Jim Smart
November 9, 2015
Photos By: Al Rogers

It can safely be said that Mustang Monthly magazine is where the second wave of Mustang Mania began in the late 1970s, when classic Mustangs were plentiful, cheap to get into, and on the rebound. Before their popular return, classic Mustangs were simply another used car—hence the plentiful and cheap part. You could pick up bread-and-butter six and V-8 hardtops all day for a couple hundred bucks; Shelbys and Bosses could be had for a few thousand.

One enterprising young man from South Georgia, Larry Dobbs, not only loved and wanted to show classic Mustangs, he saw an emerging market for them and all things connected to them. Larry, who lived in Central Florida, founded Mustang Supply Company, sporting an array of new, used, and new old stock parts for classic Mustangs.

Dobbs was in the newspaper business (among his many occupations and passions) and saw a need for classic-Mustang fans to be able to communicate with each other. The Mustang Exchange Letter was born. Ultimately, the Mustang Exchange Letter became Mustang Monthly magazine. By late 1979, Mustang Monthly had grown into a full-fledged, glossy cover car magazine.

Those of us who were able to watch Larry grow Mustang Publications into the Dobbs Publishing Group will never forget the man who launched our careers. Donald Farr, myself, Mark Houlahan, and a host of other names familiar to our readers cut our teeth under Larry’s tutorage. None of us was in the publishing business when Larry came calling and offered us an opportunity. He sought out people who were knowledgeable about Mustangs and other special-interest automobiles. Two books, How To Restore Your Mustang and Mustang Recognition Guide, were born of this heated interest in the breed.

Back in the day, Larry snapped up a Wimbledon White A-Code 289-4V 1966 GT convertible and restored it in the pages of Mustang Monthly. By today’s standards, the restoration was rather crude. Little was available in terms of reproduction parts for classic Mustangs in those days, and there was a lot we didn’t know then. Larry, with help from knowledgeable automotive enthusiasts, restored that convertible and put it in the pages of Mustang Monthly during 1979 to 1980.

Like most magazine project cars, Larry’s GT convertible enjoyed the spotlight for a time and faded away. Richardson Bolla, of Southeastern Michigan, picks up the story; “After I sold my 1968 Shelby G.T. 350 I wanted to get back into an early convertible. It had to be a 1965 to 1966 convertible, Pony Interior, and four-speed. After looking for months and finding only rust buckets, fake GTs, or automatic transmission cars, I got a call from a dealer down in Atlanta, Georgia, who knew I was looking for a GT four-speed convertible.” Bolla adds he didn’t care for classic-car dealers, and normally, didn’t work with them, but he decided to fly down to Hotlanta for a closer look. He liked what he saw, bought this GT convertible on the spot, and had it shipped to Detroit.

Bolla’s GT convertible appeared first in the October 1979 issue of Mustang Monthly Magazine. This was Mustang Monthly’s first color cover, though Dobbs’ white convertible was obviously not the cover car.

“After I took delivery of this car, I called a buddy of mine, Chris Richardson here in Detroit, who came over to check out my latest purchase. Richardson went through the folder and spotted an old Mustang Monthly issue and some photocopied articles. Richardson looked at me and said, ‘Hey! Did you see this?’ We learned this had been a Mustang Monthly project car long ago. I opened How To Restore Your Mustang and saw my Mustang,” Bolla told Mustang Monthly. Just inside the cover was an image of Larry Dobbs seated in the car.”

Bolla has had a ball with the Larry Dobbs’ GT convertible, including a road trip to Charlotte, North Carolina, for the Mustang’s 50th in 2014. “We participated in the record-setting cruise to Kannapolis. And as luck would have it, there were 1,002 Mustangs and mine was number 1,002! The car ran flawlessly all the way to North Carolina and back. It was on my bucket list of things I always wanted to do—taking a classic Mustang on a long road trip,” Bolla reflected. “Many in Charlotte could not believe I drove the car all the way from Detroit.”

Shortly after Al Rogers photographed the car and its new owner for Mustang Monthly, on August 2, 2015, fate stepped in. He and his family were headed home from a local cruise when a car suddenly stopped in front of him making a turn. “I slammed into them doing 40mph. We were all injured with me being the worst. Lap belts saved our lives. Though we survived, the Mustang was badly hurt with current repair estimates in the $30,000 to $40,000 range,” Richardson lamented. “Fortunately, the floor pans and frame rails weren’t bent. Everything appeared to be cosmetic damage, but nothing structural.”

At press time, it’s unsure if Bolla’s insurance company will total the car or decide to pay for the repairs. Richardson told Mustang Monthly he wants to save the car considering its history. He comes from a family of die-hard Mustang enthusiasts. He has his father’s 1985 Mustang GT convertible that has only 8,600 miles on the dial, also featured in Mustang Monthly in 1995. There have been plenty of others: a 1968 G.T. 350, a 1966 GT hardtop, a 1965 convertible, a 1964½ convertible, a 1966 GT fastback, a 1965 Hi-Po fastback, a 1966 hardtop, a 1985 GT convertible, and a 1989 LX 5.0L H.O. coupe.

Although Richardson suffered an accident while driving the most memorable Mustang of his lifetime, he and his family still have their lives—the Mustang took the worst of it. Saving the lives of its passengers, makes this historic GT convertible even more significant.

Although the Mustang’s crunched condition is unsettling, Bolla’s GT convertible did what it was designed to do—saved the lives of its occupants via design, absorbing the impact.

1966 Mustang GT Convertible Snapshot
- Wimbledon White
- GT Equipment Group
- Interior Décor Group (Pony Interior)
- 289-4V V-8, Premium Fuel, 225 Horsepower
- Borg-Warner T-10 Four-Speed
- 3.00:1 Axle Ratio
- KYB Gas Shocks
- Front-Disc Brakes
- Kumho P195/75R14 Radials
- Reproduction AM/FM Stereo Radio
- 6,000rpm Rally-Pac (removed for repair during photo shoot)
- Console

Hot fun in a Mustang convertible. Mustang Monthly founder Larry Dobbs showed us how to have fun in a Mustang again when he launched this magazine and performed the magazine’s first real restoration project. Here it is coming off a car trailer as a fresh restoration in 1980. Oddly enough, the car was never put on the cover of the magazine, and it didn’t even garner a two-page spread in the magazine.
Dobbs put it all on the line to create Mustang Monthly. Few believed then the magazine would ever live long enough to see nearly four decades of continuous print.

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