1966 Ford Mustang – A Titan of the Twists

When we spotted Jim Gallucci’s 1966 Ford Mustang out on track recently, we knew a lot had changed since it drove out of the dealership over fifty years ago.

It sounded built, but didn’t quite have the note of the factory 289; it didn’t sit like a stock car either, so we just had to go in for a closer look and see what was up.

Jim’s a guy who has lots of cars, and tells us driving this one makes him regret selling his genuine Shelby Mustangs that he had back in the day. But still, built as it is, it’s a classic that can keep up (and pass!) lots of newer cars on the track.

1966 ford mustang, fuel curve

So let’s get into it, what makes this Mustang stand out from the pack? Jim Gallucci tells us it was built by a lawyer in New York City, where the car came from, using “all the wrong parts.” Regardless, Jim loves the car and says in its current form it is loads of fun to drive.

1966 ford mustang, fuel curve

First off, as suspected, the stock 289 is long gone. Instead, a massively torquey 427 can be found in its place. In the lightweight pony car, it’s definitely a setup that will make you work your hands around the circuit.


1966 ford mustang, fuel curve

You don’t need to look under the hood, or even see the car, to know that something is different here. With the race exhaust Jim’s 1966 Ford Mustang emits a massive, low-pitched roar as the throttle is opened out of the corners.

1966 ford mustang, fuel curve

It sounds every bit as good when downshifting and braking into the curves as well, and you won’t be surprised to learn that the drum brakes that came on all four corners from the factory have been scrapped.

Large, non-standard 17” wheels cover the Baer big brake kit that helps the old Mustang consistently and reliably slow for turns on twisty tracks.

1966 ford mustang, fuel curve

While we generally agree with Jim that the smaller diameter generally look better on a classic, the American Racing wheels are nice and meaty, making the setup on the ‘66 still look great.

The wheels are wrapped up with sticky Hoosier rubber in a square setup, measuring 225/45R17 all around.

Keeping the rubber on the road, the lawyer swapped the stock suspension for what Jim describes as NASCAR style coilovers. The old-style reciprocating ball-bearing steering box has been tossed for a nice and tight rack and pinion setup.

1966 ford mustang, fuel curve

1966 ford mustang, fuel curve

A couple extra heat exchangers and functional brake ducting coming from the side scoops helps keep thing cool under abuse at the track. From all the stickers on the window, you can tell that this car has seen plenty of it, too.

Jim tells us before the circuit racing, he was a regular at the Goodguys vintage drag events, where he’d drive his ‘48 Anglia down to the shows and drive home with a trophy. He’s got racing in his blood, and we’re looking forward to see what else he has in the garage.

1966 ford mustang, fuel curve

While the Mustang still squats under heavy acceleration, gone is the slop and the squish that this thing shipped with from Ford. It’s a car that not only has amazingly improved performance, but looks a lot better than it did back in the day.

1966 ford mustang, fuel curve

Best of all, the Mustang gets to stretch its legs, with Jim behind the wheel, in ways it could only dream of before the upgrades.

Trevor Ryan is a track day photographer from Northern California. He has experience in many different areas of photography but always comes back to automotive work in the end. To him, nothing is more rewarding than creating an amazing image of a car. Having purchased a ’66 Mustang almost six years ago, he had no choice but to end up immersed in car culture sooner or later. He also owns a ’99 Miata that he takes to the track. He has love for every part of car culture and besides track days often makes it to drift events, Cars and Coffee, tuner shows, and anything else he can find.

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