Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
February 10, 2016
Photos By: Andrew Wallace

Andrew Wallace fell in love with classic Mustangs from the first time he spotted one. Like most, he longed for the swoopy lines of the fastback, but settled for a hardtop due to the higher cost of entry into the world of fastback ownership. The Mustang would be a fun project that he felt would be “easy” after fixing up a 1952 Packard, for which parts are scarce. Andrew even had a friend with a Mustang sitting in his backyard that he wasn’t going to ever get around to building, and within two weeks of hearing about his friend’s Mustang it was in Andrew’s backyard and getting torn apart for a restoration.

“The car has been a California car all its life. When I got it, it was complete but it needed everything. It had been parked since 1978, spending most of that idle time in the driveway of the second owner in dry Monterey Park, a suburb of Los Angeles. The owner’s manual was still in the glove box (although it was seriously mildewed), showing that the car had been sold new by Jesse R. Ellico Inc. in Alhambra, CA on 5-10-66. The car was a special order in Sapphire Blue with the blue and white deluxe interior, so I’m keeping it that way as I redo it,” Andrew states.

This is where Andrew’s 1966 hardtop project sat, in his backyard, next to the pool, for almost a year as he slowly took it apart.
With known engine troubles on an already rebuilt 289 Andrew opted to simply source a 302 short-block to build a fresh engine.

Andrew was only the owner of the hardtop for a couple of days when business had him out of town for four months. It would be the better part of a year before he had worked on the car enough in the backyard that he could move it into his garage. Initial plans were to build it as a nice driver, but very quickly Andrew’s project turned into something much more, as it needed just about everything. “It probably would've been cheaper and easier to call up a Mustang parts vendor and say, ‘send me one of everything’ because that’s basically what's happened,” Andrew lamented.

The original 289 had been rebuilt once and was fouling plugs when Andrew’s friend purchased it. After getting burned on another 289 he found on Craigslist Andrew finally scored a standard-bore 302 that is being built up with a few performance goodies with a period looking exterior. The rest of the car will feature a few well-placed upgrades like GT-spec front springs, front disc brakes, a 3.50-geared Traction Lok in the 8-inch rear, and even a T-5 conversion for today’s speedy highways, but it will all be under a stock appearing skin and interior. No fiberglass flares or scoops, no crazy interior, just a nice, stock appearing hardtop that can run, handle, and brake for today’s roads.

Currently the hardtop sits in Andrew’s garage with a fresh coat of paint, the suspension in place, brakes installed, wiring, and fuel/brake lines done. By the time you read this he should have the engine installed and working on final assembly, interior, and glass. Andrew can’t wait to check out the Tony D. Branda Shelby & Mustang Parts catalog, our Generation M contest sponsor, and pick up some much needed parts for his project. The most amazing thing however is, just as Andrew states in his video, he’s never actually driven a classic V-8 Mustang. So when he twists the key on his completed project sometime later this year for the first time, it’ll be his first time as well. How about that?

Back from paint, Andrew would use a combination of his garage and driveway as work areas to put the fresh shell back together. Here the suspension and brakes are on as is some of the chrome.
Currently a Classic Auto Air A/C system is going in along with the all new chassis wiring. Andrew added Dynamat to every exposed surface to quiet the car down and make it feel more solid.