Car Of The Month - July 10
Jeff Eoff's 1966 Mustang
By Jeff Eoff
Growing up in Arizona, I can remember my Dad making a big fuss about this car called a Mustang. He would always make a comment when he saw a commercial on TV and I could hear him talking to Mom about the beautiful car Ford was coming out with. He was always a “Ford man” and I think they finely built his dream car.
My Dad collected and restored antique autos as a hobby and he always seemed to have a sports car around that he could enjoy. I didn’t give much thought to him being excited about this Mustang. It was hard to understand his enthusiasm since I was 11 years old. I had more interest in sports and was beginning to learn about girls (that’s still ongoing).
The next thing I know, Dad’s pulling into the driveway behind the wheel of a brand new 1966 candy apple red Mustang coupe. I could see how proud he was of “his” car. Because we had a family of six, he ordered the car with a few accessories like a bench seat and a luggage rack on the trunk. I can still see him strapping down the suitcases while all of us piled into the car for a long drive to California. It was only a two-lane road back then so it took a while.
Living in Arizona, it was nice he ordered the car with an air conditioning unit. A few other extras he ordered were the deluxe steering wheel, chrome trim on the body and wire wheel covers. I came to like the car as I was approaching my 16th birthday. It beat the heck out of the old Karmann Ghia Dad thought my sister and I would be driving.
Being a 3-speed, it didn’t take me too long to figure out how to work the clutch. In fact, I became pretty good at putting down a fair amount of rubber in 1st and 2nd gears. I have a lot of fond memories of getting to drive this car during my high school years.
The car got passed around some among family, and as I got older and started a career, I purchased my own car. No, not a Mustang, but a Cougar. By the time the 80’s rolled around, the Mustang had well over 200,000 miles on it and was pretty worn out. Dad was retired and busy with either new grandkids or restoring another antique. He also found a ‘66' Mustang convertible to keep the old one company in the back of his property. Both cars needed to be restored and I told Dad if he ever decided to sell the cars to let me know first because I had interest in both one of them.
He sold the convertible to a friend (and that didn’t make me too happy). But, in the late 90’s he asked if I wanted the old red coupe, which was now burnt orange from sitting outside in the Arizona sun. It didn’t take long to give him my answer.
So Dad and Mom put the car on a trailer and brought it up to me here in Seattle. He had kept all of the original paperwork from when he purchased the car, along with the manual (which is pretty cool). Within six to eight months, the restoration project began.
I commented more than once that I bet my Dad was down in Arizona having a good laugh while I was experiencing the joy (and some agony) of spending a lot of time and money to restore the car.
The car was finished in 2000/2001, and it was fun for me to see Dad’s reaction when he saw the restored Mustang. It was even more fun taking him for a drive and also having him drive it (although I think he was a little nervous because of the added horsepower).
The car was restored with all of the original accessories Dad ordered (except the a/c unit which has yet to be installed). I have really enjoyed the car and have taken a lot of pride in it. It’s extra special to me because of how much Dad loved this car. I lost Dad in 2009, but I have a lot of satisfaction knowing he was able to see the car restored and how happy he was with the restoration.
One last little story about my Dad. In the mid to late 90’s, he and my Mom were thinking about buying a new car. They discussed buying a sedan because it would be easier to get in and out of for them and some of their elderly friends. So Dad heads down to look at some cars and wouldn’t you know, he comes pulling in to the driveway with a red Mustang. I don’t think Mom talked to him for quite some time. Dad sure loved “his” Mustangs.