While shopping for an early Mustang, Dave Spry of Estes Park, Colorado, located a ’66 convertible in Denver on a Web site. Only after talking with the owner did Dave discover the Columbine Blue convertible was a genuine High Country Special. Dave told us, “I had heard about the High Country Specials, but I had no idea the convertible was such a low-production car. The number of High Country Special convertibles produced in 1966 is estimated to be “around 30″ according to Bob Teets with the High Country Special Registry.”
According to Dave’s research, the Columbine Blue convertible originally sold for $3,437 at Goodro Ford on July 23, 1966, the first day the High Country Specials were available for purchase. The convertible spent the next 33 years in the Denver area with four owners before being brought to Estes Park where Dave eagerly began transforming the convertible into a show-stopper. Dave was relieved to find the High Country Special badges and all options still intact. The original 289 2V engine and C4 transmission are in good condition, with 127,000 miles showing on the odometer.
Dave completed the majority of the restoration in his garage and shop. Stock ’66 wheels were swapped for ’65 wheels, and a fan shroud and air-conditioning fan blade were added to help cool the engine while driving in Colorado’s high country. Most would agree the convertible has found an ideal home in Colorado.
Worthy of Gold
Most Mustangs are not as fortunate as this pristine ’67 Aspen Gold High Country Special owned by Ron Bettinger of Golden, Colorado. The convertible has remained in the Denver area since its original delivery to Courtesy Ford in Littleton, where Ron’s nephew was the sales manager at the time this HCS would have been delivered.
Production numbers provided by Bettinger indicate his Mustang was one of about 40 High Country Special convertibles produced in 1967. Bettinger reports that Ford dealers in the region apparently had the option of where to place the High Country Special badges. On this particular convertible, they are placed directly above the 289 emblem.
Bettinger says the convertible was in “good condition” when purchased 18 years ago from the original owner, a fellow junior-high teacher. Over the years, the convertible has gradually been “updated” by replacing the convertible top, interior, and dash, as well as various mechanical items. With just 82,000 miles, the 289-2V engine has never needed work.
Exterior options include a power top, tinted glass, a remote rearview mirror, and a deluxe hood with functional rear-facing louvers and integral turn signals. Styled Steel wheels and Exterior Decor Group options consisting of the pop-open gas cap with running horse, chrome wheel lip moldings, and chrome rear decklid moldings were added to further enhance the convertible’s appearance.
There’s no doubt Bob Teets owns one of the rarest High Country Specials ever produced. Teets’ ‘681/2 HCS, powered by a 428 Cobra Jet, was spotted by his son, Scott, behind an automotive frame shop in Denver. Teets claims he was at the shop in less than 30 minutes after he heard the car included “double Rs” in the VIN; but the CJ hardtop was not for sale.
With no intention of letting this special coupe get away Teets visited the owner in the spring, summer, fall, and winter for many years. Finally, in August 1995, after the coupe spent a total of 19 years covered with sheets of fiberglass awning and other junk, the owner agreed to sell the rare High Country Special to Teets.
Closer inspection revealed that the coupe had survived its 89,500 miles relatively intact and still sported the original Candyapple Red paint and High Country Special options. Unfortunately, the engine, transmission, and front seats were gone. The car originally came equipped with a 3.91:1 rear backed by a limited-slip differential and a C6 automatic transmission.
Teets found many of the original parts locally and returned the hardtop to factory condition. He reports the most frustrating parts to find included the smog equipment, air-cleaner assembly, carburetor, and correctly dated engine.
Only nine of the 251 High Country Specials produced in 1968 received the 428 Cobra Jet engine, according to production figures from Kevin Marti at Marti Auto Works. Six of the nine are listed in the High Country Special Registry. Marti reports that two white and one green High Country Specials are the three Cobra Jets currently missing from the registry.