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1966 Ford Mustang Convertible - Proof Of Concept
If Ford Had Today's Technology In 1966, It Might Look Something Like This
Hangar SB LLC's '66 Mustang Convertible Classic Mustang builds run the gamut from paint daub concours restos to high-dollar Pro-Touring efforts, and just about everything else in between. The spotless convertible you see here falls somewhere in that "in between" gray area. It's darn near a concours resto, but it's powered by Ford's modern-day, four-valve modular and rides on a corner-carving sus-pension with good brakes and all the other modern day con-veniences. You could say that this car is the literal definition of the term Restomod (to RESTOre and MODify) that we bandy about every issue when talking about the cars we feature. This hot little drop top walks the walk and talks the talk when it comes to the definition.
We first spotted this gorgeous red 'vert at the 2009 SEMA show. It was the star of the Automotive Restoration Market Association (ARMO) booth and we spoke at length with car builder Sal Perez of American Muscle Cars, who built it for a customer, Hanger SB LLC, a company that specializes in secure storage, maintenance, acquisition, and sales of collector cars.
"The concept of this vehicle is for it to look like Ford built it if the parts available today were available when this '66 Mustang was originally manufactured," Sal explained. "The theme is carried throughout the entire car; the body appears virtually stock with just subtle mods, while the engine bay is black with a period-correct-looking blue engine block. Everything was intended to look OE. We still wanted it to 'feel' like a '66 Mustang when driven, but perform like a car of today," Sal explained further. Needless to say, we were smitten by the project and set about scheduling the car for a feature photo shoot for a future issue. When expert lensman Drew Phillips and Sal finally got their calendars synch'd, the photos you see on these pages are the result.
Unlike some mega-horsepower builds, the convertible didn't need a huge tire out back for traction or any other major sheetmetal mods, save for the Rod & Custom Motorsports Mustang II-style IFS up front and a set of subframe connectors. Sure, the chrome bumpers are tucked in nicely and there's nary an emblem in sight, but Sal's crew didn't feel there was a need for a ton of Shelby fiberglass, movie car add-ons, or a wild paint scheme. Remember, the car needed to look period, with just a trained eye noticing any changes. To the casual observer this is a stock '66 Mustang-or at least until the hood is raised!
The OE look is also why the engine compartment got the standard black-out treatment and the modern engine was given the retro cue of Ford Corporate Blue engine block, aluminum intake, and black wrinkle cam covers. Matter of fact, the first thing we noticed when eyeing the car at SEMA was the engine compartment. We're fans of body color engine compartments when building modern-powered rides, but somehow the engine compartment of this '66 just looks right in the retro theme.
To go with the aforementioned IFS, Total Control Product's g-Bar four-link made its way under the convertible out back. Hung from the four-link is a Fab9 9-inch with a stout 4.30-geared Traction-Lok. A Tremec T-45 five-speed manual transmission helps tame some of that 4.30-gear's rpm. Naturally, all four corners get adjustable coilovers so the Mustang can sit just right on those 17-inch Magnum 500s. Four-wheel Wilwood binders make sure the Mustang stops in plenty of time, and while the 4.6L 32-valve modular is completely stock, the 320hp factory rating (it's from a '99 Mustang Cobra, as is the transmission and EFI wiring) is more than enough to put a smile on any driver's face.