Let me paint you a picture. It is a red hot day and someone fires up and offers you a drive in a stunning dark blue with contrasting cream hide 1966 Mustang 289 V8 Convertible. Now excuse me for not being totally in tune with all the local folk laws here in the UK but surely it is considered rude around these parts, or anywhere else for that matter, to refuse?
Not sure about you but I’ve always been a bit envious that in America Ford produced the Mustang, where-as here in Europe we got the Capri. Now don’t get me wrong I’ve owned and cherished one of Essex’s finest, in the form of a yellow MKII and Cologne produced black 2.8i. But where was there mention of a 289 V8? That surely would have nailed it, a small block V8 in a Capri. Did they build one for the South African market for instance? Anyway we digress because currently available under my right foot are 289 cu-in of V8 muscle and separating us is just the right amount of bling to get everyone in the mood. This car is so cool it hurts.
Now personally I’m not a big fan of 4 seat convertibles, as in basically saloons with the roof chopped off, but as this car has been done so well it’s totally forgiven and if you are in the market available to buy from Cleevewood Garage in Bristol (UK). Prejudices aside there is no denying it is gert lush, which I know means a lot around these parts. For instance the detailing has got to be seen to be believed, the paint, seats, vanes in the twin exhaust pipes, roof, carpet, dashboard, engine bay and hood, everything is spot on. But we didn’t only come here to appreciate how it looks we also wanted to experience a 1966 Mustang 289 V8 Convertible on the road. Something sadly cut short by a battery issue to leave us with just a taste this time.
Big is the first thing that springs to mind, with the loud exhaust making that big and brash from the outside, although relatively quiet when sat within. Loving the dashboard, interior, steering wheel, V8 sound and coping with it being left hand drive along with the absence of front seat belts (lap straps fitted to the rear) but cannot ignore those exterior dimensions. Especially on smaller roads where there is oncoming traffic to avoid. A Capri always had an expansive bonnet and for further comparison a Delorean DMC 12 left hand drive and wide. This car is left hand drive and massive in every sense. It’s still lush though despite a number of driving nuances.
One being the V8 which should simply be allowed to relax and keep its revolutions below 2,000 when cruising, it doesn’t. Instead it spins at an alarming rate given its relatively large capacity and torque. The steering should emanate the Capri’s in being purposeful and direct but on a larger scale, it’s not. There is a vagueness not helped by the extremely thin rimmed wheel trying to push puny 185 section tyres into decisive turning action. Can you believe 185 section tyres on a car of this size? Jensen never dared with their Interceptor which feels totally planted by comparison. The biggest surprise has to be the drum brakes though which work just fine with decent bite. Who would have predicted that?
What makes this car appeal the way it does is just how good it is to cruise in. There is no comparison between this and a Triumph Stag for instance, this is an open four seat V8 in a league of its own. It’s still not a car to take by the scruff of the neck, when a well sorted 3.0 Capri absolutely can be. But it is refreshingly relaxing to drive and with this particular car being so together you would be able to rock up to any classic car event anywhere in the world and be taken very seriously indeed.
They say you should never meet your heroes and in a way that’s true. If you do it is worth finding out a bit more to reveal traits you didn’t know anything about. In the case of this dark blue 1966 Mustang 289 V8 Convertible, other than experiencing drum brakes that work well, it is just how far below zero on the coolness stakes it is, so much so it now leads our Cool-o-Meter ahead of the Aston Martin DB6 and Series 1.5 E-Type. Overall the first generation Mustang 289 V8 Convertible is a consummate cruiser with a bark much louder than its bite.
A 1966 Mustang 289cu-in V8 Convertible may not be better than a Triumph Stag or 3.0 Capri at everything, but it is so cool to get away with it. Ford America we salute you.
How does this car make you feel?
In one word: (Add your age here)
As a favourite meal: Mustang 289 V8 Convertible is Surf ‘n’ Turf with emphasis on the Surf
Anything Else: A bold but still discerning motorist. This is less a mid-life crisis car, more one that can be appreciated when of a certain age
Key Ingredients: Ice cool dark blue hue, stunning steering wheel, dashboard and interior, cruise-o-tastic 3 speed auto-box and the very fact it is a 1966 Mustang 289cu-in V8 Convertible.
With thanks to Cleevewood Garage Bristol (UK)
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