Affordable Project: 1966 Ford Mustang Hardtop

We’ve all seen plenty of Mustang project cars where the owner has been, to be diplomatic, somewhat optimistic with their asking price. This particular 1966 Mustang Hardtop makes a refreshing change, and I really need to thank Barn Finder FordGuy1972 for referring it to us. The vehicle is located in Ridgefield, Connecticut, and is listed for sale here on Craigslist. The owner has set the asking price at $2,500 for this promising project.

The Mustang wears a pretty tired coat of Candy Apple Red paint, along with a Black vinyl top. It is pretty typical of Mustang project cars of this vintage, insofar as it has some rust issues that the next owner will need to get on top of.  The quarter panels are the most obvious areas of concern, along with areas in the lower doors, and some minor spots in the lower fenders. The rockers look reasonably solid, although there might be some at the rear edge of the rocker on the passenger side. We don’t receive any information on the state of the floors or torque boxes, but I think that there might be some present in the engine bay below the battery. While some of the chrome and trim looks like it is reasonable, there will be some items that will either need to be sent off for re-plating or replacement items will need to be sourced.

Given how tired the exterior of the Mustang is looking, the interior is a bit of a surprise. There is a small tear in the driver’s seat that should be able to be repaired, but the rest of the upholstered surfaces and the dash pad look quite promising. The woodgrain inserts on the dash will need replacing, as will the carpet. There is also an aftermarket radio/cassette player fitted into the dash and some gauges hanging under the dash, but I think that it will take surprisingly little work to get the interior looking nice once again.

Powering the little Ford is a 289ci V8, while the next owner will also get a 3-speed automatic transmission, and power steering. It isn’t clear which version of the 289 is fitted, but it will produce at least 200hp. I don’t think that the engine has been fired for a while because plenty of leaf litter has managed to accumulate on the intake. Judging by what the owner says in the listing, the car has recently received new plugs, a new battery, and an oil change. It isn’t clear why he has done this, and then not gone to the trouble of firing the car back into life. Apparently, there is also an issue with the brakes, but he hasn’t touched these as his intention was to upgrade the car to disc brakes.

This is getting close to the Mustang that I’ve always dreamed of owning, and if it was located closer to me, there is a fair chance that it would be finding its way into my workshop. It does make a nice change to find a Mustang project car at a relatively affordable price, and there seems to be plenty of potential in this car. It will be interesting to see if any of our readers think that there is enough potential there to justify buying it. If someone does, it would also be quite interesting to get ongoing reports on the progress that they make with the car.


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  1. TimM

    The basic small block mustang!! Good price but it looks like it might need quarters!! That means pulling off the vinal top too!! Could be opening a can of worms there!!! Tin worms!!

    Like 8
  2. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    Beware! You can dump a lot of money in these cars real fast. One of my brothers (retired army master sergeant) bought one in similar condition for his daughter for high school graduation, after having it professionally rotisserie nut and bolt and paint and interior he had over $30k in the car after having paid $1500 for initial investment. It’s a very nice car, and she does drive it occasionally, and has had it for more than ten years.
    God bless America

    Like 6
  3. Stevieg

    I think your brother did well. 10 years of entertainment for his daughter, and being in decent condition, it is probably still worth 10-15,000 dollars. I hope she keeps it another 10 + years & enjoys it even more.
    If I remember correctly, isn’t that the idea behind this hobby? Everyone likes making money, but the joy of the cars is really what this is about. Those that disagree can suck the corn outta my sh?t!

    Like 7
    • Mike

      I agree 100%. As I said in my own comment below, it’s all about the satisfaction of owning/driving what you like!

      Like 1
  4. Andrew Franks

    I agree with Stevieg. We are in this as a Hobby, not as an asset class although that is one of its benefits. The car is too far away but someone buy it and enjoy.

    Like 5
  5. Marshall

    I looked at another 1966 Mustang (a white one) on one of those little thumbnail links that connects(or did connect) with this link. The owner of that one also wants 2500 bucks. Sorry, but that white one is a hopeless, hapless, helpless lost cause. Whereas this red one for the same price is a WAY better deal at that price. Even if there was something special about the VIN number, or options on that white one, compared to this red one, I still stand by what I just said.

    Like 2
  6. Del

    Pretty little rust bucket.

    Nice interior. Too bad its probably not going to be a resto.

    Body gone

    Like 1
  7. whmracer99

    So much of what this car is worth depends on where you want to end up. Going from here to a 100 point restoration would be a long (and expensive) road, BUT going from here to a driver quality vehicle may not be as daunting a task. A lot depends on the condition of the chassis of which (unfortunately) there are no pictures. Would have to get additional pictures or see it in person before stepping into this potential rabbit hole.

    Like 1
  8. Mike

    First let me say that I’m a GM guy (even though I have a V-8 Ranger project going on right now!). I’ve never seen the draw of these old Mustangs or 1st gen Camaros. I just don’t care for them. Call me crazy but I absolutely love my 74 Camaro, big bumpers, blind spots from the small back glass and all! If I was looking for another Ford project, and you can ALL call me completely insane now, it would be a hatchback Mustang II. I do hope that someone saves this car though. It’s one of many that you can build from the ground up thanks to the aftermarket. Buy and build whatever YOU like and can afford. That’s what this hobby is really all about though isn’t it? Or should I just turn myself in at my local mental hospital?

    Like 2

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