Unrestored Mustangs are the undisputed gems of our hobby. OK, not all of them are gems, but those cars that have survived the decades untouched and unscathed earn a venerated spot within our ranks. Those original Mustangs with remarkably low mileage are even more endearing to those of us who value these unmolested historical snapshots.
Throughout the years, we've come across a few ultra-low-mileage ponycars, and without exception, each one boasts a special story. After all, it takes a mighty unusual chain of events (or lack thereof) for any car to cruise through three-plus decades without showing its age or suffering at the hands of sometimes numerous owners. These stories of survival are remarkable in their own right. The tale behind John and B.G. Skavlem's 6,074-mile '66 Sprint hardtop is made even more astounding thanks to a surprising reunion between the car and a casual acquaintance from 32 years in its past.
This story began in December 1987 when ponycar guru and Mustang Monthly columnist Bob Perkins purchased an unrestored 6,053-mile hardtop that had passed through a few collectors' hands since leaving the possession of its original owner. John Skavlem of Terrace Park, Ohio, was in Wisconsin visiting relatives and attending the Iola Swap Meet in 1990 when he decided to take a swing by the home of friend Bob. It was there that John spied the curious little six-cylinder and, being a connoisseur of '66 Mustangs, made a deal with Bob to buy the car.
As could be expected, the Mustang was in phenomenally good condition, given its extremely low mileage. The Sahara Beige topcoat was in excellent shape, as were the original Goodyear tires, wire wheel covers and spinners, and the parchment interior. This particular Mustang came with the Sprint Package B-which included, in addition to the I6 engine, a C4 automatic tranny, a chrome air cleaner with Sprint decal, a center console, and body-side accent stripes.
"The original owner of the car," John said, "a schoolteacher from Weeping Water, Nebraska, had purchased it from Sample Hart Motor Company in Omaha on August 29, 1966. Many of her original papers are preserved. She sold the car on July 16, 1979, with 5,955 original miles. We have the original notarized statement reflecting this transaction."
With this carefully preserved Mustang in their stable, John and B.G. set out to make the Mustang more presentable for the inevitable Mustang Club of America show circuit.
"There has been no restoration process," John said, "but we have spent well over 200 hours cleaning and preserving. The car was dealer-undercoated, and we have removed this undercoating from those components which should not have been sprayed, such as the driveshaft and springs. Removal of the undercoating did reveal many original stickers, tags, and paint stripes. While the undercoating did create a mess to some of the undercarriage, it did act as a preservative in other instances."
The Skavlems took possession of the hardtop in March 1991, and by August of that year had entered the unrestored class at the MCA Grand National in Kingsport, Tennessee. Naturally, the car has won a Gold award in every unrestored class showing it has entered, and even managed to take a Silver award in the Thoroughbred class at one MCA show.
"Since the car is unrestored," John explained, "there have been no long searches for parts. Our search efforts have been centered on trying to assemble a large group of the Rotunda accessories which were available for the '66 Mustang. A child car seat, a clothes rod, tissue dispensers, a vacuum cleaner, a reflector flare kit, a luggage rack, a canvas luggage carrier, and license plate frames are a few of the approximately 35 accessories we have found."
Now you would think that would be the end of the story-not a chance. In fact, this is where things get really interesting-and weird.