There is a very large class of people that own 65/66 Mustangs that, as far as I can tell, anyway, have been, for the most part, ignored entirely. They don't really want that 100 pt. show car that is so nice and was soooo expensive that they're afraid to drive it, they also don't want to make their car capable of achieving warp factor three. They just want this car that they dearly love to be able to cruise around smoothly and reliably, without having it dump them out on the side of the road or have it start making weird noises or belching out big clouds of funky-smelling smoke. And I think, truth be told, that this is by far the largest class of Mustang owners. They take their car to some technician when what they actually need is a mechanic, and this, frequently, does not work out very well at all for the owner. They don't want to re-engineer the entire car, they just want someone to fix what broke. These are the people that I am trying help out with this blog. Some problems require a little bit of back and forth, as in, "Try this." "I tried that and it didn't change anything."
" Oh. well, you probably need to try that." " I tried that and it helped, but it still isn't quite right." "Now you need to try this...." If you go to http://www.allfordmustangs.com/ and then go to the classics forums, you will be able to do that with a pretty hefty gathering of some very knowledgeable people that also happen to be very friendly. None of that ridiculous one-upmanship, no flaming or abuse, none of that stuff. Just good, solid advice from people that know what they are talking about.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

How much is my 65/66 Mustang worth?

A question that is frequently asked is ' I have a 65 Mustang. How much is it worth?', and then the process of trying to coax a little more information out of the person begins, which often seems like pulling teeth. The simple truth of the matter is this. There is absolutely no way to accurately appraise the value of a forty+ year old vehicle based on a couple of emails and a phone conversation. The market variables are sometimes far too subtle and complicated for someone to stick a price tag on the car based on such vague information. The statement of ' I have a 65 Mustang' does not narrow it down at all. There is a world of difference between a rust-bucket 6 cyl coupe, a 98 pt. trailered concours factory GT K code convertible, and an R model GT-350. There are a few things that are the kiss of death for a 65/66 Mustang's value.

The motor that the car came with originally is what the car is. What is physically present in the car at the moment means almost nothing. If your car came originally with a 6 cyl, you have a 6 cyl car. " But it now has a supercharged 427 SOHC motor in it." You have a 6 cyl car that has a very expensive motor in it, and that motor would be worth even more if it didn't have that pesky 6 cyl Mustang wrapped around it. The car is actually bringing down the value of the motor. Here is how that heirarchy works. The fifth digit of the vin tells you what motor/carb the car came with originally. The value, from top to bottom, would be K, A, D, C, F, T, U, with the K code at the top of the list and the humble U code as the low man on the totem pole.

The body style matters. With everything else being equal, a fastback is worth more than a convertible, and they are both worth more than a coupe. People like the fastbacks, and Ford built about 5 times as many coupes as they did fastbacks, so, rarity+desireability= more expensive. Same deal with convertibles. People like convertibles, Ford didn't build very many compared to the coupes, and a convertible is far more prone to rusting away to nothing, so more of them are lost or parted out every year. The totem pole of body styles would be fastback, convertible then coupe.

Then there is the condition of the body. Each and every car is in it's own unique condition. Many of these cars have been wrecked, some on more than one occassion, with the following repairs being done with various levels of skill and quality. Sometimes the repairs were done very well, but the method is slip-shod by it's very nature. A car gets hit real hard in the rear. Rather than do all of the work needed to fix what's there, it was not uncommon to just take another car that had crashed into something, crushing the front of it, saw both cars in half and weld the two good ends together. This is called being 'clipped', and you have to get underneath the car to see if this has been done. There is not supposed to be a raggedy seam going all the way across the middle of the car. A car can be drop-dead gorgeous in pictures, but have the entire cowl area or the rear frame rails be rotten from rust, rendering the car unsafe to drive. You have to look at the car very carefully and know exactly what's supposed to be there.

And then there is always the question of whether or not the car that you are looking at really is who it says it is, especially on the K codes or the factory GTs. On the K codes, there is a little more to it than looking at the breather decal. The K codes came with a manual choke carburetor. This manual choke has a cable going from under the dash inside the car through the firewall and out to the carb. That cable went through a specific hole in a specific location and was of a specific size. The K codes were the only cars to have this. If that hole isn't in the firewall, something is very seriously wrong here, even though the vin is that of a K code. All K codes came with a 9 inch rear end and all other 65/66 Mustangs came with either an 8 inch or the integral carrier of the 6cyl cars. On a 9 inch rear end the snubber is mounted to a bracket that is attached to the rear end. All other 65/66 Mustangs have the snubber bolted to a piece that's spot welded to the floor of the car. That bracket should not be on the floor of the K code. To make things more interesting, there is a piece welded to the floor of the K code also, for the snubber to bump into instead of just sheet metal, and it is virtually impossible to describe them both in such a way for someone to be able to accurately identify what's on the car that they are looking at. The differences are very easy to tell if you know what the K code bumper plate looks like, though. If the car has the snubber mounting bracket instead of the bumper plate, again, we have a big problem.
A person could say that 'This K code has it's original, vin stamped motor' and technically be telling the truth, but the motor is missing nearly eight thousand dollars worth of parts, like the carb, fan, balancer, distributor, main bearing caps, etc... The 65 K codes had a unique set of motor mounts that don't look anything like the other 65 Mustang motor mounts, and they are very difficult to find, and extremely expensive when you do finally track down a set. And, just for fun, Ford made them very, very similar to the Fairlane motor mounts, but not identical, but it is extremely difficult to tell the K code mounts from the Fairlane mounts when they are bolted to the car, especially if they are all funky-looking and covered with dirt and grease and stuff.
The bottom line is that, in order to accurately determine the fair market value of a 65/66 Mustang, someone that is thoroughly familiar with 65/66 Mustangs is going to have to have a look at the car in person. When someone asks me what a car is worth that I have never seen and don't know anyone that has, the only thing I can do is ask them to email the car to me and let have a look at it.

On a high dollar car, like a K code or a GT, there is no way to tell what a particular car is worth without having someone that knows exactly what to look for go and inspect the car in person.

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