Jim Smart
April 1, 2000
Photos By: Tom Rounds

Alice Cline of Tacoma, Washington, is an executive secretary. Achieving this title is no easy feat. Professionally, you must have a lot on the ball, be trustworthy, and be able to keep all of your boss's business affairs in apple-pie order. It also takes more than a sparse amount of polish and professionalism to take a bread-and-butter vintage Mustang and turn it into a show winner.

Alice's passion for classic Mustangs dates back to when her son brought his '64 1/2 home for the first time. In 1992 he snapped up this restored Nightmist Blue '66 Mustang hardtop from Mustang Empire of Tacoma with the intent of driving it daily. It wasn't long before he realized it would not make a practical daily driver. His realization of this fact worked out to Alice's benefit: She bought the car from her son.

What might surprise you is this Mustang's condition. It has been repainted and freshened up as necessary, but the interior is all original-well-kept and maintained. Ken Johnson of Mustang Empire acquired this Mustang from the original owner-a Seattle woman who drove the car daily until she retired in 1990. She wanted to trade the Mustang in on a new motor home, but was disappointed in the offers she received from dealers. She called Mustang Empire for a fair deal, and both parties benefited from the experience.

Ken Johnson's efforts shine here-more than 35 awards, including Best of Show and a First Place at the West Coast Nationals.

The '66 Mustang is an American classic sporting 289 4V V-8 power, a four-speed, and a 3.00:1 gear ratio. It's a pleasure cruise, whether you're driving or watching it pass by. This is the model Mustang we live for as originality buffs. Twist the key and hear the 225hp, A-code 289 roar to life. Slip the T&C Top Loader tranny into First, ease out on the stiff clutch, and the blue hardtop begins to roll. The old 289 V-8 accelerates predictably and smartly. No fuel injection here-just solid, reliable Autolite 4100 four-barrel carburetion feeding the mixture to eight hungry bores in need of more. This is an engine you fed 100 octane premium leaded fuel in the old days. Time, of course, has changed all that. Today, the best you can hope for is 92 octane unleaded. Lean on the accelerator and you might hear a subtle pinging-the 289's sole lament for the good old days.

The 289 feels good as you head down the road. Shifting a vintage Top Loader four-speed brings back a lot of fond memories. Personally, we like the First gear whine it yields. Hearing the 289's harmony makes a person feel good. What's really boss is the stealthy nature of this Mustang. It's not a GT, yet it sports the A-code 289, a four-speed, and hidden dual exhausts. Directly in front of you is the Rally-Pac option featuring a clock and tachometer. Cool.

Alice can feel mighty good about her little blue hardtop because it's a winning, all-around performer that we'd be proud to be seen driving anywhere, anytime. Guess you could call that executive privilege.

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