This Early Mustang Just Keeps Chugging Along

1966 Mustang
Typically the lowest-spec examples of a car don’t make it to advanced old age in original condition, if at all. They’re un-special enough to give to new drivers or get stripped of their original drivetrain in favor of something more extreme. And yet, here’s this first-generation Mustang parked at a boat launch ramp in California’s sierra foothills. Fifty-ish years old, and it’s still rocking a straight six, three speed and 13″ wheels. That paint looks original and faded/polished down into the primer.

Let’s all take a minute to appreciate the persistence of an unremarkable that dodged a thousand bullets to last this long.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 64 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here

  1. Sjalabais Avatar

    Typically the lowest-spec examples of a car don’t make it to advanced old age in original condition, if at all
    That’s very interesting! I often see the lowest spec Mazda 626/929, Volvos, Mercedes’ and big Toyotas in the best maintained shapes in original owners hands. Often cars the owner could barely afford new, they are still treasured and rarely sold before their guardian dies.

    1. stigshift Avatar

      Here in (what’s left of) the USA, the opposite is usually true. Many such ‘poverty spec’ cars are bought by 1st time new-car buyers, simply because they can afford a new car, and don’t understand the wisdom of buying a much nicer car, used. Others are bought by retirees who would never dream of buying a used car, but really don’t care what they drive. Base level Chryslers were quite popular amongst the retirement condo scene throughout the ’60s-early ’90s. Four door Newports, in white, with vinyl interiors, crank windows, AM radio (or radio-delete) and no options besides A/C were everywhere here in the Tampa Bay area back then. Why anyone would buy a new stripper Newport instead of a used low mileage Cadillac or Lincoln is beyond me. More expensive cars are generally kept longer and in better condition over here.

  2. Andrew Pierce Avatar
    Andrew Pierce

    Join us next week on Reality TV Car Show where we have 6 days to turn this base Mustang into a Bullet/Boss/Shelby clone and sell it at auction! Whew, get you some of that!

    1. stigshift Avatar


  3. Kiefmo Avatar

    This is almost identical to my dad’s second (or third) car — the one he drove to college. His was a base ‘64.5, originally powder blue, but later repainted to something approximating this one. However, it didn’t survive the 70s, as it was flooded in a Florida hurricane storm surge about 2’ deep. He got it running again and drove it until it started falling apart from the rapidly-proceeding rust.

  4. dukeisduke Avatar

    This could be original paint, but the behavior of the paint on the sides makes me wonder if it wasn’t painted with a clearcoat job sometime back, because it looks like clearcoat wearing off. These were originally painted with a single-stage acrylic enamel. GM cars of the time were single-stage “Magic Mirror” acrylic lacquer.
    Hardtops like these with a six and a three-speed are more likely to survive unmolested than a fastback or a convertible, especially ones with V8s. At the least, they get a pony interior (part of the Mustang “Interior Decor Group”) installed somewhere along the way. I imagine there are more Mustangs with pony interiors today than were ever built originally.

    1. mdharrell Avatar

      It’s not the original paint. Not only are you right about the failing clear coat (which didn’t exist until the 1970s) but it shows signs of failing body putty from repairs near the fuel filler and along the left rear quarter panel. Also, although I admit colors can be tricky to identify third-hand on a computer monitor, it doesn’t look quite right for any of the original 1965 blues.

    2. stigshift Avatar

      I was born two weeks before the introduction of the Mustang. I have no love for them for the same reason I hate tri-5 Chevys- I have seen at least one every single day of my life for the past 52 years. The only Chevy from those years that I would actually consider owning is the ’56 Bel Air 4 door hardtop. There are no ’64-6 Mustangs that interest me, except possibly this one.

  5. Froggmann Avatar

    Oh they’re around. I personally know of two that are (nearly) dead stock. One is a daily.

  6. Van_Sarockin Avatar

    Mustang with an I-6 and a three speed may not be astonishing, but it’s pretty bulletproof. They’re too boring for the boy racers. I can imagine plenty surviving in excellent condition. And lucky we are.

  7. Rover 1 Avatar
    Rover 1

    There’s nothing wrong with the old Falcon/Mustang inline six- there’s a version of it still being made which has removed any need for V8s.(But not for much longer)
    Do you need more than 1163 hp?

    1. crank_case Avatar

      I need precisely 1164, it’s no good to me.

  8. neight428 Avatar

    One can pop the hood on these without accessing the interior. Just saying, for the next time one of these needs to be documented for us weirdos.

%d bloggers like this: