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Restored 1966 Mustang Convertible - Overhauled For A Cause - Pay It Forward
The East Texas Mustang Club Exceeded Scott Drake's Expectations By Restoring A '66 Convertible In Just Over 100 Days
While club members began refurbishing components and making a list of needed parts, the body was loaded on a rotisserie and delivered to club member Eddie Siler for bodywork and paint. "He was the key to getting the car done so quickly," Chesley points out. "Without paint and bodywork, you're pretty much dead in the water. Eddie wanted to do it so bad. He's one of those guys who doesn't know when to stop."
As an Arizona car, there wasn't a lot of rust, but Chesley points out that the car had been hit several times so there was quite a bit of body damage. Nearly all of the sheetmetal was removed for repair or replacement, with Gateway Classic Mustang in St. Louis providing the new sheetmetal.
In addition to the many talents of club members, Chesley credits organization with helping members finish the car in such a short time. "We had to make sure we had parts when we needed them," Chesley says. "A lot of the parts came from Scott Drake and his people did a good job of making sure we had the parts when we needed them."
Other companies jumped in to donate parts as well. Old Air Products provided the air-conditioning, Performance Automatic sent a C4 transmission, Kicker supplied the stereo system, and Distinctive Industries stepped up with leather upholstery. Local companies helped with paint, adhesives, and smaller parts. Quantum Performance built the engine and delivered it to the club during an MCA board meeting at their facility in Dallas.
"I felt it was a chance to try to help people who aren't so fortunate," said Quantum president Kenny Northum. "I've had a lot of really good times in this hobby, so now I want to give something back."
Kenny and the Quantum crew built a roller 302 for the Pay It Forward Mustang. "When the club told me how they were going to build the car, I realized it was taking on a true driver persona, something you can really use," Kenny says. Starting with a short-block from factory rebuilder AER, Quantum put together a healthy but streetable small-block with Ford Racing aluminum heads topped by polished aluminum valve covers, B303 camshaft, and F302 dual-plane aluminum intake. Club member Randy Ortigo, who specializes in carburetors, provided the Holley 4-barrel.
On July 1, Eddie Siler delivered the Pay It Forward Mustang to club members in its fresh Candy Apple Red paint, along with Parchment interior panels to match the Distinctive Industries' leather upholstery. Although the reassembly phase was scheduled for the July 4 weekend, the guys began putting the car back together immediately. Eight hours later, the car was equipped with its new wiring, front suspension, master cylinder and booster, fuel tank, Kicker amp, and many of the other electrical components.
For the next several weeks, the project volunteers worked nights and weekends reassembling the convertible with its new or refurbished components. On July 25, with the Mustang mostly back together and running, club members decided to have some fun. The club's practical joker, Mitch Ardoin, was asked to drive the car, sans front end sheetmetal and doors, on its initial shake-down run to check out the engine, drivetrain, and suspension. During the drive, he was pulled over by a Sheriff's deputy for running a stop sign. Craig explained that he's a truck driver and cannot afford a ticket because he could lose his commercial driver's license. The sweat factor increased when the deputy began checking numbers to see if the car was stolen. Then, as the deputy wrote out the ticket and club members gathered, Mitch was informed that he had been "punked." It was a setup.
"He deserved it," Chesley said. "He thinks he's a practical joker but I told him that he's messing with a pro." A video of the prank is posted on YouTube; search for "Pay It Forward Mustang."