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1966 6cyl fastback,
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Hi, My brother and I are interested in upgrading our all original 1966 6cyl fastback that we got from our dad. We are looking to improve the horrendous braking then any other parts to make it have better performance. We are not looking for a beast just a kinda stock looking sleeper that performs, rides, sounds and handles better. I like the idea of improving the 6cyl but i am aware of the limits on the head/manifold. We are just not sure what direction to take. Can we swap in a different 6cyl? Should we go v8? Should we do coil overs? Should we change to 5 lug? We have 3 to 4 grand to spend.
 

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Dimples
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With that budget, you should add disc brakes on the front, upgrade the stock style suspension with good shocks (Bilstein) and install sportier springs, roller spring perches and a beefier sway bar. That’ll soak up the majority of your budget, but also offer the greatest return as far as fun per $.

I personally would upgrade to V8/5-lug specs on the brakes and suspension when you do so, just because it’s heavier duty and not much more expensive than new 6cyl parts. Worth noting that V8 8” rear ends are relatively plentiful and affordable due to Explorer swaps.

As you know, the six is hobbled by its design and takes a ton of money and parts to make it almost as fast as a relatively stock V8. Start with brakes and suspension and readdress the engine later when funds allow. As the saying goes, it’s more fun to drive a slow car fast, than to drive a fast car slow. Handling and brakes will keep you smiling for quite a while.
 

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All original 65 2+2's are only original as long as you keep them that way.

Your Dad kept the car original, why not honor him and keep it original.

The drum brakes are adequate, the power is lackluster, but many people are envious that you own an all original 65 2+2.

If it were mine, I would clean, detail and keep it as original as possible.
 

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All original 65 2+2's are only original as long as you keep them that way.

Your Dad kept the car original, why not honor him and keep it original.

The drum brakes are adequate, the power is lackluster, but many people are envious that you own an all original 65 2+2.

If it were mine, I would clean, detail and keep it as original as possible.
I agree, especially a 6 cylinder 2+2 survivor. My suggestion would be to install a 6 cylinder disk brake kit with a dual master cylinder for safety and enjoy the car. Those kits would allow for conversion back if you ever wanted too...

 

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Dimples
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All original 65 2+2's are only original as long as you keep them that way.

Your Dad kept the car original, why not honor him and keep it original.

The drum brakes are adequate, the power is lackluster, but many people are envious that you own an all original 65 2+2.

If it were mine, I would clean, detail and keep it as original as possible.
I agree with this in principle, with one giant caveat: if bone-stock originality keeps you from wanting to drive it, toss originality out the window and have fun with it. I’ve owned both. Sold the six banger stocker for a V8 and started modding the hell out of it. Everybody is different in their tastes, and I bet Dad would rather see the boys enjoying it rather than collecting dust.
 

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Hi, My brother and I are interested in upgrading our all original 1966 6cyl fastback that we got from our dad.
We have 3 to 4 grand to spend.

We are looking to improve the horrendous braking then any other parts to make it have better performance.
Horrendous braking means the brakes need proper rebuild and adjustment. I towed a boat trailer all over the east coast with a 66 Sprint 200, and braking was absolutely no sweat. If you really really want to upgrade, use the Scarebird front disc kit.

We are not looking for a beast just a kinda stock looking sleeper that performs, rides, sounds and handles better.
OK, have dual headers/exhaust installed, with an H crossover close to the engine. Have the distributor professionally adjusted. That's about it for power unless you spend stupid money. Swapping in a T5 5-speed will do more for you than tons of engine upgrades.
For handling, stock GT springs, Decent gas shocks, and the Arning drop on the front end with a 1" sway bar and export brace will transform the handling. You won't believe it's the same car.


I like the idea of improving the 6cyl but i am aware of the limits on the head/manifold. We are just not sure what direction to take. Can we swap in a different 6cyl?
No.
Should we go v8?
Your budget won't come anywhere near the cost of doing that.
Should we do coil overs?
No. The drop will do as much for handling at a small fraction of the cost.
Should we change to 5 lug?
No. It will eat your entire budget and do nothing for performance.
 

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My `66 HT Sprint is all original mechanically as it was built new. I maintain the brake system and it stops very well. Of course, not like a new car with four wheel disc power brakes, but I drive it with no fear of being able to stop safely. Do as you wish with your Father's FB, but I am quite happy with my factory brakes.
 
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I agree with this in principle, with one giant caveat: if bone-stock originality keeps you from wanting to drive it, toss originality out the window and have fun with it. I’ve owned both. Sold the six banger stocker for a V8 and started modding the hell out of it. Everybody is different in their tastes, and I bet Dad would rather see the boys enjoying it rather than collecting dust.
I agree with you except this is an original first year 2+2.

Mod the hell out of a run of the mill coupe.

It is possible to just enjoy this car for what it is: A sporty looking economy car.
 

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1967 Convertible, 5.0HO EFI, AOD
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Hi, My brother and I are interested in upgrading our all original 1966 6cyl fastback that we got from our dad. We are looking to improve the horrendous braking then any other parts to make it have better performance. We are not looking for a beast just a kinda stock looking sleeper that performs, rides, sounds and handles better. I like the idea of improving the 6cyl but i am aware of the limits on the head/manifold. We are just not sure what direction to take. Can we swap in a different 6cyl? Should we go v8? Should we do coil overs? Should we change to 5 lug? We have 3 to 4 grand to spend.
"stock looking sleeper that performs, rides, sounds and handles better. "

Should we go v8? YES. You don't have to do it now but you should know this is where you're heading so you don't spend money on new parts that you'll toss when you convert

Should we do coil overs? Not if you're reusing the springs you have now. But if you're buying new springs and shocks, I would. I'd just use the kind that mount on the stock upper control arms. Cutting coils to get the right stance sucks.

Should we change to 5 lug? YES. You'll want a V8 suspension to support the V8 when you get there.

We have 3 to 4 grand to spend.
I assume you and your bro are doing the work yourselves.
 

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66 Shelby, 65 FB w/'87 302 conversion
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I'll offer one alternative. Consider upgrading your 3 speed with a T5. That made a tremendous change to my car. You can switch it out in a few hours. You'll need a conversion plate from modern driveline, the yoke and clutch. Keep the 3 speed for the next owner if you like.

I ended up installing a V8, suspension, exhaust, rear end etc. The most noticeable change was with the T5.

If you're interested, I've go the conversion plate and yoke to sell.
 

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Hi, My brother and I are interested in upgrading our all original 1966 6cyl fastback that we got from our dad. We are looking to improve the horrendous braking then any other parts to make it have better performance. We are not looking for a beast just a kinda stock looking sleeper that performs, rides, sounds and handles better. I like the idea of improving the 6cyl but i am aware of the limits on the head/manifold. We are just not sure what direction to take. Can we swap in a different 6cyl? Should we go v8? Should we do coil overs? Should we change to 5 lug? We have 3 to 4 grand to spend.
I would start off asking why you think the brakes are so bad? Drums stop just fine for virtually all daily driving when they are in good shape. Manual brakes to require you to drive differently than modern power brakes....but that is driver misconception, not a failure of the original equipment. The same can be said for the stock suspension...it may not feel the same as a modern car, but is again perfectly capable of taking any turn at a decent speed. Of course there is room for improvement(much room) in both areas(as well as engine performance) but the question you really want to ask yourself is whether you want to go down that rabbit hole? If you aren't planning on driving the car in a performance oriented manner....don't touch it. If you ARE driving the car in a performance oriented manner....your budget isn't going to cut it. You have 2 choices when working with a vintage mustang: 1. Leave it alone and drive and enjoy it...or 2. Modify it trying to make it perform like a modern car and spend $10,000+ failing to do so. Either is a valid path, but realize exactly what you are getting into beforehand.

The cars brake and handle just fine from the factory...if you want more than that there are plenty of lower-cost mods than you can do, but compromises never make anyone happy and you will find yourself just pouring more and more money into the car until you have a $50,000 into a car you just take down to the cruise-in once a month. I am not trying to discourage you here, I am injecting a dose of reality. Most of those who mod our cars enjoy the process just as much as the end result. For me personally, I know I enjoy building cars more than I do driving the finished product and that is why I do it. Its an even worse situation when the car is not yours alone...trust me on this, as long as someone else has a claim on the car in addition to you, it will be nothing but a problem...been there, done that, never again.
 

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1967 Convertible Shelby clone
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Plus one on the master cylinder- getting rid of the jelly jar should be the first priority- loosing all of your brakes while driving is no fun- ask me how I know. Upgrading to a DS II is also petty cheap and will improve reliability
 

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Dimples
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I agree with you except this is an original first year 2+2.

Mod the hell out of a run of the mill coupe.

It is possible to just enjoy this car for what it is: A sporty looking economy car.
I don’t understand this sentiment. Ford made over 75,000 of them. Short of absolute butchery, these cars exist for the owner’s pleasure, whatever the flavor.

You must hate my car, lol. They only made about 35,000 in 66 and the hell has indeed been modded out of it. :devilish:
 

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Yeah, you can rebuild the stock type brakes with a dual-chamber master cylinder and safely enjoy the car.
You can swap to front discs with the Scarebird or another kit and still enjoy the car.
You can convert the entire front steering and suspension and rear axle to 5 lug and still enjoy the car.
You can swap in a manual 4 speed or a T5 trans, a C4, an AOD or 4R70W transmission, you can swap in a V8...and yeah you can still enjoy the car.

ALL OF THIS STUFF IS BOLT-IN.

And all of it is also BOLT-OFF.

You can put all of the original stuff back on later.

It all depends on you and your budget of time and money. Just remember : they're only original once. Never throw away Mustang parts you or someone else may use again, and I wouldn't recommend cutting the shock towers out for any kind of suspension mod. Only cut on the car what must be done to weld in a replacement.
And then, enjoy the car.
My condolences on the passing of your father.
 

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Save the Sixes!
Make it all right again as it was and you wont be surprised or need an excuse for why a V8 just got smoked by a 20 year old Honda.
 

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1966 mustang convertible sprint 200, manual steering and brakes
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Lots of great advice I wish I’d had 40 years ago when I lucked into a beautiful 68 6 cylinder and promptly tore it apart to do a half assed V8 swap. It sure sounded good but my 300 hp minivan V6 could beat it today. That’s more a reflection on my upgrade than what’s possible with a V8 but like you, I was on a major budget so the neck jerking acceleration part never really happened. I’ll just echo the advice to think hard about a long term plan / objective for the car, put a methodical plan to get there and break it up into small chunks with plenty of enjoyable drive time in between. There’s no rush really. Enjoy the process which for me means remembering the fun of driving it frequently rather than 2 years sitting on Jack stands. My 66 6 cylinder is stock including manual brakes (except for The dual chamber MC). Love driving it as is. A T5 conversion has me interested. I’ve also used Scarebird brackets before to obtain disc brakes and had no complaints. But, as mentioned, my properly adjusted drum brakes work quite well. Have fun.
 
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If my goal was best-bang-for-the-buck handling and braking modifications I would keep it fairly simple: First I would upgrade to 5-lug...not in preparation for a v8 swap or wheels, but simply because the steering geometry of the v8 pieces is better than the I6 pieces, then I would do the Shelby drop, roller spring perches, adjustable strut rods. At that point I might consider it worth the effort to upgrade to front discs...but not before. Then I would either cut the stock I6 front springs down to slightly lower the center of gravity and effectively increase the spring rate a little, or I would get new front springs to do the same thing. Rear leaf springs would be next on my list...and finally I would consider a v8 sway bar. That would pretty much eat up the entire budget(or more) but leave you with a car that feels more capable without going crazy.
 

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5 lug opens up a whole world of wheel choices, just don't discard any of the old stuff.
 
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