Sunday, June 26, 2011

High-Performance 1957 Ford Fairlane 500s

A Pair of 1957 Ford Musclecars
Text and Photos by David W. Temple, Historical photos from author's files
By the time the 1957 model year cars hit the pavement, the post-war horsepower race had been well underway. Automobile manufacturers were backing race teams with performance equipment because racing was becoming a popular sport and helping to sell cars. As noted in an article which appeared in the 1958 annual issue of Motorspeed, “If the car wins frequently, there is publicity that follows naturally. That publicity is often better than advertising, so dealers sell more cars.”
By the mid-fifties some in authority began to notice the rising highway death toll. Seeking an issue upon which to capitalize, it did not take long for the politicians to point at the way cars were being made and advertised. Such talk got the attention of the rule-making body of the National Association of Stock Car Automobile Racing (NASCAR).
1957 Fairlane 500 Club Sedan with the F-code Y-Block
In April 1957, NASCAR prohibited the use of fuel-injection, multiple carburetion, and supercharging – all of which were in use on the speedways. This action proved too little, too late. Because they wished to avoid the kind of scrutiny the feds were starting to give auto manufacturing, the Automobile Manufacturers Association (AMA) banned factory-backed racing the following June. Officially the Big Three complied with this decision; however, Ford was the only one to take it seriously.
A secondary reason for the AMA edict was the tremendous cost involved in staying competitive. The same 1958, Motorspeed article stated this opinion:
“Stock car racing was a highly expensive venture. It diverted the interest of the engineers, the public relations people and the sales executives away from their principle reason for existing – selling automobiles.
“To be kept in its true perspective auto racing should have been one of the sales aids, but it became an all consuming monster.”
 The “all consuming monster” did not go away in spite of the AMA ban. Pontiac basically ignored the ban. Chevy went a bit further by disguising its performance equipment under the banner of “for police use only.” Chrysler Corp. had already dropped out of speedway competition, but continued to be involved with events such as Daytona Speedweeks. Taking the ban seriously, Ford sold all of its equipment to race team Holman-Moody.
340hp superchardged 312
Even without factory involvement in the last part of the race season, the teams racing Ford cars managed 27 Grand National victories. Runner-up, Chevrolet, succeeded in obtaining 18 wins. In USAC competition the supercharger set-up was legal for the entire season and Ralph Moody drove one to victory in four races. Overall, Ford managed 12 USAC wins for ‘57. This season had been the best to date for Ford – greatly exceeding the 14 NASCAR wins of the previous year and the lowly two NASCAR victories achieved in 1955. Ford was on a roll; then the politicians got involved.
Post war hot rods started appearing from FoMoCo for the 1952, model year. Lincoln became involved in the Pan American races at this point and continued through 1954. Ford began competing with its 205hp, Y-block[*], 292 Interceptor-equipped racers in 1955. Pete Depoalo, an ex-race car driver, was hired by Ford to assist in making its cars competition ready. For 1956, Ford provided an enlarged version of the Y-block (sized at 312 cubic inches) with dual four-venturi induction. About this time rumors began circulating that rival Chevrolet might offer a supercharged Corvette. Depoalo recommended that a supercharger be made available for the 312 and hired Curtis Turner and Joe Weatherly to drive for Ford. Ford acted on the advice and made a deal with Paxton to supply superchargers. The supercharged 312 became available in January 1957, on any Ford passenger cars (including the Ranchero, Skyliner, and station wagon models).
Factory shop manual for F-code engine
The 312 was offered with a single four-venturi carburetor and 9.7 to 1 compression giving 245hp, as a dual four set-up (and the same compression rating) with 270 or 285hp depending on the cam and heads used, and of course the blown type with 8.6 to 1 compression delivering either 300hp at 4800rpm or 340hp at 5300rpm – again depending upon the cam and heads attached. Any transmission (three-speed manual, three-speed manual with optional overdrive, and the Ford-O-Matic) could be specified with these engines.
To show off the new '57 Fairlane, a blown version lapped the Indianapolis Speedway at an average speed of 117 mph in the Stephen Trophy Trials. Furthermore, for twenty-two days starting September 9, 1956, two Fairlanes were run continuously at 110 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. Pit stops lasted an average of 17 seconds. The cars ran day and night until the 28th when the 50,000 mile mark was reached, thus proving the car's superior durability. Prior to this event, the same Fairlanes broke 458 national and international performance records.
Ford advertising banner
The results at the annual Daytona Speedweeks event were impressive, too. The supercharged Fairlane driven by Fran Hernandez finished third with a 130.058 mph Class 7 two-way flying mile speed run. Class 7 was the over 350 cubic-inch displacement category. The 312-powered Ford had to compete with a 392 hemi-equipped Chrysler 300C, a 364 outfitted Buick, and a Dodge with a 354 V-8. The top five results were as follows:
1957 300-C
1957 Buick
130.766 mph
1957 Ford
130.058 mph
1957 Dodge
129.753 mph
1957 Buick
129.683 mph

In the Class 7 acceleration, one mile, standing start event the same blown Fairlane managed an average speed of 85.066 mph placing it behind a '57 300C and '57 Mercury (equipped with a 368 cid engine) with average speeds of 86.873 and 85.511 mph respectively.
A twin-carb 312 Fairlane driven by Bud Wilcox placed fifth in Class 6 competition.  The top five finishers were as indicated:
1957 Pontiac
131.747 mph
1957 Pontiac
131.531 mph
1957 Pontiac
128.434 mph
1957 Plymouth
126.205 mph
1957 Ford
125.239 mph

The charged-up Fords proved to be just as fast as the "fuelie" Chevrolets.  Both were capable of 130 mph top speeds. The Fords seemed to have the advantage on the fast speedways while the Chevy did better of the short tracks.
A '57 Ford at Daytona Speedweeks
A road test performed on a 245hp, four-door sedan Fairlane 500 and reported on in the January 1957, issue of Hot Rod showed the car to be a relatively good handling vehicle. Pushing the car into some serious turns at 55 mph at “near-full power in the Ford’s intermediate gear” resulted in the car going “around as if on rails.” At 60 mph chassis roll “reached its limit” and at 70 mph “the car rounded the turn ‘way wide despite the fact the front wheels were fully cramped into the turn.” The article referred to the improved (compared to 1956) front ball joint suspension, the more rigid one piece upper and lower A-arms, and improved weight distribution. Their tests did reveal faults in the Fairlane, though. Changing the sway bar from the standard 5/8 inch type to the 11/16 inch version used on station wagons or to a 3/4 inch bar was recommended. Also, stiffer shocks and torque dividing differential were mentioned as other desirable features to add to the chassis.
In analyzing the steering the same article stated, “It is both light and accurate ... but the overall steering ratio of 27 to 1 is entirely too slow for quick and easy-made corrections.” The report noted the Ford-Bendix power steering unit had “a reassuring feel” and “is responsive though slow, and continues as one of the very best power steering units available.”
Braking was evaluated and considered to be good during normal operation, but when things became livelier, brake fade took place “sooner than expected”. The brake system was carried over from ‘56.
The final observation in the Hot Rod report was, “Mechanically, the ‘57 Ford is a very sound automobile. It isn’t without faults, but it contains a minimum of bad ones and most of these were due to compromises made for the sake of styling. It performs well, is quite roadworthy and driving it can be a real ball ... I’ll bet they’ll sell a jillion of ‘em.”
Production amounted to 1,653,068 units which was good enough to edge out Chevrolet. Of those, 39,843 were the Fairlane 500 two-door Club Sedan model like the examples illustrated here. Production breakdown for the 2x4 barrel (E-code engine) and supercharged (F-code engine) equipped cars is not available. Interestingly, though, is the fact NASCAR rules of the day required an automaker to advertise the engine and have a minimum of 100 units delivered to dealers by January 1, 1957. Additionally, 1,500 units had to be scheduled for production by January 15. A total of 208 Thunderbirds were assembled with the F-code engine. If this figure is included with the 1,500 required units, then 1,292 full-size, supercharged Fords were needed to meet NASCAR rules. The NASCAR ban in April along with the AMA agreement in June certainly precluded such a production total. In fact, the actual figure probably did not come anywhere near 1,292. Most likely only a few hundred were built. The same would apply to the E-code engine, although they were probably more common due to the lower cost of the option.
A 270hp E-code 312 Y-Block powers the Flame Red and Raven Black car.
Styling of the ‘57 full-size Fords received influence from the Ford Mystere show car which was completed in late 1954. The hood and scalloped front fender design was taken virtually unaltered from the unique show vehicle. The Mystere’s large round tail lamps appeared in subdued fashion as well.
The two Fairlane 500 Club Sedans pictured belong to Z. T. Parker of Henderson, Texas. The Inca Gold and Raven Black F-code Ford (minus its engine and transmission) was discovered in nearby Jacksonville in the mid-80s. Other than through the “F” in the serial number, Parker was able to authenticate his find by the three-inch wide brake shoes (as compared with the standard 2 ½ -inch shoes), the larger axle retaining bolts, and the assembly plant code for Dearborn. All of the F-code cars were built at this plant.  Both the 300 and 340hp cars shared the same engine code.
Fortunately, the lack of the powerplant did not present a problem for Parker. Z.T. drag raced a Ranch Wagon equipped with a transplanted 340hp 312 back in the '60s.  After his drag racing days ended in 1971, he removed the engine and placed it in storage. Over the years Parker manually rotated the crank and supercharger once a month to prevent seizure of the internals. Even so, he opened the engine during the restoration just to be sure everything was in top form. New bearings and rings made certain of this.
The date codes (August) on both the block and the car’s data plate match, leading Z.T. to suspect the engine is probably back in the car from which it originally came. Further supporting his suspicion are the facts that August was the last month of production for the supercharged engine and very few of these cars made their way into Parker’s area.
Turbine wheel covers were optional.
Parker and friend, Al Richards handled every aspect of the restoration except for paint, upholstery, and replating the chrome. The effort consumed nearly three years. Z.T. drives the car to nearby shows, but has logged only a few hundred miles in it since 1986. Parker says that with the stock 290-degree cam, “It doesn’t idle very smooth. It’s not a smooth performer at low speeds either, so it by no means could qualify as a daily driver. This type of engine is designed to run best when wide open which isn’t practical around town.”
Later in 1990, Z.T. received a call that led to the acquisition of the E-code Fairlane. The call originated from an Alabama resident who had seen an earlier article on Mr. Parker's supercharged car in a musclecar publication. The man explained he had ordered the twin four-barrel Fairlane in 1957, and although it now needed a total restoration, it was complete and most importantly, for sale. A purchase agreement was achieved shortly afterwards and Z.T. soon hauled the rare 270hp sedan back to Henderson.
Inspection of the data plate revealed an "S" for the paint code. Research revealed the code designated special order paint. The Flame Red and Raven Black two-tone scheme proved to be original, but was reversed from what would commonly be found. In other words, the sides and roof would customarily be black and the hood, fender tops, and rear deck, red. As you can see just the opposite is true here.
As was the case with the other Ford, the 270hp car was nearly rust-free. Light rust had infected the front floor pans; only sandblasting was necessary to remedy this problem. This time Al Richards performed the paint application. The body-off-frame restoration concluded in early 1995.
Mr. Parker says that the E-code engines had a tendency to backfire through the carbs leading to a fire. He experienced this first-hand shortly before taking the car to its first show. Luckily, the fire was snuffed out quickly and only some paint on the air cleaner received damage.
Both cars are identically optioned with two-tone paint, three-speed manual transmission, heater, whitewall tires, turbine style wheel covers, and AM radio.
The E- and F-code Fords of 1957 represent some of the first serious musclecars produced in the United States and are also significant because they ultimately led to the big block-powered Fords of the '60s.

[*] One persistent myth about the Y-block is that its cross-section provided strength to the main bearings. Actually it gave strength to the transmission mounting points – an area of weakness with the Flathead.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

1949 Ford Custom Convertible

Pandora’s Shoebox Ford
Text by David W. Temple
Photos by author except as credited
Soon after World War II ended, Ford Motor Company was facing the prospect of bankruptcy. The difficult financial problems of Ford Motor Co. at that time meant the newest Ford models since the Model A would have to be designed as cheaply and quickly as possible yet meet the expectations of buyers. A crash program ensued. As a result, the ’49 Fords were not very good and their deficiencies are a problem for restorers of the model today. Even so, the 1949 Ford most likely saved the company from extinction.
Today, the 1949-1951 Fords are known as the “shoebox Fords” and are popular with the customizing crowd. Restoring a 1949 model to its original condition presents challenges the other two model year Fords do not.
A floor from a sedan replaced the badly rusted original.
(Paul Bergthold)
The1949 Ford Custom convertible shown on these pages was bought sight unseen based on photos and a description by the seller. It was described as restored, though the seller noted the car’s frame did have a rust issue. Upon its arrival at Gordon Fenner’s home in Longview, Texas, the Ford seemed solid enough and was seemingly drivable. Dummy spotlights and the “fire engine red” paint were not particularly appealing to Gordon, but those issues could be remedied later. “Later” came after about three years of ownership.
In 2007, Gordon decided to have his car repainted in a factory shade, Midland Maroon. He took the car the short distance to a familiar restoration shop, R&R Restoration, where they had beautifully restored a 1949 Cadillac convertible for Gordon about a decade earlier. Gordon explained to them he wanted a repaint rather than a major restoration. Seemingly, a professional repaint and some detailing would be enough. However, the staff soon noticed the lack of door weatherstripping and the doors did not close as they should. They suspected serious rust in the body. The Ford was in the process of being sanded for a repaint when underlying problems began to be fully revealed. Upon using some compressed air to blow away the paint dust, a large section of paint peeled away. To get the repaint right, the body had to be stripped to bare metal which typically requires a paint stripper to perform. In the case of this car, though, compressed air got most of it off. That which still adhered was sanded with 80-grit sandpaper. With the paint removed the sloppy bodywork was very evident – sheet metal patch panels were found to have been placed over rusted sections of the lower body. A “Pandora’s box” had been opened. Rust had taken a severe toll on the body. Nearly the entire interior floor, rocker panels, lower quarters, and trunk floor needed replacement. Even the frame was worse then expected. In short, everything below the level of the bottom of the doors needed new metal. Furthermore, the engine was found to have problems. The previous so-called restoration was a patch job at best. If the phrase, “lipstick on a pig,” was ever appropriate, then it was certainly applicable for this car. A simple repaint clearly would not suffice. In fact, the car was not even safe to drive. Gordon opted to have his car restored to the point of having an eye-appealing appearance, being mechanically reliable, and structurally sound. It would not be made into a 100-point show car.
The rear clip awaits reattachment.
(Paul Bergthold)
Problems with the 1949 design were and are numerous. Panel fit was not very good; hood hinges and door latches were poorly designed; the trunk support was clumsy; window regulators wore out quickly; water leaks were a problem especially for the convertible; floor pans received only primer so they quickly began to rust; brake drums were not sealed well around the backing plates allowing water to get inside reducing braking efficiency; fuel often spilled out on the quarter panel due to the design of the filler which stuck through the quarter panel and had an exposed chrome cap. The latter was fixed through a dealer accessory known as the gas neck whistle. When fuel reached the device it literally began to whistle to warn the tank was full. This accessory is still in good supply in NOS form from Shoebox Ford Parts. (The problem was eliminated on the 1950-model Fords by employing a recessed filler pipe.) Other deficiencies were solved along the way. Door latches had no simple fix. They sometimes failed in a turn leading to more than one person falling from the car.
Styling updates make the ‘49s and ‘50s somewhat easy to differentiate. Parking lamps were greatly altered and a Ford crest replaced the chromed “FORD” letters on the hood for ‘50. A Ford crest was also mounted on the trunk lid. For these and other more substantial reasons, the 1950 models would be advertised as “50 ways finer” though in reality there were much more than 50 modifications. According to Chris Whittington, owner of Shoebox Ford Parts, the ’50 models are the best of the 1949-1951 Fords to own due to the many refinements engineered into them. (The ‘51s should have been at least as good as the ‘50s, but shortages of copper and nickel due to the Korean War resulted in poor chrome plating. He is sympathetic to those restoring the ‘49s, but thinks a better idea is to restore a ’50.
Chris noted that replacing the door latching system on a ’49 Ford can be a major problem. Used parts are no better than the originals and NOS components are very scarce and expensive. Updating to the 1950-model setup requires the installation of the 1950-type doors and door jambs which are needed for the much improved latching system. Of course this is major bodywork, but this is what a restorer faces. In the case of the subject car, NOS components for a ’49 were found. Furthermore, the striker’s original style aluminum retainers located inside the door jamb were replaced with custom-fabricated steel pieces which were of course threaded. As per the original design, the screws would eventually loosen; periodic re-tightening of these screws wore out the threads of the weaker aluminum units. The original pieces were installed prior to the quarter panel being welded in place. Once that was done, access to them later became a problem. A slit had to be cut to install the new steel retainers on the subject car.
Chris offers the 1950-type hood hinges to replace the poorly operating 1949 versions. The problem with the original hinges is the hood can shift side-to-side and its geometry is wrong; if not pulled forward while lifting it will drag the cowl and scrape the paint. The ’50-style hinges push the back of the hood up first before arcing toward the cowl and eliminate the side-to-side shifting. Window regulators have a fix, too. The original soft, center gear of the regulator which easily chipped can be replaced with a modern CNC gear. In terms of the drivetrain, says Chris, the 1949 Fords were reliable.
Midland Maroon, a factory offering, was the color chosen. (Gordon Fenner)
By the time this ’49 was dismantled the body was in three major sections – cowl, floor & rockers, and rear clip. And the frame… to say it had a rust issue was an understatement. This car had spent much of its existence in New York and then later went to Beaumont, Texas along the Gulf Coast, so the reason for the severe corrosion was obvious. A contributing factor to the rusted frame was its boxed design. Though drain holes were provided, eventually dirt and debris collected within thus trapping water. There are five body-mount points on each side of the frame between the wheels; only one did not need to be recreated. Cost considerations made obtaining a replacement frame not a viable option, so the original had to be repaired. The frame was reinforced with plate steel MIG-welded with a Millermatic 180 Auto-Set.
A 1949 sedan floor pan was located and purchased to replace the original; with some relocating of floor braces it fit perfectly. Inner and outer rocker panels, floor braces, and lower quarters are reproduced so these components are readily available. EMS Automotive, suppliers of 1935-1951 Ford (and Chevy) body parts, was the source of the patch panels used on our feature car. As is typical with reproduction patch panels, these needed some work for proper fit. To make the multi-piece body whole again, the cowl and rear clip were bolted to the restored frame followed by the installation of the doors. The door hinges have no adjustment; they are bolted to the cowl and doors with countersunk bolts. As per the shop manual for these cars, the hinges must be bent to obtain the proper alignment. Once the correct door gap was obtained a strap was welded between each door and quarter panel to secure it. At this point the rocker panels were welded into place, and then the straps between the doors and quarters were removed. As with the frame repairs, a MIG welder was used to butt weld all the sheet metal together.
The process of preparing a paintable surface began with two coats of DuPont DTM 2580CR primer. Next was the application of a skim coat of Rage Extreme filler first roughed out with 40-grade followed by 80, then a final sanding with 150-grade. The next step was applying a single coat of DTM sealer. Three coats of ChromaPremiere 2K 32430 primer went on next. This was block sanded with 150-grade then 320-grade sandpaper and sealed with ChromaPremiere 42460 (value shade 6) primer. It is designed to minimize the amount of the color coat needed. Minimizing the amount of paint used reduces the cost of the paint and reduces the chances of problems (such as the paint cracking) later. Three coats of base coat followed by three coats of clear 72200 were sprayed on and allowed to air dry. In the Texas summer this almost amounts to baking the paint literally. Once dry, stick sanding with 1000-grade, then progressing to 1500 and finally 3000-grade sandpaper resulted in a glass-smooth surface. Buffing with finer and finer 3M Trizact compound provided a high-gloss surface.
One area of the car which was not a mess was the suspension system. After everything was checked for tightness, only cosmetic work and the installation of new grease seals on the steering linkage was found to be required. Even the shocks were good. The rear end was drained of oil, checked for problems (with none found) and reinstalled. Chassis black paint made the undercarriage fresh looking again.
All brake shoes, wheel cylinders, and spring kits were replaced with new parts sourced from Shoebox Ford Parts. New steel brake lines (as was the fuel line) were custom-fabricated by R&R Restoration from tube stock.
There were other problems to remedy. The original flathead V-8 had never been rebuilt. Someone had simply replaced the rod and main bearings. Fortunately, Gordon had barely driven the car prior to bringing it to the restoration shop. The oil galleries were plugged as were the water jackets. Sludge inside the oil pan was extreme. Additionally, the block had multiple cracks. A short block (with an old remanufacturer's tag) was acquired to replace the unserviceable unit; it needed to have one cylinder sleeved due to a bad score. (Some will undoubtedly cringe at the thought, but when properly installed a sleeved cylinder is a reliable fix.) Cylinders were then bored .030 oversize. Prior to reinstalling it, the engine was bench-tested for faults and fortunately none were found.
The manually shifted three-speed transmission needed only its oil changed and a fresh coat of chassis black to renew it. Incidentally, overdrive was an extra-cost factory option but this car was not equipped with it.
The interior is one of the easier parts of the 1949 Ford to restore. Lebaron Bonney makes a complete kit including ready to install door and quarter trim panels just like the originals. A local shop, Action Seat Covers, handled fitting these and the reproduction seat covers including new padding. A convertible top, also obtained from Lebaron Bonney, was also fitted by the same shop. However, before the top material was ready to install, the top’s framework and pump had to be restored. The mechanism was sandblasted clean and the right side rail was welded to the header (it had cracked). New paint was then applied. Hydro-E-Letric, well-known to hobbyists, rebuilt the convertible top pump.
After nearly three years of work, this '49 was finally ready to be enjoyed. Gordon takes his Ford to local cruise nights and car shows where it draws its share of admirers, though few of them know what was required to get it there.

Friday, June 3, 2011

1966 Mustang Sprint 6 Convertible

A Perfect Match
Text and Photos by David W. Temple

The competition between automobile manufacturers for sales of their products sometimes has some unexpected results. Chevrolet’s rear-engine Corvair revealed a market for a relatively cheap sporty car – specifically their Corvair Monza with bucket seats showed the way to the competition. Ford’s first Mustang, the mid-engine 1962 Mustang I was the company’s first experiment with a personal sporty car. This styling study, however, was not something which would be cost-effective to mass produce. Their next one, the 1963 Mustang II show car, foretold the styling and design approach Ford had chosen for their production version.
Ford’s managers estimated the new Mustang released for sale in April 1964 as a 1965 model would account for 100,000 sales per year. That total was reached even before the actual 1965 model year started. By the end of the run of the original design, a total of nearly 1.3 million Mustangs were sold! To say the original “pony car” was popular would be an understatement; clearly it was popular in the extreme. The same is true even after more than four decades. What made the car so desirable to buyers beyond its great styling were its price ($2,368 for the hardtop less options) and its lengthy list of options and accessories to enable buyers to custom tailor the car to their personal tastes. For instance, an inline six-cylinder engine coupled to a three-speed manual transmission was standard while a V8 could be had for a little more than an additional $100 and an automatic transmission added less than $200 to the base price. The majority (see table) were equipped with an optional V8 and the Cruise-O-Matic three-speed transmission. Interestingly, a four-speed was also available, but relatively few were so ordered.
For many of those nearly 1.3 million buyers, the Mustang was their first car. Our featured Candy Apple Red example was the first car for a sixteen year old living in East Texas. His father, who probably deliberately avoided a V8 equipped version, bought it new for him. The streets may have been much safer by his action, but his son was terribly embarrassed by having to drive a car with a six-cylinder – so much so that the car had V8 badges installed on the fenders. However, that was not enough to relieve the “pain” brought on by the small engine; the Mustang was sold within one year. The second owner, Bart Robinson, bought the car for the older of his two teenage daughters. On December 26, 1973, the youngest daughter, Beverly, got her driver’s license and the Mustang became hers. Upon going to college, she got a Camaro and the Mustang was sold by her father to a family friend with the understanding that if and when it became for sale again Mr. Robinson would have the right to buy the car back. The agreement was sealed with a handshake. Unfortunately, the family friend with whom the agreement was made suddenly passed away not long afterwards and Robinson assumed the agreement was lost with him. Then in 1997, the widow of the deceased gentleman called Bart asking if he still wanted to purchase the car. He did not, but his daughter Beverly did. She had long wanted to get the convertible back and often made the point to her husband, Ron Hyden. When she learned the car was for sale again she asked Ron if he would object to buying the Mustang and getting it restored. As he put it to us, “How many wives out there would suggest to their husbands let’s get a classic car and restore it? Life is good!”
After searching for someone Ron trusted to restore the Mustang, he found R&R Restoration in Longview, Texas. He explained that he wanted the car restored to match the way it came from the assembly line, but not too nice to keep it from being a driver. At the time, the Mustang wore a bright orange paint job applied many years earlier; Ron was not even sure of the original color which was soon learned to be Candy Apple Red after a little inspection of the car.
Between the two daughters and the two sons of the prior owner, the Mustang had acquired its share of scars. Fortunately, the main body did not need any panel replacement; only the fenders, hood, valance panels, and deck lid were replaced during the restoration. Bob Lorenz, who operates R&R Restoration, noted that when owners are trying to restore their Mustang they tend to select reproduction parts since they are less expensive and clearly more common than NOS or good used replacements. However, the pitfall here is that in some cases reproduction components have poor fit and/or finish and therefore must be corrected. In the process of making the part fit, the cost advantage is negated. Bob noted that this was certainly not true of the majority of reproduction parts, but if the owner of a Mustang wants a very high-point show car then the best course of action is to seek NOS or good used parts. However, for a nice driver, reproduction parts should still be fine.
Ron and Beverly Hyden’s Mustang was ready to go back home in December 2004. On the 26th, exactly 31 years to the day she got her driver’s license, Beverly had her old car back. Ron noted that when his wife, who is a brunette, first sat within the black interior, he thought “no person and their car ever matched so well.” Life is obviously good for the Hyden family.


289 V8
Automatic Transmission
Power  Steering
Tinted Windshield
Whitewall Tires
1966 Mustangs





Feature Car






* Source: Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1946-1975, Third Edition