Jim Smart
July 1, 2001

We were not expecting something like this when we visited John's Mustangs & Classics in San Diego. A lot of nice brute performance pieces roll out of this shop daily, sporting the roar of healthy V-8 power, nice restomods we wouldn't mind driving around Southern California. When we spotted this Candyapple Red '66 Mustang hardtop, we were taken with its appearance: sharp, nice workmanship, T-bird taillights, pop-open gas cap, vinyl top, and hints of gold in key places. It was a nice ride.

We were pleasantly stunned to discover the car's status as a six-cylinder coupe--a "T" code six-popper notchback planned and executed to perfection. When owner and car builder David Toth snapped up this car, it was a nicely restored Candyapple coupe that needed detail work. David looked at the car with vision. It needed more.

David wanted something elegant and peppy. To get there, key changes had to be made. That's Candyapple Red polyurethane DuPont Imron paint, hand-rubbed to a mirror finish. On top is a factory white vinyl top that accents the blazing red. Those are '64-'65 T-bird taillights that sequence 1-2-3 in a turn like a T-bird or a Cougar. Do you like the gas cap? David went to the '70 Mustang parts bin and used the pop-open cap. The taillights are detailed in a bright aluminum finish for extra sharpness. David kept his gold appointments to a minimum, which warms the view and excites the senses. Amber driving lamps complement the gold appointments. The rear valance was modified like a '67-'70 Mustang for a dual-tip single exhaust, giving this Mustang a European flavor. Stock spinner wheel covers make for a stealthy facade.

Inside, David kept his efforts conservative, yet dramatic. That's a cool billet instrument panel from JME Motorsports fitted with Auto Meter {Phantom gauges. A full-length console and factory rear-window defogger are nice features. A Custom Autosound stereo system improves the journey.

Where this coupe really shines is underhood. David dressed up the 200ci six with headers from Clifford Performance, a chrome stock valve cover, a Weber two-barrel carb, a polished radiator tank, a Shelby export brace, a billet high-performance air cleaner, and more. Those Clifford headers give the buzzy six a throaty V-8 tone, leaving a person wondering what's really under the bonnet. Ford's fiercely reliable C4 Cruise-O-Matic gets the power to efficient 2.83:1 rearend gears. What this means for David is comfortable cruising in a good-looking ride. Slip it into Drive, tip in the throttle, and listen to the throaty six roar.

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This is a fine six-cylinder automobile, not because it's dressed so nicely, but because it sports outstanding workmanship. Not a detail was overlooked when David built this car. Fit and finish are impeccable, but there's more. Gold hardware highlights an already striking engine room. A polished radiator tank gets our attention. Nice touches, like a Mustang logo on the fuel-pressure regulator, make the most of a functional, utilitarian component. This is a Mustang that defines restomod: tasteful execution, and modifications that complement the Mustang's classic lines. Any way you evaluate this car, one thing is clear--talent is what makes the grade for this six trick.