (1 could be a T or an F will have to look again)

76B R 66 12K 23 1 6

Now thanks to the usefulness of the internet I quickly discovered what all these meant,

6= Year: 1966

T or F = Plant Location: Metuchen or Dearborn

08= Body Code: Convertible

A= Engine Code: 289 CI 4bbl 225 HP V8

25791 = Consecutive unit number

76B= Body Code: Convertible with Luxury Interior

R= Exterior color: Ivy Green

66= Interior Trim Color: Black Luxury

12K= Production Date: 12 October 1965

23= District Sales Office: Philadelphia

1= Axle: 3.00:1

6= Transmission: Dual Range Automatic (C-4)

It has four wheel drum brakes, no A/C, and it has Power steering. I couldn't get the tag from the engine compartment if there was one there or get a better look at some of the things that could be important due to stuff being piled on and around it. According to 66mustang.net there were 12,520 Luxury convertibles built out of 607,600 cars for the 66 model year. I also hear that Ford didn't keep any records til 67 so a further breakdown by drivetrain is not possible.

Is this car worth restoring? I would say yes despite my bias to manual transmissions. But thats just my opinion. Naturally it comes down to the owners and what they want to do with it. But as a forum and car group would you restore this car, and what would it be worth if it was to be sold on the market in number 1 condition?

Thanks in advance.

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Although I am not a Mustang expert by any means. I would get a good look at the front frame that the steering stuff attaches to, and A frames. These were noted to rot out. I worked on one of these cars for my ex wifes dad back in the early 90's and the sub frame was rotted and full of holes. I told him I would not drive it around the corner like that, and he just laughed at me.... Dandy Dave!

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I agree with Dandy Dave, if one of these early unibody cars is rusty, then it's a mess to try to fix. It's usually evident if one has been hit in the front, the metal crosspiece in front of the radiator won't be straight, or you can see where an inner fender has been spliced in place. Look at the four bolts, two bolts on each side of shock tower, which adjust front end alignment. All bolts should have about the same amount of thread sticking out. If not, there's an issue with the front end. Look at the torque boxes, located behind front tires inside the fender. If those are rusty, or bulging from inner rust, run don't walk away from car. ANY major rust issues are enough to nix the deal, unless you're a bodyman and welder. Good luck dc

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Most parts to rebuild an early Mustang are available and reasonable in price. It is not for the weak of heart though. Major areas of concern are the inner frame rails, torque boxes and floors(as noted above) and also the panel under the cowl. Yes there are more spots that go bad but those are very common. A Mustang convert in #1 shape would bring $20,000 - $35,000. But to have someone restore one in bad shape to #1 would cost that much or more. Where is the car located?

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The car is located in eastern NJ so its probably due to the fact that it is a northeast car. She told me they bought it from the son of a car dealer (I presume it was a Ford dealer) in the 70s. They've had the car ever since. Its been parked for the past ten years. During discussion about the car I brought up the idea of just getting it running and driving again and they seemed to like that one. So we might not do anything with the body at all. I guess what the car has going for it is the fact that it is a Luxury Convertible with an A code V8. I know any common American V8 be it Ford or Chevy is going to be cheap to work on or rebuild. Also as I might have stated before, the interior might just need a real good cleaning. It has been in the garage for the past ten years. Considering my 84 Trans Am sat outside on pavement for the better part of the past 12 years the rust is not bad on the car. Using that as a comparison the rust might not be any worse than the fenders and quarters. I'll have to talk to her and her dad about working on it and seeing if we can't get it out of the garage or clean the garage and get it off the floor (its on rims tires are flat) so I can get a better idea of how bad the rust is.

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Here are some photos of the car, I know they are lousy but it was the best I could do without moving everything off the car making a bigger mess than there already was.

Front Passenger side was what was hit. However, from what I saw she might be able to get away with just replacing the fender. Naturally because of all the stuff on the hood I couldn't open it for further inspection. That might come later.

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post-58766-143138137373_thumb.jpg

post-58766-143138137377_thumb.jpg

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Another major rust spot is the unibody round where the rear springs mount. Again fixable but major pain. That can be bad even on fairly clean Mustangs.

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Showing pevious body filler over rust on rear quarter....So, I'd look at the areas that were mentioned by others. Body filler applied over rot actually makes it sometimes look like a hopeless car, but there is a slight chance the rest is not really bad.

Look up under the dash at the sheetmetal above the wires, etc. That would be where the cowl rots out due to the leaves and dirt that gets into the cowl vent.

Torque boxes are boxed-in connections where the so called frame extensions meet the body shell, at front and rear.

Also the frame extensions; look at the sides and bottoms.

Is that a triple black car? That would be one sharp car all done up.

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Is that a triple black car? That would be one sharp car all done up.

It looks like one in the photos, but its actually a color code R Ivy Green car with a black top and black Luxury interior. Some areas of the paint look like they would clean up real nice.

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Well this is not the first mustang that I've seen that was rusted like this. We had one in the shop at school when I was in college that was a K code fastback....that one has had just about every piece of metal short of the roof replaced. Like I said above, maybe we will just see if we can get it running and driving again, and worry about the body and rust later (if the frame will hold up...which has yet to be seen...). I suppose if I helped them out (I was an Auto Restoration Major in college) I could help with the chassis, motor work, some body work and the interior, but welding and metal fab are not my thing (I can do it though). So we will see how this goes. I told her she could sell it to someone who might restore it and enjoy it but now is not the time to do that as the muscle car market had the bottom dropped out of it and the economy is in the crapper. Besides, I think if they can do something about it, they like the car too much. And being a V8 convertible...this was no secretary car.....

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Wow now that is some rust!

Luckily my 66 Mustang body is rust free.

pic1355.jpg

pic1354.jpg

But it is also fiberglass and brand new from the original factory mold. I am putting it on my original gas powered frame and it will look like this again.

car4.jpg

Junior Central Main page

Looks like a '65 to me....didn't the '66 have some "fingers" coming off of the chrome quarter panel insert?

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Looks like a '65 to me....didn't the '66 have some "fingers" coming off of the chrome quarter panel insert?

If you are referring to the Mustang I posted photos of it is a '66. I confirmed that with the body tag on the driver's door. The rust free body was a good laugh. Obviously it was a pedal car :D. I believe that trim is missing on the car if I recall correctly.

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If you are referring to the Mustang I posted photos of it is a '66. I confirmed that with the body tag on the driver's door. The rust free body was a good laugh. Obviously it was a pedal car :D. I believe that trim is missing on the car if I recall correctly.
Nope...I was referring to the pedal car body.
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I am currently working on my 2nd 66 stang and from what I see in the photos, I would say that the car is rebuildable but plan to sink 15,000 in the process if you could do most of the work yourself. Good luck and you will have one fun car. Nothing like a Mustang to have a good time with.

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Another major rust spot is the unibody round where the rear springs mount. Again fixable but major pain. That can be bad even on fairly clean Mustangs.

A friend bought one from NJ and when the spring pulled loose it launched the rear seat cushion. Good advice from Jim!

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  • 1 month later...

Ok I thought I would post an update. My mom's friend's father took me up on my offer to attempt to get it running again. I've gone down twice. In those two days I cleaned out mouse nests, leaves, leaves, and more leaves. No doubt the leaves are from the mice. He was shocked to find the engine bay such a mess. Cleaned it out and started pulling the plugs. It turned over easily with a wrench on the crank. This motor certainly can be brought back from the dead. Today I got the rest of the plugs out, put in new ones, replaced the cap, rotor, wires. And next step will be the battery and try to see if it will crank. I'll see if I can't get the old gas out too. If I can't I'm sure as some of you know, theres ways around that. The right rear quarter was replaced at some point. The right front was hit. He really likes the car and I know my mom's friend and her siblings are fighting over it. One question that came up. The tire size on the tires said E70-14. I'm going to do some searching but what is the equivalent of that in todays tire size world. These tires are totally gone. He doesn't want to spend much money on the car for something that will sit in the garage for more time than it will be on the road. Therefore Coker Tire is out of the question. And the other question is what to use for fuel in the car. It used leaded gas when it was last on the road but alas its not available anymore in NJ. Any recommendations for fuel in today's modern world?

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yes they did

65 (including 64 1/2):

qualitymustangparts_2070_10221044

66:

qualitymustangparts_2070_12299660

Two other differences to tell between the 65 and 66 Mustangs:

Grill - the '65 has a grill that is smaller diamond type pattern, where the '66 is small rectangles.

Dash - The '65 has the long dash cluster, where the '66 has the round speedometer in the center, with two smaller round guages on each side of the speedometer. I have been told that the '65 dash cluster is the same as the Ford Falcons, but I've never been close enough to a Ford Falcon to ever look at the dash to compare them.

For your own good, besides the unibody and floorboards, I'd also raise the hood and check your shock towers and inner fenders. Depending on condition, the car might be better used as a donor car for parts.

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For your own good, besides the unibody and floorboards, I'd also raise the hood and check your shock towers and inner fenders. Depending on condition, the car might be better used as a donor car for parts.

I have been under the hood on this car as I'm trying to get it running so they can move it around without pushing it. This car appears to be rock solid except for the right front fender being hit (I've seen rusted out mustangs...this is not one of them sofar) even the battery tray seems solid which I'll confirm when I replace the battery. The right rear quarter had been replaced at some point. Since it is on rims I haven't gotten a good look at the under side yet, but the floorboards have been replaced as well. Anyway, does anyone have an idea as to the modern tire size? 185/75R14 is what I've been seeing.

I'll post up more photos of the car when I get the chance. I will get photos of the front clip under the hood, besides the usual quarter issues and possibly new front fenders this car has not shown any serious rust issues. The tag near the right front fender is still there, and it has a nice patina on the paint. The interior is not showing much other than needing a serious cleaning, Even the chrome while needing to be replated shows only surface rust, no real rot. This car sat in a garage for close to 20 years if not more. While some might say this is a lost cause I'm seeing otherwise sofar and I know a mustang that ended up having everything replaced except for the roof. I think they want to keep it and maybe the kids will restore it. I think the garage being a mess added to the uncertainty and also I only got those photos because I could. I can get better photos now and post them. I don't know when I'll be back in town to work on that car though, it might be a week or it might be a month.

Edited by 84TransAm
more info (see edit history)
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I can't tell you the correct tire size, but between Coker Tire, the AACA Library and MCA (the Mustang Club of America) that should be an easy find.

Just to ensure that no codes have been changed, if the car came with a V-8 engine it'll have 5 bolt wheels, if the car came with a 6 cylinder, it'll have 4 bolt wheels. If you see a 289 engine with 4-bolt wheels, then you know to suspect something wrong.

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185-75R14 are a good replacement tire for the Mustang.

Thanks, I'll make the call with that size so the owner knows what tire to get. He and the guy at the tire store weren't sure. Reason why I asked here was people are using a couple different tire sizes on those cars.

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Two other differences to tell between the 65 and 66 Mustangs:

Grill - the '65 has a grill that is smaller diamond type pattern, where the '66 is small rectangles.

Dash - The '65 has the long dash cluster, where the '66 has the round speedometer in the center, with two smaller round guages on each side of the speedometer. I have been told that the '65 dash cluster is the same as the Ford Falcons, but I've never been close enough to a Ford Falcon to ever look at the dash to compare them.

1965:

65mustanggrille.jpg

65mustangdash.png

1966:

66mustanggrille.jpg

66mustangdash.png

the GT Mustangs had the same dash both years, but the glove box changed in 66.

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  • 3 months later...

He asked about E70x14 not E78. I Would suggest 195x70x14s as closer to an E70 but, like the originals, they will look awfully small. Since it is probably a 5" rim, this is about as big as you should go.

BTW the letter grades related more to volume than section width. So an 175x80 is about the same as a 185x75 and a 195x70 and all would be "E" equivalents. Similarly a 205x70 would be about an "F" and 215x70 a "G".

For the Mustang look for a tire with a load range close to 89. Kumho seems to have several.

Of course since he asked the question three months ago it is probably already tired but others may find this of interest.

Edited by padgett (see edit history)
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