On March 26, 1966, Glenn and June Anderson jumped into their 1959 Ford Thunderbird and cruised from their home in Tarzana, CA, to Cutter Ford Sales in North Hollywood. Waiting on the lot for them was a Wimbledon White 1966 Ford Mustang, which had been assembled just a month earlier in San Jose and shipped to the dealership via truck convoy.

Sticker price on the new Mustang was $3,525. The couple traded in their T-bird and bought the factory-fresh Mustang, which was optioned with the base-level 2-bbl, 200-hp 289, C4 automatic transmission with console, black vinyl top, power steering, air conditioning, AM radio, deluxe seat belts and California emissions equipment. The couple then had the dealership add power brakes and replace a set of Styled Steel wheels with some steelies with wire wheel covers.

The car then spent the next 36 years in SoCal with the Andersons. June drove the car sparingly. At some point the passenger’s side fender and door were damaged and replaced — including an obvious fix to the door jamb — and the car was resprayed in its original color.

In the early 2000s, a college kid named Thomas, who was dating June’s daughter at the time, bought the car. At the time, the Mustang was still totally stock, down to its wire wheel covers.

Thomas brought the car to Oregon. Over a few years, he added stainless headers and exhaust with a GT-style rear panel and trumpets, a 4-bbl intake and carburetor, chrome valve covers, an aluminum radiator, Styled Steel wheels and disc brakes up front. He also had a local Mustang shop lower the car an inch all around and fit sway bars front and rear. He kept up with June, sending her pics and info about what he was up to with the car until her death.

This past March, Thomas listed the 56,000-mile Mustang for sale on Craigslist for $19,500. I saw the ad — and then saw the Mustang, nestled in the garage Thomas built for it.

A new home for a horse

I’d been hunting Mustangs for a while, as ACC’s garage was short of something interesting to drive and fix after the $52,000 sale of our Dodge Viper on Bring A Trailer.

While early Mustangs are common, it’s surprisingly hard to find one that’s more or less solid throughout. At least here in the Northwest, these cars all tend to rust in the same hard-to-fix areas. Semi-hidden rot ruled out at least two cars that appeared to be decent at first. I also didn’t want a 6-cylinder car, and I didn’t want to convert a six to a V8, either. That made things a little harder, as most of the decent untouched originals I found were low-option six-bangers.

Thomas’ car, however, looked solid, and the documentation proved why. This car lived most of its life in the North Hollywood area, and as it was a 56,000-mile car, it clearly saw only light use when it was there. The condition I could see — original quarter panels with no rust, clean chassis that had been undercoated from new — was backed up by the documentation that came with the car and spelled out its story. We made a deal, and $17,000 later, the Mustang came to the ACC garage. We’re its third owner.

The power of documentation

It’s funny how original documents change your perspective of a classic car. Knowing where our Mustang was sold, and to whom, gives the car more weight over other examples in similar overall condition.

Because June saw fit to save everything, from the original sales invoice to the window sticker, business cards, insurance card, original stock tag, warranty plate, key tag and more, we’ve got a great picture of just what this car was when new — and through the preservation of what many would have thrown away, a good idea of what this car meant to her.

We have photos of June with her beloved car.

The market translates these docs, relics and photos to value — even on a lower-horse, non-GT example like ours. We at ACC value them because they’re cool and real.

We could go in several directions here, from returning the car to stock and restoring it all the way to changing fundamentals, such as the engine, transmission and suspension in the name of modern drivability. Ultimately, it’s a tough call — this car is mostly stock, but it’s not completely stock. It’s low-miles, but not minty. It’s nice, but by no means perfect. It’s optioned, but not rare. So what’s next? What’s the best value move?

Our plan is to clean up the car where needed and to make it a better overall driver without losing what’s still original about it. To that end, we’ve already started — this month we installed a roller timing set in place of the original worn unit. See the story on p. 30. And we’re working on preserving the original documentation, too, using RideCache’s online services (see “Cool Stuff,” p. 24).

At the end of the day, our goal for this classic Mustang is to make it a great driver with a great story and the right paperwork to back it all up.

I think June would have liked it that way.

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