Mustang MonthlyFeatured Vehicles
Sam's 1966 Mustang Six Shooter
Professional automobile restorer Sam Weston needed a really cool car project for his daughter—guess what happened?
Fifteen years ago Sam Weston of Northern Utah was looking for a Mustang project for his youngest daughter, something they could work on together. “I had already restored a 1966 hardtop with Sprint package with my oldest daughter years ago. It was great fun. And by the way, I don’t have any sons, but who cares when you have two daughters who love cars? I already had a 1966 hardtop and a 1966 convertible, so I was looking for a 1966 fastback to complete the set. This 1966 fastback pops up in Crawford, Colorado, on eBay with an asking price of $3,999 with a ‘Buy It Now’ for $4,500,” Sam says. “It was a running car with no rust. Heck, I live in Northern Utah where all the Mustangs from around here are very rusty from winter driving.”
Sam waited out the eBay auction and expected the car to be sold and gone. The auction ended with no bids. “So I emailed the seller and made them an offer of $3,000. Believe it or not, they accepted! Two days later, I was off to Colorado to pick up the car,” Sam says. “Crawford, Colorado is a very small town, so it wasn’t hard to find this car. And there it was sitting on the side of the road. For me it was love at first sight. Signalflare Red. No rust. A fastback. Other than a missing headliner, the interior looked good. And to discover it had only 47,836 miles on the odometer!” Sam laughs hysterically as he describes the nostalgic experience of walking up to the door, “As we approached the house, it was like going back to the ’60s or ’70s. There were love beads hanging on the door and a strangely familiar aroma coming from inside the house. Inside were several aging hippies. I’m not even sure they know where their Mustang went to this day. I can’t even believe they would remember talking to me. We hurried, loaded the Mustang, and drove 366 miles home.”
Because Sam runs such a successful restoration business (Sam Weston Restorations; (435) 757-9013) north of the Salt Lake City area in Logan, Utah, his personal cars tend to get pushed to the back of the shop as rainy day projects. “Like most projects, my intention with the six-cylinder fastback was to fix a few things up here and there, and drive the car. Well, you know how it is. One thing leads to another and the next thing you know, the car is on a rotisserie,” Sam says. “Somewhere along the line, my daughter lost interest in the fastback, and I talked her into letting me keep it for myself. We also surprised her with a 2002 Mustang convertible, but that’s another story.”
Sam worked feverishly on the fastback until it was finished, and it became a rolling showcase for his business and expertise. It has shown very well in what few shows it has been entered, including one MCA Grand National show in scenic Park City, Utah. “People are surprised when I open the hood,” Sam says. “They expect to see an A-code 289-4V engine or perhaps a K-code Hi-Po. When they see an old six underhood they become impressed that I would spend the time and money to restore a six-cylinder Mustang.” Sam understands the significance of saving and restoring these cars as Ford built them a half-century ago, which made it easy to be true to this fastback’s roots.
Though this is a base sticker price six-cylinder fastback, it is fun to drive because it puts you back in touch with the road, especially if you’ve been driving late-model vehicles for many years. Light up the 200ci six and listen to the soft purr of an inline idle. Steady and consistent with the occasional Autolite 1100-induced misfire. Push hard on the three-finger clutch and slip a fully synchronized three-speed transmission into First. Ease out on the clutch, modulate the throttle, and you’re on the way. The whine of first gear segues into Second gear, and you’re really rolling. This surely isn’t a 2015 Mustang with its standard 3.7L DOHC V-6 and six-speed transmission. Instead, it’s an opportunity to embrace the ’60s with what was in Ford showrooms at the time.
In 1966, this was an exciting ride for a young kid headed to college or perhaps an aging couple seeking sporty transportation for not much money. It was bright, exciting, and soul-stirring some 50 summers ago. On the open road, Ford’s Falcon-based 200ci six hums along at 3,000 rpm in high gear—no overdrive in those days, just 3.20:1 cogs in a peg-leg axle with pizza-cutter tires. The joy for Sam and Judy is reliving their youth in a classic Mustang. The feel, the smells, the sound, and wind through the wing windows.
“My kids have all grown up and are married now, so it’s just Judy and me at home these days,” Sam says with sadness. “I mentioned early my daughters love cars, but not as much as Judy does. Judy has been the driving force behind most of my Mustang purchases through the years, which includes a 1967 Hi-Po fastback, a 1968 Shelby G.T. 500KR convertible, a 1969 Mach 1 Cobra Jet, and a 2006 Shelby GTH Hertz.” Sam says. “But man, she was not very supportive when I hauled home another Edsel wagon.”