West Coast Classics are proud to present a very striking example of this rare special factory order 1966 Ford Mustang 'High Country Special' 289 V8 Convertible which was recently restored and repainted in it's very striking original 'Aspen Gold' color paint with its beautiful 'Black with Black Trim' original factory specification interior and which was originally delivered to 'Phil Long Ford' of Denver, CO and built on 7/15/1966. This is one of the 333 'High Country Special' (HCS) cars built and delivered exclusively to Colorado Ford dealerships in 1966 with reportedly only 30 convertibles in 3 colors. Marketed by Ford as unique Mustangs built exclusively for "High Country People"! Specially ordered, specially built, and specially painted in one of only 3 colors (Aspen Gold, Columbine Blue or Timberline Green) with no original color identification on the trim tags, and available as a Hardtop, Convertible and one 2+2 Fastback! This is reportedly one of only 50 such cars delivered to 'Phil Long Ford' of Denver, CO and one of 23 convertibles, only 5 of which are found to be 'Aspen Gold' Convertible's in the registry. This 1966 High Country Special Convertible is thus one very rare pony.
333 High Country Mustangs were sold in 1966. The offer was a modest success, and Ford was encouraged to up production to 416 the following year and in the final year of production, 1968, a total of 251 High Country Mustangs rolled off the assembly line. Today, the High Country Mustang is most remarkable for the argument it made for the viability of future limited editions, and the role it played in the history of the later and somewhat better-known California Special.
Produced from 1966-68 as a special promotion vehicle for Colorado-area Ford dealers. The California Special GT/CS's story and the HCS's are intertwined, and some historians will argue, begins not in the Golden State, but in the Rockies, where one of the first-if not the first-regional Mustang limited editions was created in 1966. Despite a strong national case of Mustang fever, sales slowdowns were occurring in certain markets during the lines second full year of production. Whether the drop was due to over-saturation or a slowing economy was not important to Thurlo Newell of the Denver-area district office, who took delivery in July of 333 High Country Specials from the San Jose Ford plant.
The HCS cars, distributed through 100 Denver dealers, were available with any 66 power-train and body style in one of three special colors: Aspen Gold, Columbine Blue, or Timberline Green. Receiving dealers installed shield-shaped brass plaques to the HCS front fenders that featured a horse galloping across high mountain tops. Because there were no exact specifications for placement of the badge, restorers have documented cars where the plaque sits above and ahead of the Tri-bar running horse. On some, the plaque rests above the Mustang lettering.
Two years before the GT/California Specials mid-1968 introduction, Ford built their, first limited edition Mustang model for sale exclusively in one geographic region, The 1966 High Country Specials were built at Fords San Jose plant for sale only in Colorado, Wyoming; and parts of western Nebraska, These 333 rarities arrived in Denver on July 18, 1966 via a special chartered Denver & Rio Grande Western train that carried nothing else on that trip.
Train buffs and Mustang enthusiasts alike would undoubtedly have enjoyed seeing three diesel locomotives pulling the 22 tri-level railcars loaded with nothing but Mustangs, mostly hardtops, a mere handful of convertibles, and only one fastback, over the Rockies. And what a sight it must have been, for each of these Mustangs was painted in one of three new and unique colors, Aspen Gold, Columbine Blue, or Timberline Green, that were not available on any other Mustang that year.
In addition to being cloaked in one of the three exclusive High Country Special colors, the exteriors featured brass and enameled High Country Special badges which were later affixed to both front fenders by the individual dealerships. Each of the 100 or so dealerships in the Denver DSO (District Sales Office) region was free to position the badge wherever they wished, and surviving examples of these rare ponies have been seen with the badges mounted directly above the running horse emblem, above and to the left of the horse, and centered directly over the, MUSTANG script on the fender, wire wheel covers were optional, and the 1966 High Country Specials came with a equipped with a variety of standard and optional drivetrains.
The uniqueness of the promotion must have created strong sales because in 1967, Denver dealers raised the order to 416 units (Kevin Marti). Similar to the year before, the High Country Special could be ordered with any Mustang power-train and body style. Aspen Gold, Columbine Blue, and Timberline Green were the only available colors, although the green of 1967 was a slightly different mix than before. The Aspen Gold, MX708815, Dupont #93-96705, Ditzler (PPG) #81434 was used on International Trucks from 1952 to 63 as Yellow.
In 1968, Denver's success with the High Country Specials inspired Ford to design and produce 4,118 copies of a limited edition coupe for its West Coast dealers. Based on Carroll Shelby's Little Red 67 show car hardtop, the GT/CS was an attractive combination of Mustang GT and GT350/500 parts. Of the 4,118 units produced 251 were High Country Specials.
In the summer of 66, exactly 333 High Country Special Mustangs, in coupe, convertible, and fastback form (one example only), arrived in Denver, Colorado, on a 23 car freight train. Special brass badges affixed to the front fenders provided identification. This particular car is very rare being an 'Aspen Gold' convertible, reportedly one of only 5 built, and which has optional equipment including the C4 automatic transmission, 2.8:1 rear axle ratio, 289 V8 engine, console, chrome luggage rack, remote side mirror, deluxe seat belts and power brakes. The High Country Specials were devised by Thurlo Newell of Fords Denver zone office, and came to market two years before the better-known California Specials.
This particular example has obviously been very well preserved and maintained and the car drives beautifully with no mechanical issues whatsoever. It has reportedly always been garaged and lived in Colorado under long time ownership for it's whole life! It must be seen and driven to be fully appreciated - a very striking example which turns heads wherever she goes! The engine is extremely strong and responsive with excellent oil pressure and no oil leaks and which sounds absolutely magnificent, the transmission shifts smoothly through the gears and the engine temperature always remains cool.
In summary this is one very fine and striking super rare 1966 Ford Mustang 'High Country Special' 289 V8 Convertible for the Mustang enthusiast and a great daily driver for any American classic car lover. A beautiful example of this increasingly collectible and one of the most desirable classic Mustangs ever in turn-key ready daily driving, daily head-turning, and daily appreciating condition!