Even though GHR is just over a month old, I’m still surprised it’s taken me this long to feature a first generation Mustang. The ‘64 – ‘66 coupe might be my favorite pony car.
And the Mustang is a landmark car in Detroit automotive history. Introduced on April 17, 1964, the Mustang is the only Detroit pony car with uninterrupted production, now for over 50 years. Although the first Plymouth Barracuda had been introduced just days before, the Mustang was the genesis of the pony cars soon to come from GM, Chrysler, and AMC.
So you can guess that when I saw Ron’s 1966 coupe at a recent car show, I headed straight to it. It’s an eye-catcher for its paint, body work, stance, interior and super clean engine.
Ron’s had the car one year, and he and his wife Sue are going through every bit of it, with an eye towards period correct appearance and great performance. Sue is an active partner in this hot rodding couple. She and Ron really enjoy working on the Mustang together.
Underneath the hood you’ll find the venerable 289 cubic inch small block Ford. It features a Comp cam, Edelbrock hi-rise manifold, 550 cfm Holley 4 barrel, and an electronic ignition. Ron replaced the stock alternator with a chrome single wire model for more output and better looks. Headers and glasspack dual exhausts complete the V8.
Those components make for a healthy engine, but Ron knew there was more in it. “I was having trouble tweaking it,” he told me, “because there were so many modifications to the engine.” So he took the Mustang to Rome Performance Center in Rome, Georgia, who dynoed the car on their Dynojet chassis dyno. “They’re really good, very knowledgeable,” Ron said about the folks at Rome Performance. “They ended up giving me 10 more horsepower. It’s running like a top.”
Ron likes a clean looking engine compartment that highlights his 289, so he has elected to not add power steering, power brakes, or air conditioning to the car. Skipping the AC takes some conviction for a car driving in the Southeast U.S. but Ron likes the result.
A new stall converter matches up to the Ford C4 Cruise-O-Matic transmission, which is mated to the stock Ford 8-inch rear end. The original coil spring front and leaf spring rear suspensions are still at work. The car’s four drum brakes were all converted to disk brakes prior to Ron purchasing it. The disks look great behind the 16-inch American Racing mags fitted with 235s on the back and 205s up front.
Ron and Sue’s attention to detail extend far beyond the engine. “It was a lot of little things,” Ron told me. All the dash components have been replaced, including a new glove box door, instrument panel and gauge lenses. Ron showed me his cut-up hands, a result of how much he and Sue were digging in under the dash. “If you work on a dash,” he warned, “be patient.” Check out the before and after pictures below for the spectacular results.
But they didn’t stop there. “We redid all the wiring,” he said. “Every bulb in this car works: headlamps, parking lights, dimmer switch, all the lights in the dash.” That’s pretty amazing for a 50 year old automobile.
The exterior is beautiful, and features all new emblems. “As pretty as it is,” Ron said, “I’m going to get it re-painted. I want the paint to be pristine.” I’m not sure how Ron is going to make it look more pristine than it already is, but I suspect he’ll be successful.
A piece of automotive history, modified just the way they like it, makes Ron and Sue’s Mustang the embodiment of what hot rodding is all about.
Photos by GHR and courtesy of Ron