April 1, 2008

Owner: Ian Bailey
Location: Redlands, CA
Vehicle: '66 Mustang Hardtop
Color: Red
Engine: 200 ci I-6
Length Of Ownership: 2 Years
Primary Use: Restoration Project

Ian Bailey shared his story with us via an e-mail:

Upon my way home from work, I saw my dream girl. There she was, with "for sale" signs all over her. My first thought was, It's probably already sold. I peeked through the window, felt the roof, closed my eyes, and just imagined fixing her up and driving her.

Well, it wasn't sold, and the owners liked me the most out of everybody who called and stopped by. Immediately following New Year's weekend of 2005, they sold it to me for $1,200 cash. I can't describe the feeling of maturity and pride after being handed the keys to my first car-and dream car at the same time. It was quite moving.

In August 2005 the unimaginable happened. My engine caught fire on the highway. Forty years of dirt, oil, and grime had caked the entire engine block, and the seals/gaskets had never been replaced-basically, the engine hadn't been properly maintained.

It was at this point in time I realized that if I was going to do this, I would do it once, and do it right. I decided to do the full-on restoration. My mom and dad sold me their family car so I would have something to drive.

Now I have my project car and a daily driver. So far, I've stripped the entire exterior and interior to just a shell. I'm slowly building it back up like a hot rod. I replaced the original '66 four-lug rear axle with a V-8 five-lug axle to accommodate my American racing 17-inch rims. The car will be equipped with a fully adjustable Air Ride suspension system from Air Ride Technologies. I need to buy new control arms and spindles before the front airbags, brakes, and rims can be mounted.

Soon to be installed are Stainless Steel Brake disc brakes on all fours; a TCP rack-and-pinion steering kit; a Flaming River stainless steel tilt steering column; an original, wooden Grant steering wheel; and a compressed-air tank in the trunk (to control the suspension system) with switches running up to the center console.

I'm keeping the original six-cylinder engine because it's not common, it gets better gas mileage, it's original, and I've already spent money on having the transmission rebuilt. The engine will also sport a chrome Clifford "6 into 2" header running through a Dr. Gas exhaust kit bringing the exhaust pipes out either side of the body kit's side skirts, just before the rear tires.

Lastly, I'll tackle the interior and stereo system, but I have a long way to go before I get to this point.

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