1966 FORD MUSTANG – DON’T MESS WITH SUCCESS!
The runaway success of the 1965 Mustang was so great that Ford would have been crazy to alter the formula by very much. Hence the 1966 Ford Mustang was really almost identical to the 1965. Minor trim differences separated the two, for the most part, and powertrains were largely carried over without change. Ford had caught the rest of the industry flat-footed with the release of the Mustang, and no one else really had anything like it. Plymouth had their ungainly Barracuda, and Chevy the unconventional Corvair, but neither really made a dent in the Mustang’s success, with 559,451 units sold during the traditional 12-month model year of 1965 (not counting those early cars known today at 1964-1/2s). It would be another 2 years before any real competition showed up, in the form of GMs twin pony cars, the Chevy Camaro and the Pontiac, both released as 1967 models. But for now, Ford had the market all to itself. And 1966 would be a very good year for the Mustang, even better than ’65, with 607,568 1966-models built. These volumes would be unheard-of today. Many manufacturers barely make this many cars throughout their entire lineup. This was just one model. Wow!
1966 Ford Mustang HARDTOP
VISUAL CHANGES TO THE 1966 FORD MUSTANG
Again, mechanically the 1966 was nearly identical to the 1965 Mustang, but there were differences, mostly cosmetic. Among the easiest-to-spot were the new grille design and the addition of 3 chromed “fingers” to the faux side scoops on the rear quarters. The ’65 had a plain “scoop” without fingers (only the Hardtops and Convertibles used this trim piece, Fastbacks and GTs didn’t have them). Assuming they haven’t been changed over the years, this is a quick way to tell a ’66 from a ’65 from a distance. Another one is in the “floating horse” front grille. The 1965 model had the galloping horse emblem on the front grille supported by a horizontal chromed bar running across the grille, and a vertical one down the center, giving a “gunsight” look to it (now used by Dodge to some effect). This was eliminated altogether on the 1966 model, leaving the horse and the rectangular chrome frame around it, mounted directly to the grille, creating the appearance that is was “floating”. However, the GT package included a horizontal bar mounting the fog lights that more or less negated the difference. Another obvious change was the inclusion of aluminum rocker panel moldings, now standard on all but the Fastback. There was a redesigned gas cap, and back up lights became standard (they were option in 1965).
An easy way to tell a ’65 from a ’66: the ’65 has a plain chrome “scoop”, whereas the ’66 scoop has these 3 fingers on it.
1966 FORD MUSTANG GT PACKAGE
The GT package as it was offered on the 1965 Mustang remained relatively unchanged for 1966, and continued to be available in all 3 body styles, Hardtop, Fastback (2+2) and Convertible. All the same items were included: 4-barrel 289 V8 (either 225hp or 271hp for more money), manual front disk brakes, handling package, quick-ratio steering, dual exhaust with chrome tips exiting through holes in the rear valance, GT-specific stripes & emblems, and 2 lovely fog lights supported by an elegant horizontal bar across the grille. The one addition to the list for 1966 was a new GT-specific gas cap.
NEW WHEEL COVERS FOR THE 1966 FORD MUSTANG
The standard wheel cover (hubcap) was redesigned. The optional Styled Steel Wheels got a new chromed trim ring. The standard wheels for the 6-cylinder models was now 14 X 4.5” on 4 lugs. The V8 models came standard with 14 X 5” running 6.95 X 14 tires.
1955 Ford Mustang FASTBACK
1966 Ford Mustang CONVERTIBLE
1966 Ford Mustang SHELBY GT350
1966 Ford (Mustang) T-5
T-5, THE GERMAN 1966 FORD MUSTANG
The Ford Mustang was red hot at the time that they were shipping them over to Europe by the boatloads. But they weren’t just being bought up by Europeans, lots of US service personnel were stationed there and they were buying them in droves. But there was a small problem. In Germany, the name “Mustang” was already taken, so all Mustangs sold there had to go under a different name. What did they call them, you ask? T-5. All Mustang emblems were removed from the cars and replaced with T-5 emblems. They were otherwise identical to non-German market cars. This practice continued until 1979.
1966 Ford Mustang INTERIORS
INTERIOR CHANGES ON THE 1966 FORD MUSTANG
Perhaps the easiest difference to spot between the 1966 and the 1965 on the interior is the 5-dial instrument cluster. It was part of the GT package in 1965, but the rest of them got the standard wide speedometer. This GT-specific gauge set became standard across the entire Mustang line for 1966. There were also different upholstery patterns, materials and color options. The bench seat continued to be offered on all but Fastbacks or “Pony Interior” (Interior Decor Group) cars, but few ordered them that way.
This 5-dial instrument cluster was part of the GT Package for 1965, but came on all Mustangs in ’66.
If you ordered your ’65 or ’66 Mustang with air conditioning, this is what you got: this neat underdash unit that worked quite well actually. But they wouldn’t fit if you have the console.
1966 Ford Mustang ENGINES
1966 FORD MUSTANG ENGINE OPTIONS
The engine lineup was pretty much unchanged from the 1965 Mustang. The standard base engine was the same 200 ci six used in late-’65 models (the 170 was used in early ‘65s, referred to today as ’64-1/2s). Again 3 optional small block V8s were available, all 289s. The base V8 had 200hp and a 2-barrel carburetor. Next up was the 225hp 4-barrel engine, and at the top of the heap, the K-code 271hp Hi-Po 289 with mechanical lifters, bigger carb and a long list of upgrades over the base V8s. For the first time, you could get an automatic transmission with the 271hp engine, Ford’s Cruise-O-Matic.
1966 FORD MUSTANG K-CODE SPECIFICATIONS
The K-code gets its name from the designation in the VIN for this engine. Look for the K on the data plate. There are a lot of clones out there, base V8 cars where someone swapped in a K-code. Nothing wrong with that as long as you’re not paying a price commensurate with an original, authentic K-code Mustang. These engines were superlative, and very advance for the time. The K-code 271hp 289 came only one way: with 480 cfm Autolite 4-barrel, solid lifters, 10.5:1 compression, a dual-point distributor, screw-in rocker arm studs, bigger connecting rod bolts & a larger harmonic balancer. These engines were screamers, meant to work in the 7000rpm-range. With help from a low-restriction air cleaner and high-flow dual exhaust the K-code made 271 hp at 6,000 rpm gross, with a net of around 235hp at the rear wheels. All K-codes got a 4-speed manual transmission and a heavy duty 9-inch rear end with either 3.89:1 or 4.11:1 axle ratios. 0-60 times were in the mid-7’s, and it would run the quarter in the high-15s. Based on Ford’s brilliant small block dating back to 1958, itself a response to Chevy’s highly successful small block, the 289 was both compact and light at only 450 pounds complete, thanks in part to new lightweight thin-wall casting techniques. All K-code cars got the Special Handling Package that included stiffer springs and shocks, and bigger tires, 6.95 X 14s.