1966 Ford Mustang GT Convertible - Mustang With A Mission
Reliable Transportation Is A Must For The Important Work Of This Enthusiast
From the May, 2009 issue of Modified Mustangs & Fords
By Wayne Cook
Photography by Mark Houlahan
Marco Navarro of Irving, Texas, is a dyed-in-the-wool Mustang enthusiast. One look at his sweet '66 Mustang GT convertible is all it takes to determine that. The modern rolling stock and the K-code-style high-performance emblems are just two of the things that attest to the owner's interest in performance. What you can't tell directly by looking at this original California black-plate car is that it's used as a principle means of transportation by a man with a mission. Marco Navarro is a dentist by profession, and he provides his important services to both sides of the international border.
Besides practicing dentistry in the Dallas area, Marco also commutes regularly to a practice in Monterey, Mexico. Crossing the border at Laredo, Texas, this is a distance of over 500 miles. Marco has patients in Mexico who depend on him for the important care that he provides; so when the time comes to make the trip, he can't be worried about whether his car is up to the task. Being too busy to completely restore a Mustang by himself, Marco contacted the professionals at KAR Auto Group of Columbus, Ohio. KAR had this GT available. He purchased the convertible and then had KAR perform the restoration and all of the extensive modifications you see here. Every precaution has been taken to make this Pony comfortable and reliable-as well as fast.
With the special suspension...
With the special suspension both front and rear, Marco has no problem dialing in the perfect rake on his Mustang, even with all four tires the same size. The American Racing Torq-Thrust wheels and the classic silver paint with classic striping combine to make a perfect statement.
When serious business is at hand, the D.D.S. must have the ability to reach his destination rain or shine. To keep pace with the modern world, serious upgrades abound on this car. Marco needs to be able to keep up with the traffic on the interstate as well as contend with the southern Texas heat. Toward that end, he has had an AODE four-speed automatic transmission and Classic Auto Air air conditioning installed. An advanced coilover suspension at both front and rear are also part of the formula. Other creature comforts include paddle shifting for the transmission, a tilt steering column for comfort adjustment, and a great stereo to pass the time while on that 500-mile trek.
Safety issues for the convertible were high on the good doctor's agenda, so three-point seatbelts as well as headrests are part of the package. Important appointments can't be delayed with a flat tire in a rural area, so Continental run-flat tires with a tire pressure monitoring system are part of the car's heavy-duty outfitting. Take a moment to study this elegant and well-balanced Mustang package. With everything this Pony has going for it, we're willing to bet that Marco looks forward to his frequent 1,000-plus-mile round-trip jaunts to the south of the border.
The interior of this car has...
The interior of this car has a lot going on. The console and shifter area are thoroughly modernized, and the TMI seats look super comfortable. The brushed aluminum dash inserts and white faced gauges certainly brighten up the instrument panel nicely. The air conditioning is unobtrusive and the whole interior has a clean and uncluttered look.
The standard-style door trim...
The standard-style door trim panel with its bright "racetrack" trim looks good upgraded with billet armrests, release lever, and power window control panel. Perfect paint and new sill plates make the door jambs look great.
Under the bonnet, things are...
Under the bonnet, things are super sanitary and squared away. The jewel-like short-deck is adorned with a Sanden A/C compressor and a K-code-style open-element air cleaner. The tower bracing and Monte Carlo bar help add rigidity to the convertible body style. With a 9.5:1 compression ratio, the engine runs fine on garden-variety pump gas. Combined with the AODE transmission, smooth reliability is a principal virtue.
The cool Flaming River Waterfall...
The cool Flaming River Waterfall steering wheel has been equipped with paddle shifting to allow transmission control without removing hands from the wheel. The extra thick rim with leather jacketing makes the wheel much more comfortable to use than the OE spaghetti-thin tiller. The FR wheel is similar in size and feel to the modern Mustang steering wheel.
Marco Navarro's '66 Mustang GT convertible
- 302ci V-8
- Cast-iron block
- 4.00-inch bore
- 3.00-inch stroke
- Ford cast-iron cylinder heads
- 9.5:1 compression ratio
- FRPP hydraulic camshaft, 0.448/0.448 lift, 280 degrees duration @ 0.050 inch
- Edelbrock Performer aluminum intake
- Holley Street Avenger 600-cfm four-barrel carburetor
- K-code air cleaner assembly
- Pertronix ignition
- Performance Automatic AODE four-speed automatic
- 2007 Mustang shifter
- Twist Machine Compushift stand-alone controller
- Twist Machine Shrifter paddle shifter
- 8-inch axle
- 3.50 Richmond gears
- Auburn differential
- 28-spline axles
- Hedman Elite mid-length headers
- 2-inch-diameter aluminized custom exhaust
- MagnaFlow mufflers
- GT exhaust tips
- Front: Ron Morris Street Force tubular control arms, coilover shock absorbers, Randall's rack-and-pinion steering
- Rear: Heidts four-link, coilover shock absorbers
- Front: Stainless Steel Brakes Force 10, 13-inch rotors, Tri Power three-piston calipers
- Rear: Stainless Steel Brakes, 11.75-inch rotors, two-piston calipers
- Front: American Racing Torque Thrust II, 17x8, 4.5-inch backspacing
- Rear: American Racing Torque Thrust II, 17x8, 4.5-inch backspacing
- Front: Continental ContiTouringContact ContiSeal, P225/45R17
- Rear: Continental ContiTouringContact ContiSeal, P225/45R17
- KAR-restored dark blue Sierra grain vinyl, TMI sport seats, Classic Auto Air Perfect Fit A/C system, Flaming River Waterfall steering wheel, Twist Machine Shrifter paddle shifter, VDO white-faced gauges, Custom Autosound USA 66 AM/FM stereo, dual cone dash speaker, 6-inch Pioneer kick-panel speakers, Electric Life power windows, Flaming River tilt steering column, custom KAR console with '07 Mustang shifter, custom-made shift selection indicator, floor-mounted emergency brake lever, TMI adjustable headrests, billet door pull handles, billet pedal pads, three-point seatbelts, aluminum dashpanel appliqu, auxiliary power point plug-in, carpeted trunk, Viper alarm system, run-flat tire pressure monitoring system
- PPG Silver Metallic paint by Hayes Hot Paint and KAR of Columbus, Ohio, KAR fiberglass hood and front valance, inboard light kit, LeMans-style stripes, GT ornamentation, power radio antenna