Jerry Heasley
January 6, 2014

"Run that past me again. How did you get that '66 coupe for free?" I wanted to know. After all, a '66 coupe is a valuable model.

Then I saw the car. At first sight, the hardtop looked like scrap. On closer inspection, Bob Becker explained that the rear quarter panels needed to be replaced. The coupe had no engine or transmission. One front fender was missing—ditto for the front bumper, seats, carpet, door panels, and no doubt a mess of other parts. However, this West Texas Mustang—found in Amarillo—had rust-free floorpans, framerails, and trunk. Other than the quarter- panels, it was a rust-free body.

The car is certainly a builder and has a real value. The freebie aspect comes out of neighborliness.

Eddie lives down the street from Bob. "Eddie drove a '66 Mustang," Bob said. "He saw that I had Mustangs in my driveway and would come by to ask questions."

The two became friends and helped each other. Bob recalls giving Eddie an 1100 series Autolite carburetor, some tie-rod ends, and other parts. But the city wanted both of them to remove Mustangs that weren't registered and tagged.

"I told Eddie to get antique tags," Bob adds. "Instead of paying every year, antique tags last for five years and cost $61."

One day Eddie dropped by Bob's house and said he'd lost his storage. "He asked if I could help him move his trailer—and he was going to give me a car."

Eddie gave Bob the '66 coupe. But Eddie wanted to keep the six-cylinder engine and automatic transmission. Bob pulled the inline six and C4 (which came out of a '69 Maverick) and the deal was done. Upon checking the VIN, Bob noticed a C-code in the fifth digit, which means the coupe came from the factory with a 289 two-barrel V8.

For guys like Bob, who have a myriad of parts they have collected over the years, plus the expertise to build an early Mustang from the ground up, an incomplete car can be a good deal. Bob has the parts to complete the build. The big deal is getting a good body for the restoration.

"The older we get, the harder these coupes are to find," Bob said.