No, we're not talking about a T5 transmission, in case you were wondering about the creampuff '66 GT fastback on these two pages. The T5 car, in this case, is Gary Hanson's '66 T5 export car that he's owned since 1977.
A quick history lesson: Ford exported a small handful of early Mustangs to Europe in the mid '60s. They couldn't call them Mustangs because a truck manufacturer over there used that name-hence, the nomenclature of T5. What makes Gary's fully restored "Mustang" really something is its T5 GT status-and it's a fastback to boot.
This second go-around on the resto process really made it the show-stopper it is today. "I found the car in Visalia [near Fresno], California, which is about 200 miles from my home in Livermore," Gary told us. "It hadn't been driven for two years and was slowly baking in the hot California sun. I paid $800 for it, not knowing exactly what a T5 really was. It had major body damage to the passenger side as a result of two separate accidents. The passenger door and rear quarter-panel have been replaced with new Ford sheetmetal. The red paint was badly faded but the interior was good. Today, the rear seat, headliner, and dashpad are still original. I restored it in 1979 and at that time many restoration parts weren't available or were too expensive. As a result, not everything was done correctly.
"In early 1995 the 289 broke a piston ring and this started me on the path to another more thorough restoration," he said. "This time it took almost three years and every part was taken off, cleaned or replaced, painted, and reinstalled. The body was beautifully refinished by Bill & Bill's Body Shop in Oakland, California."
Back to its original glory, the only area Gary's T5 isn't a Mustang is its name. Otherwise, it's a fully optioned GT fastback, which means a 225hp, A-code 289 with an Autolite 4100 four-barrel carb backed by a Toploader four-speed and an 8-inch axle with a 3.00:1 gear ratio.
Of course, other GT bits include foglights, front disc brakes, GT-specific suspension bits, and all the other goodies that make '65-'66 "Mustang" GTs so desirable today. This machine also sports several other things to make it even more coveted among T5 fans, including styled-steel wheels (with 205/70R14 tires), a deluxe ("pony") interior, a Rally Pac, A/C (which Gary added), and an AM/FM radio.
While Gary's early Must...oops, we mean T5, is a restored and rare show machine, one of our favorite things about the car is that it's driven more often than you might think.
"Although I have considerable time, effort and money into the restoration of this car, I still prefer to drive it on a regular basis," said Gary. "It has been to the Mustang Club of America show in Charlotte in 1994 and again in 1999, and I've driven it to several shows from Seattle to Los Angeles. It was also the lead car for the '99 cross-country trek from Las Vegas to Charlotte as part of the Mustangs in Motion caravan. In the summer of 2001, I drove it to Steamboat Springs, Colorado, for a show. I've found that it's really fun to drive the car long distances with other Mustang owners. And now that I've owned it for so long, the car seems like part of the family."
Sounds like a family member we'd sure love to have, wouldn't you?