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Chad Schneider’s 1966 Mustang: Perfection Is Worth the Trouble

Mustangs are a breed of their own, and when it comes to the classic styling of first-generation models, nothing is quite as recognizable to enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts alike. If you’re looking to build a unique Mustang of your own, you aren’t usually aiming to have exactly what someone else has in their garage. Luckily, there are plenty of finite details that can transform these classic ponies into one-of-a-kind rides like we found in this 1966 Mustang Fastback owned by Fort Collins, Colorado resident Chad Schneider.

Double the Trouble

1966_mustang_feature 126Nicknamed Double-Trouble, this Shelby look-alike has come a long way since Schneider first got her. This was Schneider’s first car, which he paid just $2,000 for in 1983. Thirty years, a five-year restoration, and $75,000 later, has Double-Trouble is living up to her name.

“We’ve had to build or try everything on the car twice,” Schneider explained to us.
“We combined the best parts of two cars to build it, it cost twice as much as we thought it would, it’s a double 6 (1966), and I have identical twin boys who are already fighting over it.”

Bound to Happen

Thrust into the car world at a very young age, Schneider told us that it was inevitable that he would get a ‘66 Mustang. Not only is his birth date (6-6-66) complimentary of that, Schneider also remembers his father owning an almost identical ‘66 when he was just four years old. Between that and his grandfather’s 1930 Model A five-window coupe, which still has a place in the garage of Schneider’s father, Schneider would have been going against all odds if he hadn’t fallen in love with cars himself.

12.3.07 Haulling off the Mustang

Schneider’s Mustang in 1988. Photo compliments of Schneider.

“I’ve always loved cars and still have most of my HotWheels® from when I was a kid,” Schneider told us. “My father owned lots of different cars, so naturally he passed that illness on to me.”

Originally Tahoe Turquoise with a White Deluxe Pony Interior, the Mustang was not in the best of shape when Schneider first bought it.

“By the time I bought it, it was three different shades of black and someone had spray painted the interior black,” Schneider recalled. “It still had the original 289 A-Code motor and C4 transmission with an 8-inch rearend and 3.0 gears.  After I got it, I painted it Wimbledon white with the blue Shelby stripes and hood.  I always swore if I ever got it restored it would be dark blue with white stripes.” Years later, that choice changed.

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As gorgeous as she is, it’s no wonder this Mustang has won awards all over the front range, including securing 1st place awards and bringing home the Best Ford in a Ford Award at the 2013 Goodguys Colorado Nationals.

After driving the Mustang throughout high school, college and to and from work in Houston, Texas for two years without air conditioning, Schneider semi-retired the car for 11 years. Of course, as we all know, first loves can’t be left alone forever, so six years ago Schneider started on the build of a lifetime.

1966_mustang_feature 018“I built [the car] because it’s been my dream ever since I graduated from college to one day get it fixed,” Schneider said. “My employer surprised me by telling me to go ahead and start the project and that he would help pay for a large portion of it.”

Dialing It In

The main priority of the build was to get all the body work straight, a task that Schneider knew was going to be a challenge. “The running joke before we started was at worst case, we could chop the top off of my Fastback and build another car under it,” he explained. “That’s not too far off from what we did.”

The car you see here is actually two cars that have been cut in half and spliced together. Functional side scoops and the hood scoop were then added to give the car its unique look. Manipulating the metal was  done solely by Jim Poole.

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While Schneider’s Mustang is aesthetically pleasing, if he had to do it again, he wouldn’t cut out the side vents and put the Shelby side windows in their place.

Topping off the expertly done body work is a base of Silver Toner under clear laid by Newstalgia’s Adam Lucier. The silver exterior is complimented with custom Gun Metal Gray stripes.

Inside the car, you’ll find Scat Pro Car Rally seats and a JME instrument panel with Auto Meter gauges, upgrading the car’s mostly stock interior. Schneider also went a bit high-tech, having a Kenwood touch screen installed in the center console, giving him access to the radio, satellite radio, navigation and Bluetooth all pumped through a 6.1 Rockford Fosgate speaker system.

Securing the road ahead, the Mustang also has a hidden radar detector and jammer on board. Upgraded electric windows and keyless entry round out the electrical upgrades. All the electronic work was performed by Extreme Theater & Sound, who discretely mixed the car’s vintage-esque interior with modern-day perks.

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Down to the Nitty Gritty

While Schneider’s Mustang is obviously gorgeous, this pony car goes well beyond its looks. Under the hood you’ll find a 1968 302ci engine that has been bored and equipped with a 347 stroker kit, thus the G.T. 347 monikers on the rocker stripes. The engine is also fitted with a camshaft out of a 1968 California Special, Edelbrock Performer RPM cylinder heads, a polished Victor Junior intake, and a Holley 750 cfm Double Pumper carburetor.

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A stout 302 bored over and transformed into a 347 stroker, this immaculate engine produces around 500 hp.

Expelling spent gasses from the engine are Hooker long tube Comp headers matted to an X pipe and Borla muffler system. Firepower is provided by a MSD ignition system. In the end, the 12:1 compression motor is good for about 500 hp.

1966_mustang_feature 109Pushing the pony’s power to the ground is an AOD automatic transmission fitted with a Silver Fox MAC valvebody. This combination is controlled by a Lokar shifter fabbed up to look like a stick shift.

A custom aluminum driveshaft sends power flying out to the rearend, which consists of a classic Ford 9-inch with 3.89 gears. This is backed up by an old-school 5 leaf-spring rear suspension with period correct under ride traction bars.

Supporting the front end of the Mustang are Global West upper and lower control arms, a HD sway bar, and adjustable strut rods.

Precision steering and control come via a Unisteer rack and pinion controlled by a tilt steering wheel from Ididit. The Mustang’s sub frames also help with the handling and body roll aspect, tying into the car’s interior roll bar.

1966_mustang_feature 003Giving the Mustang all the stopping power it needs are brakes from a 1967 Mustang up front and discs from a 1978 Lincoln Versailles in the rear. The braking system is completed with drilled and slotted rotors.

Carrying the Mustang off into the sunset are 17-inch Curtis Speed 10-spoke Shelby-style wheels, measuring 7 inches wide in the front and 8 inches wide in the rear. These are wrapped in General Exclaim 215/45 and 275/45 rubber respectively.

Special Thanks

Complete, or as complete as they ever are, this unique Mustang is truly a joy for both Schneider and the countless enthusiasts we encountered on our photo shoot. But the build wouldn’t have been possible without the many men Schneider would like to thank.

1966_mustang_feature 066These vital human pieces of the puzzle include Bill Albrecht, Schneider’s boss who provided the initial funds for the project; Randy and Jason Curtis of Gooding Performance for overseeing the project; Jim Poole for making one car out of two and all the necessary metal work; Adam Lucier at Newstalgia for the awesome paint job; Mike Curtis of Curtis Speed for the “beautiful wheels that are a pain to clean”; and Danny Munn of Extreme Theater & Sound for the interior electronics.

Confessions to Make

Schneider also has his wife Sarah to thank, for taking his unexpected car project in stride. In 2007, the car was heading to the scrap yard when Schneider’s boss surprised him with funds for restoring the car. Schneider had to come up with about $25k more and ended up making payments without his wife even knowing the car was still around.

As the time grew closer for the car to be finished, Schneider began to panic but ended up pulling off one of the best surprise reveals we’ve heard of.

1966_mustang_feature 113“Fortunately, or unfortunately, the owner of the shop (which was working on the car) had an original 1967 RS/SS Camaro that someone had started to restore and then changed their mind that had been sitting around for about 10 years,” Schneider told us. “So on her 40th birthday, I surprised my wife with her dream car project, and then confessed about the Mustang. She cried and then forgave me.”  

Sarah Schneider’s Camaro should be finished by next summer. Then she and Chad and will have His & Hers cars they can take to shows and other events. How’s that for a match made in automotive heaven?

Check out more of this gorgeous Stang in the gallery below.



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