Dan Duckworth, courtesy of Mecum Auctions
  • Triple-black A-code Mustang GT convertible
  • 289/225-hp V8 engine
  • Four-speed transmission
  • Four-barrel carburetor
  • GT exhaust
  • Power convertible top
  • Deluxe Pony interior
  • Rally Pac gauges
  • Woodgrain console and dash
  • Chrome luggage rack
  • Fog lamps
  • AM radio
  • Styled steel wheels
  • Double-red-stripe tires
  • High-gloss paint on straight body
  • Raven Black with black interior and top
  • Red GT stripe

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1966 Ford Mustang GT convertible
Years Produced:1965–73 (First gen)
Number Produced:607,568 (1966)
SCM Valuation:$26,000– $36,000 (convertible with V8)
Tune Up Cost:$150
Chassis Number Location:Stamped on top of left front fender apron
Engine Number Location:Tag attached to engine under coil bolt, casting numbers on passenger’s side rear of block, above starter
Club Info:Mustang Club of America
Alternatives:1967–69 Chevrolet Camaro, 1967–69 Pontiac Firebird, 1964–66 Plymouth Barracuda
Investment Grade:B

This car, Lot F198, sold for $35,640, including buyer’s premium, at Mecum’s auction in Houston, TX, on April 9–11, 2015.

As a collector car community, do we think of first-generation Ford Mustangs as $35,000 cars? It’s not an unheard-of price point for Ford’s pony car, but it’s also not something we see happen all the time. As with anything, the answer to this question depends on your perspective.

If you are a fan of 100-point restorations and MCA national show-winning cars, then I suspect you would see $35,000 as less than the cost of acquisition and restoration. To that buyer, a car like the one sold at Mecum Houston represents a great deal. But if you are the guy who likes a good car at a low price because driving it is important, I would wager that $35,000 seems like a lot of jack for a nice driver Mustang — and it would be.

But it seems to me that there have been a lot more $30,000-plus Mustangs sold recently, and I think these cars deserve a closer look.

Market movement

We all know that the collector market as a whole has seen some significant gains in the past few years, so much so that many of us ask why we have that 401k in the first place.

Regardless of personal investment strategies, the tide of the market has risen and taken even the most common, if not iconic, names with it, including the Mustang. The SCM/ACC Pocket Price Guide gives the ’66 Mustang three stars (out of five) for forecast of appreciation, and calls the V8 convertible a B-grade investment.

Right now I believe the Mustang behaves much like your index fund does — not too volatile and adjusts according to the larger market. When the larger market gets hit, the Mustang will be hit the least.

A cool million

By mid-1966, the Mustang had been in production about two years and had already rolled the one-millionth car off the assembly line — a pretty impressive feat for the day for a single model. By comparison, Chevy could move only about half that number in the first 12 months of 1967 Camaro production.

The Mustang is not exactly rare. That means good examples are easy to find. What it also means is that there is a following and thus demand for these cars continues to be strong. Mustangs are iconic and almost everyone wants one at some point, and while they may not be as attractive as a supermodel, they won’t burn your house down and keep your dog once you realize how nuts they are. No, Mustangs are simple, fun to drive and to look at, and when your love affair is over, moving on down the road is easy.

She has it all

Our subject car checks all the boxes of desirability without being a top-shelf Shelby R-code, or even a solid-lifter K-code car. What that really means is that this car will be low-maintenance, but this may be the only item keeping values low(ish) on it.

The A-code 225-horsepower 289 is no slouch, and when paired with the 4-speed, gives a great driving experience. On top of that, this is a convertible and was presented in original triple black — a timeless color combo. Add in the Deluxe Pony interior, the GT package, special handling package, disc brakes and the snazzy GT stripes, and you have a winner, ladies and gentlemen.

The $35,000 question

Earlier this year, Barrett-Jackson sold a ’66 convertible in an attractive red-and-white color combo for $30,800 (ACC# 256764). This car was described as a fluff-and-buff and really brought big money considering its condition. Other cars have sold for even more this year outside of Barrett-Jackson, but I cannot speak to their condition. Fair enough to say, though, they were most likely very well done.

While I did not have the oportunity to inspect our subject car close up, nor did I have access to the data plate, I will assume the car is true to its representation. The pictures show a very well-done car that is not a 100-point car but a great show car, and I don’t think anyone would dispute that.

I get the impression this car is a bit of a trailer queen even though there are no assembly-line consumer tags underhood. The engine paint shows no heat discoloration, which could be cause for concern. This could either mean the car has never run or this is a very fresh restoration. The description does not help in determining which, nor does it give the car’s mileage.

Either one of these scenarios could point to the car having never been shaken down after restoration, and that’s important. The last 10% of a restoration is the hardest part, and it involves actually driving the car (gasp!) and tuning for drivability. Many people do not do that last 10%, as they are worried about cosmetic damage, including discoloration of engine paint, which is normal around exhaust manifolds. For cars like this, the driver’s experience behind the wheel may be compromised if things aren’t worked out properly, and here, it could be the new owner’s job to get it all right. But of course, that’s only if he or she plans to drive it.

All of this brings us back to the original question: Are cars like this ’66 Mustang $35,000 cars? The answer is a resounding yes — but not for garden-variety stuff. Had this been a 6-cylinder Sprint model, $35,000 would have been over-the-top money. But for the options presented here, I would even say the car was well bought, with a solid future outlook in the market and an easy out if and when the new owner falls out of love.

(Introductory description courtesy of Mecum Auctions.

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