October 1, 2005

You know classic Mustangs are hot when buyers stack up behind you as you're trying to make a deal with the owner. For this one, the price was right, and the '66 convertible had a hot combination of options. The paint was a special order in an odd color that buyers Ron Willim and John Oliverio suspected might be Anniversary Gold.

For facts, we dug out our Mustang Production Guide, Volume 1, 1964-1968 by Jim Smart and Jim Haskell. The '66 "One Millionth Anniversary" Mustangs are extremely rare. On page 28, we discovered the "In Search Of Mustangs" survey had unearthed just two of these special Fords. How many were built is unknown. Legend is that Ford built one car per sales district. The book states each Anniversary Gold Mustang was a hardtop coupe.

Our Rare Find, however, is a convertible. The DSO code in the book is 331111. John sent us a good picture of the original data plate that also shows a six digit DSO. It is 350183. The date code is 06F for June 6, 1966. The two Anniversary Gold coupes were both 29C for March 29, 1966, around the time the millionth Mustang was built. The data plate also shows F, or Dearborn, for the assembly plant. The anniversary coupes were built in San Jose.

The blank above the color in the data plate of the convertible verifies special order paint. Although the body has been painted over one time, the gold appears to be the original color due to traces in the trunk and other areas.

it appears somebody ordered this '66 Mustang in a color that is either Anniversary Gold or very similar. Then, they equipped it with the Hi-Po engine (K-code), GT Equipment Group, automatic transmission (first available on the Hi-Po in 1966), Rally Pac, and a bench seat.

John credits Ron for finding the car in the local Trader. He recalls Ron saying, "This can't be real, a convertible, a Hi-Po, automatic, a GT."

John said something like, "Who knows? It doesn't cost anything to go look."

They called the owner who stated, "Whoever gets here first with the money can take it."

John and Ron skipped out of work, ran to the bank, got the money, and got on the road. They live in the Detroit area, and the car was 80 miles north in the "thumb" of the state. The race was on, John and Ron hammering it to get there quick. More than one person was on the road to buy the car, and whoever got there first had first chance to buy the Mustang.

John told us, "If we would have stopped to get a cup of coffee or get gas, we wouldn't have made it. Somebody else would have beat us to the car."

As they began inspecting the '66 model and talking with the owner about its history, people began lining up behind them to look at it. An appraiser showed up who started running around taking pictures. He was talking to a client in Texas who was trying to buy the car. Pressure was building to buy the car. The owner, John could sense, was starting to realize maybe he had priced the car too low. Actually, he was a car collector. The story is, years ago he bought the Mustang from the original owner just to get a Corvette that he wanted. Then, he rolled it in the barn with the rest of his toys (including an army tank) and let it sit, never even changing over the original title. The car still had the original paperwork, including the warranty card, owner's manual, service receipts, and window sticker that shows $34.85 for special paint.

John and Ron bought the Mustang. John guesses that long-term storage in a barn with a dirt floor caused damage to the floorboard, but the rest of the car has very little rust. John says the car needs to be restored, and they are still researching the history.

If anybody can decode the six-digit DSO, send us an e-mail. By June 1966, the millionth Mustang was close to three months past, but that doesn't mean somebody didn't order a convertible in the same Anniversary Gold color or that Ford wasn't still letting owners celebrate the millionth Mustang in June 1966.