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1966 Ford Mustang GT Hardtop - Mustangs In Paradise
In Hawaii, Mustangs Are A Year-Round Experience
There's hardly a Mustang club in the United States that didn't celebrate Ford's 100th anniversary in one form or another. And that includes the Aloha Mustang and Shelby Club of Hawaii. Last May, the AMSCH staged its annual Mike McKenna-Windward Ford-sponsored "Mustang Madness & All Ford Show XI," a one-day charity event (for the American Cancer Society) at McKenna's Kailua dealership, located on the windy side of the island of Oahu.
Of course, it doesn't take much convincing to get "mainlanders" to visit the Hawaiian Islands. And when you're asked to serve as grand marshall at the AMSCH show, how can you resist? Past event dignitaries have included Carroll Shelby, SVT's John Coletti and Dave Dempster, My Classic Car host Dennis Gage, and Steve Saleen. Next year, William Clay Ford himself is rumored to be attending.
However, since 2003 is Ford Motor Company's 100th anniversary, the club chose to pay tribute to the oldest surviving Ford product in the Hawaiian Islands. The 1907 Model-N Ford runabout was recently restored by the Aloha Chapter of the Antique Automobile Club of America.
"This Model-N was assembled at the Ford Piquette Avenue plant in Detroit, and shipped directly to Hilo, Hawaii, in 1907," said former AMSCH President Don Johnston. "To our knowledge, it is the oldest surviving Ford product in the 50th state." According to Johnston, the Model-N was originally used to drive its owners around the plantations on the "Big Island."
Last May, the rejuvenated Model-N was in good company. All told, 125 Ford-powered entries (70 percent of them Mustangs) rolled up to McKenna's Kailua dealership to compete for honors in 18 classes, including a special "rumble contest." Out of that number, the mix of early versus late-model Mustangs was about 50/50.
Also noteworthy is the fact that, through the sales of three new Fords, McKenna was able to donate $300 to the "Spirit of Giving" program that benefits local schools. The dealership also donates a new car to Oahu's "Project Graduation" program each year for the student with the highest GPA. The nickname of the local high school? The Kalaheo Mustangs, of course!
While we were slumming in Hawaii, we took the opportunity to grab some photos of Hawaiian Mustangs. Unlike mainland Mustangers, owners there don't always have a Mustang shop just around the corner, and it can take days to have parts shipped across half the Pacific. Yet, the Mustangs of Hawaii are as nice as any on the U.S. mainland.
Na Lio Alani (The Orange Horse)Like many of us, Le Notley once owned "the Mustang that got away." In Le's case, it was a no-frills '65 Mustang coupe. Thirty-two years later, a lady who worked in Notley's office asked if he was interested in buying an "old" Mustang.
"I told her it would have to be one of the classics, but she didn't know what year the car was. I made an appointment to see the car, and I was not disappointed. As her husband hoisted the rollup garage door, I caught a glimpse of the chrome exhaust tips. It was a GT!"
The Mustang proved to be a fully loaded, fully restored Emberglo '66 GT hardtop with a white vinyl top, an Emberglo two-tone Pony interior, a 289 4V, and automatic. And the price was right. "We didn't even haggle," smiled Le. Suffice it to say, Le's prized GT is a head-turner wherever it goes on the Big Island of Hawaii. Called "Na Lio Alani," Hawaiian for "the Orange Horse," Notley's '66 Mustang GT coupe also bears the vanity plate "MINT 66." It's all that and more.
Wanted: Boss 302Pearl City's Kenny Iboshi grew up in the '60s reading all the car magazines he could get his hands on. Being a Mustang enthusiast, he had always admired the Boss 302; but, as a teenager, there was no way Kenny could afford one. The years passed and finances improved; but, even after retirement, Iboshi was still looking for that elusive Boss 302. Then he met a guy at the local swap meet who said he might have a '70 for sale.
"My heart raced. I could feel my palms sweating," Iboshi said. "I went home and couldn't sleep thinking about that car. The next day, I was on the phone trying my best to convince the guy that he had to sell the car to me!"
Iboshi's perseverance paid off. Once the owner felt confident the Boss would be in good hands, everything fell into place.
"I'm the seventh owner," Iboshi told us. "It was originally sold in Arizona, and remained there for many years. It's Calypso Coral, which we call 'orange' over here. I've always liked that color."
Iboshi's Boss remains mostly original, right down to the Magnum 500 wheels, Shaker hoodscoop, Sports Slats, and Drag Pack Boss 302 engine, having been restored in California by its previous owner before he moved to Honolulu. While Iboshi likes to show his Boss, he likes to drive it even more. "The adrenaline rush I get whenever I jump on the gas is like no other."
Wahiawa: Wonderful Mustang"I've owned over 100 different cars in my lifetime, so I guess you could say I'm a car nut," says Wahiawa, Oahu's Phil Hanson. A few years ago, after getting the bug to buy another Mustang, Phil stumbled across a Tahoe Turquoise '66 coupe and bought it within 10 minutes.
"The first thing my wife said when she saw it was, 'What a piece of junk!'" Phil laughs. "Granted, it was pretty rough, but I could see the possibilities. The original 289 was still running, and it still had the factory California smog equipment. More importantly, there was almost zero rust!"
Over the next couple of months, Phil dismantled the coupe and got it ready for M&W Auto Body & Paint's Alan Watanabe to spray the two-stage Sikkens Tahoe Turquoise metallic with clearcoat.
"While the car was in the paint shop, I bought a new interior from Mustang Salvage & Auto Parts in California. I travel quite a bit through my work, so I was able to purchase a new front valance and a set of wheels at a California swap meet. On a trip to Florida, I purchased a '66 Top Loader four-speed. It's amazing what you can declare as 'luggage' if you're extra nice to the skycaps! Just about everything else was purchased from either Mustangs Unlimited or RestoreMustangs.com."
With ideal weather practically year-round, Hansen's '66 is driven on a regular basis. The car is also shown, recently taking a First Place in the '64-'66 modified class at the Mustang Madness & All Ford Show. "I'm most proud of the fact that, with the exception of the paintwork, virtually everything else on the car has been done by myself and my wife, Cynthia," Phil says. "She doesn't think it's a piece of junk now!"
Mach-WonderfulIn 1999, Andy Partika noticed a primered '71 Mustang fastback in front of a local automotive repair shop in Kailua. "I found out the car was owned by an enlisted man in the U.S. Navy at Pearl Harbor, and the car had been sitting there for months."
To Partika's delight, he also discovered that the owner was less than a week away from being discharged and moving back home to Wisconsin. "He desperately needed to sell the car. After giving him a check for $900, I loaded up the pieces and towed the Mustang home."
Andy's wife declared, "That's the ugliest thing you've brought home yet!" However, after Andy decoded the paperwork and realized the car was a genuine Mach 1, he was able to convince the missus that it was money wisely invested.
"The first thing I did was clean away 30 years of dirt, grease, and neglect," said Partika. "Before I knew it, I had the car stripped down to the bare shell." In the process, he had to replace a floorpan, and, to prevent any further rust damage, he completely undercoated the body shell with POR-15. Then Conrad Carvello painted the Mach in PPG Raven Black.
Once back from the body shop, Partika began the reassembly, but not as a concours show car. This Mach is anything but stock with a Pro Motorsports front suspension kit, competition antisway bars, a 9-inch Traction-Lok rear suspended by Eaton Detroit's Musclecar Series springs, KYB shocks, and American Racing Torq-Thrust IIs with huge BFGoodrich Radial T/A rubber. Randall Kubo at Al's Auto performed the machine work on the 351 Cleveland, which features 11:5:1 TRW pistons, '70 quench heads, a Weiand intake with a 750-cfm Holley Dominator, an MSD Pro-Billet distributor, and Hooker Super Comp headers with Flowmaster mufflers.
Completed in 2001, Partrida's modified Mach 1 not only wins show trophies, it runs in the mid-14s to boot.
Pukalani PowerhouseTwenty-eight-year-old Maui mechanic Edric Breeden grew up around fast cars, crediting his uncle Rusty Medeiros, an NHRA racer, as the chief inspiration behind the building of his '65 Mustang 2+2. But it was his grandmother who helped him get started.
"The fastback was owned by my grandmother in Oregon," Edric explains. "It had been in storage for about 10 years, and the last time I visited her, I mentioned that if she ever decided to sell the car, call me first!" Six months later, the phone rang, and his grandmother said, "Come get your Mustang!" So Edric and Uncle Rusty flew over and drove the car to Seattle, where it was loaded in a container and shipped home to Hawaii.
Once on Maui, Edric tackled the project with a vengeance. The suspension and brake systems were completely rebuilt, and a set of American Torq-Thrust IIs and Goodyear Eagles were added. The next order of business was modifying the fastback's drivetrain with a Comp Cams cam, a Weiand intake, a 600-cfm Holley four-barrel, and a PerTronix/Bosch ignition. Also onboard is a California Mustang engine dress-up kit and Hedman "shorty" headers with Sonic turbo mufflers.
Edric performed the paint and bodywork himself, spraying the 2+2 in DuPont Poppy Red, and adding a pair of Champagne Copper stripes. On the inside, Breeden's Mustang features a Vintage Air A/C, a Kenwood/Pioneer audio system, and tan vinyl upholstery.
"Now this car is better than new," Edric exclaims as he and girlfriend, Buraine Norwood, prepared to cruise the island on a Sunday afternoon. Thanks, Grandma!