Jim Smart
July 1, 2002

Has there ever been a Mustang you wanted badly? And have you ever been persistent enough to chase that Mustang dream for years? If so, you can probably relate to Jim Wagoner. For years, he had a clear mental picture of what he wanted. And for years, he never took his eye off the target. Behold the targe--Candyapple Red '66 Mustang GT} convertible. It's got the 289-4V "A" code V-8 yielding 225 hp at the crankshaft. For your driving pleasure, a C4 Cruise-O-Matic transmission for hands-off performance. Out back, a 3.00:1 axle ratio for a terrific combination of cruise and acceleration. Mash the gas and it's snappy.

Roll onto the freeway and it cruises nicely, offering the genetic car collector 18-20 mpg on the open road. Underhood, the 289-4V engine sports the attractive Cobra Dress Up Kit that was actually a Ford dealer option in 1966.

What makes this GT convertible particularly striking is Styled Steel wheels and those Red Line tires from Coker Tire. Marry them to that blistering red finish, and a Mustang convertible comes alive. It becomes very hard to resist. Even tougher to resist is the red Interior Decor Group package with molded door panels, Pony embossing, pistol-grip door handles, five-dial instrumentation, a console, a woodgrain wheel, and a whole lot more. The only desirable option missing here is the Rally-Pac with a tach and clock.

Jim got lucky when he found this luscious drop-top because it was already restored and ready to drive. No restoration perspiration here. Behind that restoration was a long history, most of it in Southern California for the car's first 22 years. When the car was sold from the estate of a previous owner, it found its way back to the heart of Illinois, then North Carolina where Jim found it at the Mustang's 35th Anniversary Celebration in April 1999.

Jim calls the San Francisco Bay Area home. Isn't it ironic that a West Coast resident had to go to the East Coast to find a genuine California car? What's more, the cars birthplace was Milpitas, California (San Jose). Milpitas is just a few miles from Jim's doorstep. You can imagine what Jim's thinking anytime he visits the Great Mall of Milpitas--a massive building that used to be the old Ford plant.

We like any story where something special gets to return to its roots. And that's what this story is all about. To be sure, it took a guy like Jim Wagoner to make this one happen. The rest, as they say, is a GT breeze.

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