Jerry Heasley
July 18, 2014

"I tried not to show any emotion. Obviously you don't want to start jumping up and down and clicking your heels. Then, the price goes up, right?" Alex Mackenzie felt like jumping for joy when the garage door opened to expose just what you see here. But, he kept his poker face. The '66 Mustang convertible had been sitting since 1975 in a garage on the property of a winery in Temecula, California.

For several years Alex had heard through the Mustang grapevine about a '66 convertible parked in an area garage. He owns "Mackenzie's Mustang Supply" in Palm Springs, California, and fields leads on old Mustangs through his business. Finally, one day a customer explained a friend owned this Mustang. And, for a finder's fee, Alex could buy the '66.

The two drove 80 miles to Temecula, where the grandson of the original owner opened a garage door. Alex first thought the car looked rough, but on closer inspection he discovered a pretty much rust-free (a little bit of easily repairable floorpan rust) and complete '66 convertible with a 289-2V (C-code). In addition to the V-8, options and accessories were few—power top, AM radio, and a four-speed manual. The odometer had spun just past 59,000 miles.

The engine is a C-code, 289 two-barrel. The 289 was complete, including (but not seen in this photo) the original carburetor and air cleaner.
The original owner was a secretary for a school in Oklahoma when she bought this ’66 convertible brand new. Alex wondered why she opted for a four-speed. Her answer was she learned to drive on a manual transmission and she always liked manuals.

Mackenzie wondered why the car had been repainted. The topcoat flaked off with a simple rub of the hand. The grandson summoned the original owner, his grandmother, to answer this question. She explained the original Antique Bronze paint faded to resemble dust. The lady bought the car new in Oklahoma. She drove her beloved Mustang west when she moved to California in 1972. Shortly after that came the repaint and after a dent to the quarter-panel, she parked the car in 1975. She had not started the car since 1977. She gave the car to her daughter (married to the winery owner), and her daughter passed it on to her son. The grandson intended to take the car apart and do a restoration. He never did. The car was taking up space, and the family finally decided to sell the convertible.

Mackenzie is not one to hesitate. He bought the '66 on the spot and sent for a tow truck. Once back in his shop, he rebuilt the Autolite 2100, squirted Marvel Mystery oil in the cylinders, hooked up a fuel line to the fuel pump (rather than mess with the fuel system), installed a new set of points, changed the oil and filter, bypassed the ignition switch, and wonder of wonders fired up the 289.

"It was noisy for about two minutes until the lifters pumped up. Then it purred like a kitten—no exhaust leaks, no vibration, nothing. I obviously didn't try to drive it as the brakes were locked up, and the gas tank needed to be replaced or flushed out. I at least wanted to hear it run."

Alex plans a Restomod build, perhaps a Shelby clone with rack-and-pinion steering, A/C, power windows, and heated Flofit seats in leather with a Pony interior theme—same as he's done over the years with several other solid Mustangs with original body panels.