1966 Ford Mustang GT Weekend - Hoofbeats
For once, I took a Friday off and the weather cooperated. With a major book project out of the way and Pam's new kitchen finally completed, I was able to relax and enjoy the gorgeous weekend by using my 1966 Mustang GT as my "only" car for all three days. I drove it everywhere—to the gym, grocery store, and church. For Saturday lunch, Pam and I headed into town—windows down and iPod playing a 1966 playlist through the RediRad-equipped AM radio—to have boneless wings on an outdoor patio where we could watch the reaction from other patrons as they walked past the bright Signalflare Red Mustang in the parking lot. It's always fun listening to people mistake the model year: "That's a '64." "No, it's a '67, I used to own one!"
As I've mentioned here before, Merv Rego at Classic Recreations of Central Florida restored my GT hardtop a couple of years ago. Because my grandparents purchased the car brand-new, I asked Merv to make it as new as possible, meaning mechanically as well as cosmetically. And he succeeded. I can yank the car cover at any time and know that the 289 will start immediately, the windows will roll up or down without falling out of their tracks, and there's no worry about overheating if I get stuck in traffic.
By striving to keep the Mustang original, I obviously neglected the many opportunities for modern improvements, other than the hidden RediRad. Because my South Carolina grandparents bought the hardtop without air conditioning, I even asked Merv to remove the factory A/C that I installed back in the early 1980s, a pretty stupid decision for someone living in Florida if I say so myself. I also stuck with the original C4 automatic, which works great but leaves much to be desired on Interstate highways.
So as I'm tooling around this past weekend in the comfort of knowing that I can return to 1966 at any time in my restored GT, my mind starts wandering in the direction of adding another Mustang to my garage, one with modern conveniences for longer trips, perhaps even a Great American Pony Drive cruise, in the summer. I've always liked '69-'70 Mustangs, so I start thinking about a hardtop since nice SportsRoofs and convertibles are a bit pricey these days. Perhaps a Grande? Yes, a '69 Grande updated with an EFI 351, AOD, coilover front suspension, rack-and-pinion steering, power four-wheel disc brakes, TMI Sport seats, tilt-steering column, climate-control A/C, nice stereo, and cruise control. I'd stick with a stock body—perhaps a classy Dark Ivy Green Metallic with black vinyl roof—but with 17-inch wheels and modern radials. Comfortable and quick, sort of like a Grande GT, which sounds like a pretty cool name for a project.
Instead of daydreaming, I suppose I should continue enjoying my '66 GT in this Florida spring weather. Summer will be here soon enough with its scorching temperatures. Whose idea was it to remove the air conditioning anyway?