Jim Smart
November 1, 2001
Photos By: Jeff Ford

That is it about a low-mileage original that quickens our pulses? Maybe it's the smell of original vinyl still gassing after all these years. Perhaps it's witnessing firsthand what the Mustang was like in the beginning. And for those of you who weren't there to see it for yourself in 1966, step up, carefully open the door, lean inside, and take a deep breath.

This is Jim and Earla Turcich's '66 Mustang GT fastback, a 12,000-mile original sporting the optional 289 Hi-Po, a four-speed, 3.50:1 peg-leg gears, and all the spirit and fury of a classic high-performance car. The low mileage or the special history isn't what excites us most-it's the sound of the engine. Don't you get a rush whenever you hear the Autolite starter, the combustion, and the clatter of 16 rocker arms? It's a sweet sound we associate with the musclecars of yesterday. Those cars were high maintenance and heavy on the 'tude. Goose the throttle and they command your attention. Hang on to the bucket seat bottom and they gain your respect. This is the 271hp 289 Hi-Po experience.

When we get past the adrenaline rush of Ford's Total Performance era, the history of this car becomes the most intriguing issue. It's a low-mileage original, yet it's not an original in every respect. It has 12,000 original miles showing, but it's a restored Mustang. Confused? Read on.

Stovall-Wolfe Ford in Albermarle, North Carolina, took delivery of this K-GT on August 1, 1966, after assembly at Dearborn. It was sold to the first owner on January 31, 1967. That experience was short-lived, since the original owner sold the car the following September before he shipped off to Vietnam. The second owner bought the car and kept it for her son until 1970 when the title was transferred to him. In June 1973 the Mustang-with just 6,000 miles showing-was sold to a brother-in-law. Because the brother-in-law was an over-the-road trucker, he didn't drive the car much either. He sold it to his neighbor in 1975 with just 9,000 miles showing.

Selling the Mustang to a neighbor was a sad twist of fate for the low-mileage original. It was painted black, neglected, and left to rot. Believe it or not, when it was sold in 1981, it sat on four flat tires with just 10,713 original miles showing. The buyer at that time understood the importance of salvaging the low-mile original. It was repainted, spruced up as necessary, and driven very little. Not much is known about what happened since then.

Today, we see this bright red Mustang GT restored to perfection by Mustang Farm in Kennesaw, Georgia. The original Hi-Po engine was rebuilt by Cobra Restorers, also in Georgia, so we have a low-mileage restored. The red finish baffles the Turcichs because the color code W7 indicates Gulfstream Aqua, a '67 color. The original title says KD Red. No one knows for sure if the car was originally Gulfsteam Aqua or red.

The Turcichs have been very successful with their Mustang, which they snapped up more than 12 years ago. They took an Award of Excellence at the 35th Anniversary Celebration in Charlotte in 1999. Several First and Second Place awards have come along the way as well.

We've learned from the Turcichs' beautifully restored Mustang GT that Mustangs have touched nearly every walk of life imaginable. Though it's impossible for most of us to believe that anyone could abuse and neglect a 9,000-mile original, we realize Mustangs weren't always the center of the universe for everyone. This one was nothing more than a set of wheels for someone who bought it, neglected it, and tossed it aside to be forgotten. This one could have easily gone the way of a terrible fate had it not been discovered in time. By shear fate, it survived to keep the low miles that's on the original dial today.