Killer K-Code: Jim Turcich’s ’66 Mustang GT
Here at Street Legal TV, we love sharing stories of cool rides that we find on the internet or see at car shows. But no matter where these cars reside, they all have one thing in common: they belong to a gearhead, a car nut, an enthusiast, or whatever you want to call it, and they are the pride and joy of the owner. Our last Reader’s Wheels article focused on a ’79 Corvette from Australia, but today’s submission brings us back to the homeland.
So it is with no small amount of excitement that we showcase this awesome ’66 Mustang owned by Jim Turcich. It’s a 289, originally ordered with the GT package, but elevated to a higher status among its peers thanks to its desirable K-Code designation.
For those unfamiliar with what K-Code entails, it was a performance package available for the 1964 1/2-67 Mustangs, and centered around a 289 High Performance engine. The “K” came from the engine code on the VIN number of these Mustangs. To put it matter-of-factly, “K” designated the engine as a “HiPo,” or High Performance, Windsor 289 engine.
Yet, delving a little deeper, you can see what makes this car a bit more special–and, at $442.60 for the upgrade, far more expensive–than its sibling models. The pistons, carburetor, connecting rods, and heads on the cylinders and lifters were all better built for track-happy drivers. Among others, visible distinguishing features from fellow 289s included the heads, which had a special “cup” that the valve springs were seated into.
And aside from simply the engine, K-codes were distinctive for other, more subtle reasons. For example, they were sold with shorter warranties: 3 months/4,000 miles, as opposed to 12 months/12,000 miles. They also had no air conditioning or power steering, and went a whole year of production before offering automatic transmission.
Add to that their relative rarity of 1 to every 130 sister Mustangs, as well as a direct connection with Carroll Shelby’s first GT350s, and Turcich’s car becomes a piece of history that few others can share a claim in. Of note is Turcich’s grasp on the history of his Mustang, combined with his respect and drive to share the car’s story.
Back in late 1966 in Albermarle, North Carolina, the car was ordered by a young soldier with one foot at home and one in Vietnam. The car did not show up until January 1967, at which time he was approaching deployment, and was thus forced to cut his losses and sell it off.
Its first official driver/owner was a woman who unwittingly used it as a daily driver for a year, before selling it to a more enthusiastic, lead-footed male who racked up loads of fun and speeding tickets. The car soon wound up in the impound lot with 12,000 miles on it.
Since that time, the car has only spun its tires 1,000 more miles. In 1983, Turcich bought it from his neighbor, who had kept it hidden in a garage next to his Impala, and had it repainted over a year’s time at an MCA restoration shop in Georgia. Besides that, other than rebuilding the carb and replacing the belts and gaskets, there have been no major modifications done to the Mustang.
Turcich credits the MCA restorer who repainted his car with advising him to “keep the car as original as possible.” He still stands by his car’s perfection and lean muscle, and doesn’t fancy risking any future aftermarket upgrades. Rather, he simply plans to drive the car more; a simple notion, and something we can all appreciate.
We’d like to thank Turcich for sharing the story of this terrific Mustang with the rest of us. If you happen to see this red fastback slipping past your ride one day, give him a wide berth and try not to stare too long.
If you’d like to share your ride with us here at SLTV, send us an email at Reader’s Wheels, and tell us a little about your car. Get some pictures ready and we’ll contact you and get more information and you’ll be on your way to sharing your car with the rest of our readers. Let us know what you think in the comments section below!