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1966 Ford Mustang - Junkyard Crawl

One Trick Shift Pony

By Steve Magnante, Photography by Steve Magnante

Though convertibles and 2+2 (fastback) models get all the stares and collector dollars today, the basic Mustang hardtop accounted for well over three-fourths of all Mustang sales during the car's first few years of production. For instance, of the 607,568 Mustangs sold in 1966, 35,698 were 2+2 fastbacks and 72,119 were convertibles. By contrast, a whopping 499,751 were hardtops. Get the point?

Seems the 2+2 fastback's miniaturized trunk lid opening and the convertible's reduced-volume trunk compartment weren't practical enough for most buyers. But the hardtop offered a larger trunk lid than the 2+2's mail slot, and its trunk volume wasn't compromised by the convertible's folding top mechanism. The kicker for many customers was the hardtop's starting price-some $200 less than the other body styles offered. Here's a sweet '66 hardtop we spotted recently at Desert Valley Auto Parts in arid Phoenix (www.dvap.com, 800/905-8024). It'd make a great starting point for any number of cool projects.

Groovy Factoids
• When Ford introduced the Mustang on April 17, 1964, first-day sales were a record-smashing 22,000. That's in one day. By the time April 17, 1965 rolled around, Ford had sold a total of 418,812 Mustangs. The ponycar was born, and the rest of Detroit quickly realized it wanted a slice of the action. If you love Cougars, Camaros, Firebirds, Barracudas, Challengers, and Javelins, you owe a debt of gratitude to the original Mustang.

• An optional front bench seat was offered for just under $25.00 on '65 and '66 hardtops and convertibles. But of the 1.3 million first-generation Mustangs sold, only about 2,000 were ordered with the Falcon-esque front bench seat (with fold-down center armrest). All others got sportier front bucket seats.

By Steve Magnante
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