Jerry Heasley
June 1, 2001

For Bob Perkins' '66 Mustang hardtop, this is not the year 2001. It is the fall of '66 and some of us are still in high school, studying plane geometry and dabbing Clearasil on our faces.

Considering the late-July date code, the first owner should have hit 2,640.9 miles at least by October. The Mustang is such a fun car, who could resist the urge to drive it? The original owners were an older couple who parked their Mustang in a climate-controlled garage. They rarely drove it, so in 1977 they sold it to a collector in North Carolina. The second owner realized the importance of this hardtop and had the foresight to put it away; therefore the mileage has remained static since 1977.

Instead of traversing the byways, this honey gold metallic hardtop did more traveling across time. The paint is absolutely flawless, and what other '66 model have you seen that still has the brown paper bag covers on the front seatbelt buckles and that still has the original cardboard litter container?

Bob Perkins first spotted this 2,640.9-mile hardtop in 1981 at the MCA Grand National in Kingsport, Tennessee. He's wanted to own the car ever since because he believes it is as new as any car that has ever been shown in any MCA car show. Bob recently had the opportunity to buy this hardtop, which-since the '81 Grand National-had not been shown and had disappeared from public viewing. Apparently, the owner became so disgruntled because the car won Third Place, he just parked it in his collection and stopped showing it.

How did the car warrant such a low rank? The MCA judges mistakenly deducted 25 points for what they perceived as a '65 standard interior. Apparently, they decoded the 26A on the door tag as standard black interior, which should have a rosette insert for the '66. However, 26A decodes technically as standard black interior, alternate. What does this mean? Alternate means Ford installed an alternate upholstery trim. Take a look at the data plate tag and you'll see a 22G date code for July 22, 1965-very late in the '66 model year. Apparently, Ford did not have rosette insert seats-for whatever reason-and installed '65 upholstery instead. Therefore, these '65 seats are stock. The MCA probably didn't have this information 18 years ago.

Now Bob maintains this historic '66 hardtop in his Mustang collection in Juneau, Wisconsin, where it receives better care than ever. Bob pointed out the original paper inspection stickers on the cowl, which are very rare on early cars. He also pulled off the air cleaner lid to reveal the original air filter with the number C4ZF plainly visible. Hawkeyes will notice blue overspray on the exhaust manifolds. The original rotunda paper card is still wired to the radiator cap. A TRIM OK stamp on the inner fender panel is another rare sight.

The original owners saved the paper tags in the glovebox, and Bob hung them-as the factory did on delivery-on the heater controls and on the turn signal lever. There's even a Quality Car Care original paper floor mat in this car. The rear seatbelts are still covered with factory plastic. Bob says the original plastic covers were under the rear seat.

Could this '66 Mustang be the best-preserved original of the '65-'66 model year? Take a look and judge for yourself; it's a real time traveler.