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

1 comment:

  1. I could have also bought the Mustang too if i were there. I can imagine how the ford company felt; reaching the estimated yearly sale even before the actual sale begun! that's amazing. Ford always has the best cars! i salute you guys!