With all the merely "pleasant" Pony Mustangs selling like hot cakes these days, it's nice to see one that walks with a bunch of swagger. Open-checkbook restored with performance and killer looks as the main goals, this restomod beauty is one of the slickest early Mustang coupes we've ever featured here at Streetside, and we've had quite a bit. Beautiful dark blue paint, a wicked stance, and a modern 5.0L HO V8 matched with a 5-speed manual transmission, this '66 Mustang checks all the boxes. The only thing it doesn't have is a pack of Luckys rolled up in its shirt sleeve.
But before we talk about the hardware, take a look at how pretty this coupe is. With a finish that looks like it was borrowed from a late-model color palate, the super-clean Caspian Blue metallic paint looks just right on the vintage coupe's bodywork. Miles deep with a great luster that pops out in the sunshine, it has a great shine thanks to the recent application, plus an inviting look that doesn't hide the Mustang's identity behind excessive flash. Instead, it shows off laser-straight sheetmetal, precise gaps, and a lot of the love that went into the build. Clearly someone was thinking carefully about this car as it was going together, and they kept it simple; no gaudy stripes, no silly wing out back, nothing but a subtle hood scoop and hood pins to distract from that classic look. Sure, it's no trailer queen and some minor imperfections might be found upon closer examination, but with curb appeal like that, you won't find any complaints from me. The front grille features the iconic "galloping stallion" in the center, and with a racing-style gas cap and trumpet dual-exhaust out back, "sporty" doesn't even begin to define this coupe. Bright chrome trim on the bumpers and window surrounds is all quite nice, given that the aftermarket is full of quality replacement parts, and the entire car has a very polished look that hasn't been diminished in the 9,544 miles since it was built.
As nice as the exterior is, the Pony interior will simply break your heart. Sure, simple black always looks great, but somehow this two-tone blue and white combination is especially appealing. The seat covers have that soft shine that only comes from correct materials, and the embossed running ponies on the seatbacks are crisp and vivid, the sign of the high-dollar stuff, not the cheap covers. Ornate matching door panels look practically new, as does the taut white headliner and distress-free dash pad, and the light blue plush carpets below are the correct pile and loop for the era. A custom center console is a great addition to any Mustang, and it houses a brushed-aluminum shifter that manages the quick-shifting 5-speed manual transmission below. There's a GT-spec gauge panel ahead of the driver - filled with Dakota Digital units that are far more accurate than the original units - and the woodgrain accents on the gauge bezel, glove box, and door handles really warm things up inside this deluxe interior. Anchoring the cockpit is a beautiful 3-spoke wood-rimmed steering wheel that feels great in the hands of the driver, and a push button starter is about as high-tech as you'll ever find in a vintage Pony. A Kenwood touchscreen multi-media head unit lives in the center of the dash and manages the entertainment, and it's loaded with color-correct seat belts that were standard equipment on the Mustang, which was the first car to include them. The trunk is as neatly finished as the rest of the car, and sports a correct plaid mat that looks great.
Since the modern 5.0 liter H.O. V8 is essentially a Windsor-based 302, it slides right between the '65's shock towers without a lot of hassles. Transplanted from a 1995 Mustang GT, it was built to deliver performance that can handle regular driving on modern roads, delivering great power up and down the throttle. Torquey, smooth, and virtually bulletproof, the fresh 5.0 works as well here as it did back in the mid-90s, effortlessly moving the lightweight coupe around town. Keeping as many OEM components as possible means it's reliable and easy to service with over-the-counter parts, and thanks to Ford's wonderful EEC-IV engine management system, it starts instantly and idles smoothly every time, regardless of the weather. And you'll never get tired of watching the jaws drop when you pop the steel hood at a show and everyone sees that familiar long-runner cold-air intake and serpentine belt drive system. There's also a 4-point shock-tower brace that helps stiffen the body through the corners, and a big aluminum radiator and electric fan help keep the small block cool under any condition. The aforementioned 5-speed manual transmission is the perfect complement to the fuel-injected V8, with a race-ready clutch and heavy-duty Ford 8.8-inch rear end that can handle off-the-line power and highway cruising speeds alike. Long-tube headers feed into a custom H-pipe dual exhaust system that was fabricated for the new motor, and it has that familiar, throaty 5.0 bark that we all know and love. The front suspension is a custom A-arm setup with power rack-and-pinion steering and 4-wheel disc brakes with slotted rotors give it modern stopping power. Slick 17-inch American Racing Torque Thrust 'Old Style' wheels are always in fashion and they carry staggered 225/45/17 front and 235/55/17 rear performance rubber that fits the car's personality perfectly.
Given the price of the conversion and the quality of the paint and interior, we have to call this car a screaming bargain because it would take considerably more to replicate the build. And like most Pony Mustangs here at Streetside Classics, we doubt it'll last long. Call today!