Jim Smart
August 1, 2008

Lopez Island, Washington, is home to approximately 2,200 people. The enchanting little island outside of Seattle has roots dating back 9,000 years, according to The Lopez Island Historical Society. As recently as 3,000 years ago, there was quite a family network in place with a big interest in boating (naturally), fishing, and hunting. Europeans first arrived on the island 400 years ago, drawn by the same interest in maritime activities and a passion for nature.

For islanders Bill and Nancy Johnson, it isn't boating, fishing, or hunting that get their motors running. If you've attended Mustang Club of America national shows, you're probably familiar with Nancy's Silver Blue '66 Mustang convertible. If at first it doesn't resemble the convertible you remember, there's a reason. Most of the time, it sports a set of rear fender skirts, a once-common aftermarket accessory from the '60s.

It's hard to run into Nancy and not find Bill, who built this Mustang for her with help from a lot of people in the Mustang Club of America. Bill has served valiantly as president of the MCA on two occasions. With such a passionate interest in classic Mustangs and the people who restore them, Bill and Nancy's commitment to the MCA isn't surprising, nor are the events that led to her '66 Mustang convertible.

When the Johnsons brought this car home for the first time, their goal was to perform an MCA-standard concours restoration and trailer it to sanctioned competition. But the more they thought about it, the more they wanted to drive it, which called for an entirely different approach. For one thing, Bill and Nancy live in the middle of a vast stretch of water between Puget Sound and the Discovery Islands in a place that gets 25 inches of rain during a nine-month rainy season. That environment can be difficult on a vintage automobile.

"Although 'Six-Six' is detailed and adorned with the proper paint, markings, and decals, it's not a Thoroughbred because I really don't want that kind of car," Nancy says. "We had a concours Boss 351 and I don't have the desire to spend that much time cleaning and detailing." Nancy adds that her priorities shifted when grandchildren came along, which provided a side benefit: energetic young people to help with the cleaning and dirty work.

Before you is something once mainstream in America-a '66 Mustang convertible with 289-2V power, a C4 Cruise-O-Matic, 2.80:1 highway gears, a blue and white Pony interior with console, and power steering. Bill and Nancy like this car for its charm and memories of their youth. It didn't get into its current condition without a lot of help from people such as Dick Knight, Larry Berkovich, Randy Sargent, Wally Short, Bob Perkins, and Jim Chism. These gentlemen are all talented restorers and MCA show judges committed to excellence.

"It's a constant head turner," Nancy tells us. "It drives like a dream and stops on a dime." She especially enjoys her Mustang's 289 V-8, which was upgraded to Autolite 4100 carburetion when it was rebuilt. Bill decided to warm up the engine inside with a hotter hydraulic cam to improve low-end torque and traffic light-to-traffic light performance. An aftermarket power brake booster assists with stopping. Underneath, Bill undercoated the car for durability in Lopez Island's wet climate.

"It doesn't have air conditioning," Nancy says. "But what do you think a droptop is for?"