Jerry Heasley
March 26, 2012

I remember buying Mustang coupes like this '66 for $350. In 1977, a lady drove a '65 hardtop into the service station where I pumped gas and offered to sell her car for $400. The Mustang had a 289, Rally Pac, and automatic transmission. I bought it for $350, or less than the original Rally Pac would be worth today.

Deals like that one from 30 years ago are long gone. Granted, the '65 I purchased had a V-8. The subject of this month's Rare Finds has a six—err, used to have a six. The inline 200 cubic-inch engine is long gone, as is the three-speed manual transmission. But I wonder what $440 in 1977 is equivalent to today?

With many owners converting sixes to V-8s, there are a plethora of original six-cylinder engines and three-speed manual transmissions lying around in garages. Already, Madison, Mississippi's Carson Braymer and his father have spotted a running 200 cubic-inch six for $180. And a friend of Carson's father has a three-speed for 75 bucks.

I'm hoping to get it running for under $1,000," Carson said with a twinge of excitement in his voice. The thought of getting an old car running again is definitely exciting, like the anticipation of a dream car on the way.

Are six-cylinder/three-speed Mustangs the stuff of dreams? It is for Carson, an 18 year-old in pursuit of a great-looking set of wheels. He might be somewhat biased by his father's Mustang obsession.

I'm a senior in high school and grew up with my Dad's '66 Mustang convertible as the image of my dream car," Carson told me.

This Rare Find started with an email from a friend who spotted a '66 Mustang for sale on Craigslist. The ad was old, but when Carson dialed the number last fall, he was surprised that the older lady who answered the phone still had the car. Maybe the rural location, 20 miles outside of Madison, Mississippi, limited the inquiries.

The Mustang sat beside an old barn that Carson describes in his teenage lingo as, Not super cryptic looking."

Originally she was trying to get $1,000 for it and I didn't have that," Carson adds. She said she and her husband bought the car many years ago with intentions to restore. They just never got around to it."

Carson had to turn down the car at first, but he didn't give up. He stayed in touch with the lady over the next few weeks and was finally able to talk her down to the amazingly low sum of $440.

Carson is ecstatic because he now has his first Mustang. The body is fairly straight, needing paint but with very little rust, mainly in the floor pans. The quarter panels are rust-free and straight.

The '66 has become a father/son project car. Carson wants to go back stock with the 200 cubic-inch six and three-speed manual transmission.

The 200 cubic-inch six is a good engine," he says with a note of authority. You can do just a little bit to get good horsepower out of it. Plus, they get better gas mileage than the V-8," Carson said.

Carson plans to drive the car as a freshman at Ole Miss next year. Maybe the lady who sold Carson the car gave him a deal on purpose.

Maybe she thought you would really restore and drive the old Mustang?" I asked.

I think that was a big part of it, yes sir."