One In A Million
There are ways of finding Hidden Treasures without risking bodily injury. Delia Wolfe of San Francisco embarked on her "barn find" on the Internet.
She said, "I started doing a search based on the year. At 1966, I saw this Mustang; the ad said it was one of 50 produced. I replied to the ad and within two minutes the owner called me."
Searching for Hidden Treasures on the Internet means a car can be literally anywhere on the face of the globe. Luckily, this '66 was an hour's drive away. Delia was looking for "something special," so she decided to inspect the car in person. The '66 didn't appear to be unusual or rare. But upon closer inspection, it turned out to be one of the Millionth Mustang Anniversary models introduced in the spring of 1966.
Delia recalled, "I went down to look at it. We pushed it out of the owner's garage. The Mustang was tired. It was kind of all there, except missing the front bumper and lower valance, and it had a non-original hood and right front fender."
Research becomes a key issue with rarities like this Hidden Treasure. Delia bought the '66 because, at $3,500, the price was right even if the car wasn't anything other than a basic 289 two-barrel coupe. Later, she researched the history and discovered the DSO code of 74-1111 on the data plate, which verified the heritage. DSO 74 is Seattle sales district, while the 1111 is the special order code for the Millionth Anniversary Mustangs. Delia's find has the full compliment of Millionth Anniversary features.
She said, "All these Mustangs had special gold paint, styled steel wheels with trim rings, and black deluxe pony interior. They were C-code cars, so they were all 289 two-barrels with automatic transmission."
Volume 1 of the Mustang Production Guide by Jim Smart and Jim Haskell provide some details about these unusual cars. However, much is still unknown, which adds intrigue to Delia's Hidden Treasure.
Pace Car in Disguise
Who could know by simply looking that this '64½ hardtop that it is a rare Indy Pace Car Mustang? Now that is a Hidden Treasure.
The original owner knew, but he didn't even mention the fact when he offered to sell the car to Drew Takach, who was fresh out of college at The Citadel and still "bummed out" for having to sell his '65 Mustang to go to school. He promised himself he'd get another early Mustang after graduation.
"As soon as I graduated, an older gentleman in my church came up and asked if I would be interested in buying his Mustang," Drew says.
Homer Sargeant bought his '64½ brand-new. It was one of the rare and desirable Pace Car replicas, but he neglected to mention this heritage. For all Drew knew, the 260-powered Mustang was simply a plain-Jane hardtop.
Drew went to see the car, parked outside Homer's lake house near Chapin, South Carolina. Drew recalls, "It didn't look too bad. But it wasn't anything you could drive down the street." So Drew told Homer that the hardtop was "a little too rough."
That's when Homer detained Drew with one of those "Oh, by the way" statements.
Drew paraphrases Homer, "Oh, by the way, it's an Indianapolis Pace Car. And I've got the original bill of sale and window sticker."
For most of us, an about-face and scramble for the wallet would be in order. Drew wasn't familiar with the '64½ Indy Pace Car, but his interest was piqued. Fate was on his side.
"I got on the Internet and learned that this was something I needed to get if Homer was willing to sell for the right price. I called him and he said, `I really want to sell it to someone who is going to be able to put it back like it was.'"
The price was right at $3,000 in April of 2003. Drew purchased the car and completed the restoration in a little over a year's time.
Through his research, Drew learned that many of the Pace Cars had "Pace Car" lettering acid-etched into the radiator support. He found this evidence, still faintly visible in capital letters, on his new purchase.
Drew told his body man, "Whatever you do, be careful with the radiator support. I want you to just tape it up to leave it like it is." Then one day, the body man called and told Drew he needed to come to the shop to look at something. Like hieroglyphics from an Egyptian pyramid, the '64½ coupe was giving up historic markings. On the radiator support, to the left of the Pace Car lettering, were more etched codes, including E214, 65A, C42, and BL. Through the Pace Car grapevine, Drew decoded some of the etchings: "BL" stood for back-up lights, novel on the '64½ Mustangs; "65A" was the body code for a hardtop with standard interior; "C42" breaks down as "C" for the unique Pace Car White; and "42" breaks down the interior as "white vinyl with blue appointments." Drew still does not know the meaning of the "E214." If anyone knows, drop us an email at email@example.com.