IT would be hard to find a more attention-drawing car in the Snowy Valleys than Ethan Kass’s bright red 1966 built Ford Mustang GT A-code. When the Batlow schoolteacher bought the Mustang when living in Sydney in November 2015, he fulfilled a lifetime dream.
“I had always wanted a Mustang, so when I got a job as a teacher in Sydney, I bought it for myself as a present,” he said.
“I had always wanted a fastback, but they are too expensive.”
The Mustang has a 289 Windsor four valve V8 engine, a four-speed manual gearbox, Shelby drop suspension, front disc brakes, fog lights and exhausts extending through the rear valance. Its left-hand drive makes it stand out even more, but poses some difficulties.
“The road between Batlow and Adelong is pretty crap on the left so you have to be careful,” Ethan said.
“On the highway it’s fine, but around the streets it’s a bit tricky.”
He doesn’t want to convert it to right hand drive as he has heard this can drive the value of the car down. The power of the engine and rear-wheel drive can be just as tricky.
“In the wet it is a challenge,” he said.
“I have fishtailed in it and I spun out in it coming out of Batlow.”
Fortunately he didn’t hit anything. When this Mustang rolled off the assembly line in San Diego 51 years ago, it looked somewhat different.
“Its original colour was antique bronze, but it was resprayed in red,” Ethan said.
He is planning to respray it himself due to bubbling and chips on some of the paint.
“Fortunately the body is really good; it doesn’t have any filler or rust,” Ethan said.
Other than the radio, blue tooth and rally pack dials the Mustang is largely original. It’s not the cheapest car to run, but it isn’t too prohibitive.
“You can get 400km to a tank,” Ethan said.
“It runs on premium with a lead additive, and with the price of petrol around here it’s a bit expensive. Anything higher than 95 octane you can put in it.”
Owning a 51-year-old car is almost always a labour of love.
“It’s fun to have, but there’s always something to do with it, so you could say it is a money pit,” Ethan said.
“I’m always cleaning it because of the birds in the car port.”
The clutch is heavy and there’s no power steering, but it isn’t overly hard to park, although equipping it with air-conditioning isn’t going to be easy.
“An under-dash unit would cost $3000 and a complete unit with heating would be $5000, and with either I would need to get a new radiator,” Ethan said.