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800 Rear-Wheel Horsepower Makes This 1966 Mustang Coupe a Killer
Little Deuce Coupe: The deuce, in this case, is a pair of turbos that get this Coyote-powered hardtop near the four-digit power range
While working as a builder at the Restomod Store in Independence, Missouri, it seems Chris McLin had something of a Mopar predilection. This was before he decided to apply his talent to the Ford side of things by way of this subdued little Mustang hardtop that appeals to us in all the most important ways. Those cars included two Plymouths in the forms of a 1976 Duster and 1969 Road Runner, as well as a 1971 Dodge Challenger. Also in there was a 1964 Chrysler 300 convertible that he restored for his grandfather. “Instead of paying me, he traded me this Mustang,” Chris told us.
The story goes back further; much further in fact to nearly 40 years, when the Arcadian Blue hardtop was picked up by the said grandparent. Chris elaborated: “My grandpa bought the car in 1977 for my grandma to drive. She drove it for several years and my father even took his driving test in it when he was 16. After my grandma quit driving it, it sat for several years.” Chris then got the car in trade from his grandfather.
After Chris did the trade, the rust-free hardtop sat for another six years and Chris reports keeping pretty much the whole original interior and repainting the body the original color. But other than the interior, well, there isn’t much left original besides the factory seats, carpet, and doorpanels after the one-year transformation you see here.
Underneath this pedestrian pale-blue hardtop bodyshell lurks the machinations of a street/strip twin-turbo rocket ship that uses the latest 21st century equipment that Ford and the aftermarket have designed and produced. These include a 5.0L Coyote crate engine, a pair of Turbonetics turbos, and the ability to run on high-octane E85 fuel. The modern engine was partnered with a vintage transmission, a (cough) GM TH400 (cough) to handle the Space Shuttle-like power output. A pair of sticky Mickey Thompson E/T Drags in a 28x10.5W-15 size put that power to the pavement—well, they try anyway. With 800 hp at the wheels and only 3,000 pounds of vehicle weight to put it down, traction is always a struggle.
Besides how Chris has transformed the car into what it is now, one of our favorite things about the build is its sort of heirloom background. It’s something that has been in the family for nearly 40 years, was owned and driven by his grandparents, and is now honoring them as a third-generation family treasure that will continue to do so for as long as Chris owns the car. We suspect, and certainly hope, that this will be the case for at least another four decades under the loving tutelage of grandson Chris.