Jerry Heasley
February 4, 2014

Rare Finds happen in strange ways. I was talking business with a man named Greg at the Texas Railroad Commission when he told me about a barn-find '66 Mustang hardtop he had recently purchased. He invited me to come out to see the car.

I have written this Rare Finds column for 23 years. It dawned on me that it was about time I found one for myself.

So I drove over to see the coupe. I was surprised to learn that it was a GT and appeared rust-free. The body was in primer, although the hood had been creased at the front in a barn incident. The rest of the sheetmetal appeared straight. The bumpers and valances were stored inside the car.

Greg pointed to a mice nest on the engine near the Autolite four-barrel. He also showed me two big holes in the driver's seat, also caused by mice.

Greg was realistic. He was asking a reasonable $2,500. I was in the middle of a '65 Mustang convertible restoration, so I told Greg I would tell another Mustang collector about the hardtop.

I called my Mustang friend later that night. He wanted the car, but with a couple of unrestored coupes already sitting in his backyard, he was "Mustang coupe poor."

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I woke up the next morning wondering why I didn't just buy the coupe for myself. So I went back to Greg's backyard hobby garage for a more in-depth rust inspection. I crawled under the Mustang to find frame rails with normal surface rust. The fenders and doors seemed rust-free, as well as the floor pans. I found factory holes for the GT fog lamps and an A-code in the VIN representing the base GT's 225-horse 289 four-barrel engine. Greg had peeled off the GT badges on the front fenders but the car still had its GT gas cap. I was certain this coupe was a GT, originally Wimbledon White with a black vinyl top.

I wrote a check for $2,500 and arranged to pick up the Mustang the following week. Upon my return, I noticed little pinholes of rust around the bottom of the vinyl top. I was amazed how my perception changed after purchasing the car. As the owner with an investment in the car, "scales fell from my eyes."

I still felt the GT coupe was a good buy and a lucky Rare Find. The following week, someone offered me $1,000 profit if I would sell.