Karen & Dennis Hart - 1966 Mustang
GT Coupe in Emberglo
In 1977 when we got married we just had just one car, Karen didn't have her own car. Even though we both worked at the same place our schedules were different. We needed to get Karen a car. Karen had loved early Mustangs since her early teens when she would go on rallies with her cousin in her 64 1/2 Mustang. Karen had wanted a Mustang. So the search began. Eventually we found one for sale down in Fullerton, the price was $500. We used every dime of our wedding money to buy it
It wasn't much to look at! The front bumper was bent in a strange sort of smile, the front fenders flapped in the breeze, there were 12” holes inside each doors for long gone speakers, naturally the dash was carved out for a bigger radio (also gone). There was a 3” hole on the top of the right rear fender where an antenna had been; there were some dents and the whole car had been painted an Earl Scheib powder blue. On the positive side it had a rebuilt engine and tranny.
When Karen's folks saw it they wanted her to get an annulment. Others suggested we jack the antenna up and get rid of everything under it.
We saw the potential. We bought a copy of Mustang Does It”. We learned how to decode the data plate and found out the car was born in the rare 1966 color of “Emberglo” (Color “V = Emberglo metallic”). At first Karen wasn't to thrilled with it but the color grew on her. We set about replacing doors, bumpers, aprons and fenders.
Then in 1984 we took it in for restoration. She came out of the shop in the beautiful Emberglo color she had been born in. We got it out of the shop on a Saturday, the Very Next Day we had her in the giant 20th Anniversary Mustang show in Griffith Park at the Equestrian Center. There were over 2,000 Mustangs there none newer than 1973. A beautiful (but hot) show, while we didn't win anything we do have a panoramic 360 degree picture of all the Mustangs in our home office.
That September 1984 the Mustang was stolen from Puente Hills Mall. It was Karen's second day working there. We were fortunate that the Sheriff responding restored Mustangs, he got it on the air right away. At 4:30 AM the following morning we got a call that it had been recovered down on 15th and San Pedro in L.A. The chrome rims, the battery, the speakers (but not the radio), the big foot gas pedal and her clip on squirrel were all gone. Three bald tires and our spare were on the car. We got it home and decided to take it back to factory stock and add a pager alarm system.
The Mustang remained Karen's daily driver thru the '80's and '90's. We swapped the motor out for a remanufacturered one in early '90's. By 2000 first restoration job was waring out so we decided to have it restored again. This time we would do it right. We also decided to restore it as a GT coupe. Our body man had the Mustang for over half a year. She was taken down to bare metal, the rear fender and hood were replaced, and the dash was restored. Several color coats of PPG Emberglo and 9 coats of clear went on her. We finished her off with the pony interior and the style steel wheels. The restoration was completed in the spring of 2001
A few months after we got her back we entered the Mustang Owner's Club show at the Peterson Museum and we took Best Paint over all entries. Our paint man was thrilled to see the award. In December of 2001 at the once postponed Beach City's Queen Mary show the Beach Cities president Jon Schultz brought someone over to look at Karen's Mustang. That person was Colin Date. Colin was in the process of writing his book “Original Mustang 1964 ½ – 1966 The Restorer's Guide”. He was looking for Mustangs of rare colors. He was impressed with Karen's Mustang and asked if we could get together for a photo shoot. The pictures came out great and eleven different pictures of Karen's Mustang grace the pages of Colin's book that was published in 2002.
On another occasion a friend of ours who is an engineer at Boeing, had a contact at the Chino Air Museum. That person was able to get us 45 minutes with the P-51D Mustang “Spam Can”, five of us took the Mustang out there and took hundreds of pictures with Karen, her Mustang and the WWII Mustang.
Over the next few years we have won several awards, in more recent years Karen's Mustang has been living a more pampered life, but she has gone back to being a daily driver when needed.
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