1966 Ford Mustang – Is It Original?

Is it original, or is it not? (those of a certain generation will be thinking “is it live, or is it Memorex?”) This 1966 Mustang is being sold by its third owner and for the first time since 2005. They have it listed for sale here on eBay with a starting bid of $4,000 but a buy it now only a little higher at $5,000. The pony car can be found in Wilmington, Delaware if you are already thinking about traveling to see it.

The seller describes the car as “…all original, inside and out” and it’s quite possible that is true. They also describe the paint as “alligatoring” in spots. I’m not familiar with this with an original paint job, but then again, most 1966 cars I’ve seen are on their second, third or even tenth paint jobs. Are any of you familiar enough with 60’s Ford paint technology and methods to recognize this as original? Normally I would view a car like this as having evidence of prior body work, but maybe I’m going to learn something from you folks.

Here’s some more for your perusal on the rear fender. The seller also reports (and has pictures of) some small rusty areas on the passenger side door.

As this appears to be a pretty basic 1966 model, it’s not too surprising to find the three speed manual transmission present. As the owner says, the interior does look to be in great shape. The only flaw noted is that the AM radio barely pulls in the local station. It does look like the 50,707 mile interior the seller tells us it is — as a side note, they have only put 2,020 miles on the car since 2007.

No race car, this, but the inline six, despite not being a “286” as the owner claims, should move the Mustang along nicely. The seller tells us that during their ownership their mechanic has replaced the brakes, wheel cylinders and the brake linings, as well as the clutch and exhaust system. No, it’s not that GT350 that most of us would long for, but it does seem to be a solid example of the first generation of pony car. Are you interested? Would you leave it stock if it were yours?


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  1. jw454

    “286”? That’s a new one.

    • Ed P

      Special order only!!!!!

    • John T

      My guess is that it is the old reliable 200-6, which I believe is the very same 200CID straight six that carried over to the Ford Maverick/Mercury Comet twins as well as the Ford Fairmont/Mercury Zephyr twins.

      • John T

        Looks like the description on EBay indicates that this is in fact the 200 straight six with a single barrel carburetor along with the 3-speed manual on the floor. I would leave that part just the way it is and try to figure out the best way to handle the bodywork. An upgraded radio/sound system also would not hurt. Since there are no bids as of 9PM Eastern Time today (Friday July 7) I wonder if that means the asking price is too high???

      • John T

        WOW was I wrong!!! The car SOLD on Sunday July 9 at the full Buy It Now price $5000!

    • glen

      If 6 was 9.

      • Jeffro

        Jimi Hendrix asked the same question!

  2. Rustytech Member

    I don’t remember ever seeing OE paint do this. The only reason I can think of would be, it was exposed to excessive heat. I have however seen this on reprints do to poor prep or incompatible paint over old paint. This is a nice car, but I don’t think it’s “all original”.

    • King Al

      If the vehicle has spent any time around the FL swamps, alligatoring is possible.

  3. Mike Williams

    Don’t buy this thinking you can just add a v8, ain’t happining. Everything on this car is light weight and has to be upgraded to be used in conjunction with a v8. As far as originality, the drive train looks like it. There is going to be rust, but it will take a through inspection to find it all.

    • Ed P

      6 cyl cars Mustangs had 4 bolt wheels. V8’s had 5 bolt wheels. I would think other components are light weight also.

      • Rocco

        Little things you wouldn’t normally think of, like all the steering linkage. Like Mike and Ed said. The only part you can reuse(for V-8 swap), is the unibody and the steering box.

  4. Part time

    Looks like a repaint to me. Bondo falling off fender. Paint is probably lifting from new paint melting old.

    • Al D

      Agreed. Quick and dirty mud job in the past. Those holes on the inside of the door can’t be fixed properly because the original metal is stamped with a texture you can’t duplicate. Gonna need at least one door.

  5. giorgitd

    Alligator paint does not happen on a factory finish. Poor prep on the repaint. The question is…what number repaint?

  6. Mike Viserta

    Well im not a expert, But back in 66 Ford had issues with there paint flaking off, I had 2 66’s an both Stangs had this problem. Soooo maybe this one had it also ,And it was repainted at ol skool body shop, Not bad for the yr that it is. $5000.00 seems very fare. Jus sayin.

  7. Craig MacDonald

    Three months ago I bought a ’66 coupe with the 6 cyl. and and auto trans. I have the same paint issues and I’m pretty sure it’s because a bad repaint was done directly over the metal with no primer. The paint won’t adhere to the metal so it cracks, and in my case chips off.
    Yes, the 200 ci engine, while not going to lay rubber, is surprisingly peppy because this is such a light car. That’s also why it doesn’t need power steering or brakes. Add a 289 and all the upgrades that requires (5-lug, heavier suspension, etc.) and I think those would be more important. I’m perfectly happy with a spritely six.

    • Jeffro

      If you dump clutch at 5000rpm…it’ll lay a little bit of rubber. Not that I would do that. Jus sayin…

  8. Jeff

    If I wasn’t already wallet deep into another ford… I’d be on this thang! My first car was a ’66 Mustang! I’m coming around the corner of midlife crisis…

  9. JRP

    The paint problem is more than likely a case of too much primer too fast. Back in the day of nitrocellulose (lacquer based) primers many would apply too manly coats without enough dry time between coats. This can also be caused by using too much spot putty ( also known as red lead) which is also lacquer based. After so many years the primer or spot putty shrinks,the top coat splits then moisture has it’s way with the metal. The same can happen with the best newer primers if someone lacks patience and moderation.

    • NotchNut

      Old lacquer primer was exactly what I would have said.

  10. redwagon

    It’s it original or it’s it not?

    That got me to, “Does she or doesn’t she?” Which came a few years before”Is it live or is it Memorex?”

    The question being asked was color her hair? which is closer to the issues this Mustang has with its paint.

    I would not mind a good 6cyl Stang with a floor shift 3spd. Could be fun around town but I would not want to do any long trips with it.

    • King Al

      Great candidate for an Ecoboost v6.

      • Mike Williams

        won’t fit, to wide!

  11. Mountainwoodie

    Stripper with gears you can row! Now if it was a fastback ( did they make a fastback stripper 6 with a 3 speed?) I ‘d get excited. Even as it is great beater to bomb around in. Oh for the simple days said grandpa……

    • Pat A

      I own a ’65 FB w/six cylinders and 3 speed tranny. The trans is too weak to hold up to even the 120 hp of the six for very long. Had it rebuilt once and the only guarantee the guy would give is that he would guarantee that I’d be back. The best option is to find a later, ’73 and up I think, passenger car with the straight 6 and get the bellhousing from it. The trans bolt pattern for 6’s and V-8;s is the same and a T-5 would adapt to the older 6.

      • Rocco

        You have to use a ’67-’68 200ci bell housing and tranny. The ’67-’68 tranny is designed after a V-8 with thinner gears. Works great and is fully synchronized, where as the ’65-’66 six banger trans is only synchronized in 2nd & 3rd. None of these ’65-’66 trannies are worth rebuilding, IF you can even find parts for them. Of course the V-8 trans will work with the ’67 six banger bell. It also requires a special pilot bushing for this application. From the factory, the ’67’s used a pilot bush that stuck out of the crank about 1/4″ with a ring around that 1/4″ to give support to the brass so it wouldn’t spread(mushroom) outward. Very hard to find at any parts house, even if you can anymore.

  12. LAB3

    At this price and equiped with a six, who really cares if it’s original? This is a driver, not a trailer queen or investment grade car.

  13. Bill McCoskey

    There are 2 possibilities that will cause the paint to crack & peel like on these 2 fenders:

    1. Primer under the topcoat was too thick. [Body men will often use primer to fill small imperfections, building it up way too thick.]

    2. Primer not allowed to dry 100%.

    #1 will cause some of the solvents used in the topcoat to be absorbed by that thick primer, and when the solvent finally comes back out this is the result.

    #2 is the same situation as #1, except the solvent is coming out from the original primer coat. In this situation, the paint often peels due to poor adhesion to the primer, as the solvent is forming a barrier to adhesion.

  14. Carl Schwanbeck

    I got a 66 convertible in 69 and kept til 72. It had the 200 cid 6 with 3 speed. I got it with 44k on it and sold around 92k. It was not a very quick car. We took lots of long trips in it. It was a forest green color and came with chrome air cleaner and a console and with pin-striping. Great memories. Wish I hadn’t sold it for 300 though it did have significant rust issues and overheated by that time.
    The 3.7 6 cyl these days IS quick.

  15. CJ

    Looks like a lot of the infamous “bondo” has been used on this Pony. Would be wary of other suspicious rust areas covered up by the bondo!

  16. ceeme

    Yea, My experience tells me short, little cracks in all directions is a paint issue, especially lacquer. LONG cracks would be BONDO, and typically very THICK bondo. Body filler is supposed to be used in a thin application after proper hammer and dolly straightening, it is not suppose to be a half inch thick sculpture. I would say someone did not tell the truth to a buyer long ago, and the truth is starting to reveal it’s self.

  17. C Carl

    My nephew showed me this a while back. Go to YouTube and type in gymkhana 7. This guy can drive.

    • GOPAR

      Ken Block. Yes, he can drive!!

  18. Charlie Member

    While car shopping two years ago, test drove a new Nissan Murano, with a bad case of alligator paint (or orange peel if you prefer). And Fords of the 50’s often showed this defect – the paint was enamal, not lacquer. Mid 50’s Chevys gave the customer the choice. Multiple coats of “hand rubbed lacquer” while beautiful are far from “original”.

  19. Pat A

    Sometimes you’ll get that effect in the paint when too much reducer is used, to make it really shiny. The whole car would probably look like that, though. Also, is that right side shock tower bent, or is it just a trick of the light? I’d have to really look it over for frame damage. Could be a lot of money to restore a bent garden variety ‘Stang.

  20. Wayne

    The car looks like an older sloppy body job to me. (Been there and even did it once. Too embarrassed to wear the “T” shirt)
    Drive it, enjoy it and don’t invest too much money in it. (the inner fender/shock tower looks ok to me)

  21. Pat A

    I have a ’65 coupe that I spent a lot of time and money on. In the process I found that it had been hit hard from the back on the right side and ended up badly bent. I think it’s about 2″ shorter on the right side. Probably worth taking it to a frame shop now though. Maybe turn it into a poor mans version of the Hoonicorn, and take it drifting.

  22. gaspumpchas

    No one in their right mind would buy this without a thorough inspection. Rustangs rust everywhere. Don’t overlook the plenum In front of the windshield. Pay no mind as to where it is,could have come from the rust belt. Good luck hunting!

    • Rocco

      You are so right. People should pour a bucket of water down the cowl area in front of the windshield, and look inside quickly to see if the water runs into the interior floorboard. No water should enter the interior. The repair for that isn’t cheap.

  23. matt

    Lacquer paint “checking” common on all 60`S cars and trucks ,bondo from 70`s or 80s maybe just a partial repaint at some point……obviously. 6cyl stick build what you like! At a decent price!

  24. BillB

    Someone did the $5K Buy It Now. A very fair deal and a good father-son project.

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