By D. Brian Smith
Being immersed in the classic car hobby can lead to many great lifetime adventures and pursuits. Beach Gypsy Classics (BGC) is a growing business venture based in Orange County, California. Huntington Beach firefighter, paramedic, resident, and longstanding Classic Industries customer Chuck Stubbing, with his wife Kelly, started BGC after renovating a Wimbledon White 1966 Mustang notchback coupe.
1966 Ford Mustang Convertible
The dynamic duo devised a great way to fuel their passion for old cars by renting out the Mustang notchback for weddings, special events, and production work in Hollywood. After earning its keep and then some, the coupe was sold for a tidy profit. The notchback sale funded the purchase of the "cheapest running and driving 1966 Mustang convertible in the country," according to Chuck. The drop top Mustang would be added to the fleet of Beach Gypsy Classics' selection of classic car and truck rentals, after Chuck performed some serious sweat equity by restoring the Mustang back to new condition.
Above: Chuck shared that the Ford 289-cubic inch small block V8 engine needed a bit of tinkering before it was ready for prime-time Beach Gypsy Classics daily driving duty. When the Mustang's not at work, Chuck drives it to Huntington Beach Fire Department Station 3, where he happily protects and serves all of us who reside in Surf City USA!
When Chuck renovated the notchback, it was his first classic car restoration. The convertible that Kelly and Chuck had just acquired was wicked cheap because it was a wretched mess. What BGC learned from renewing the coupe would come in handy for taking on the much bigger challenge of working on the convertible. They restored the pony car with a passel of Classic Industries parts, along with some advice from CI personnel in both the retail showroom and over the phone with the CI tech team.
The first order of business for the '66 Beach Gypsy ragtop was the interior. The steel dash panel appeared to be held together with Bondo filler. But, it looked more like the famous Bubblegum Alley in San Luis Obispo, CA. Thanks to Chuck's developing talents in the body metal prep and paint departments, the new installed dash panel has a satin smooth Wimbledon White shine. He also sprayed the steel door panels in the blue hue to match the light blue and white deluxe pony seat covers.
Installing all the other new interior soft and hard goods was much easier to accomplish once Chuck selected all the items he needed in CI's Mustang Parts & Accessories Catalog and placed them on order.
Not long after getting all the items from Classic, Chuck sorted the convertible's cockpit by installing the new door panels, carpet, dash pad, center console, light blue with white inserts pony seat covers, three-point seat belts for added safety, manual window regulators, and interior door handles.
In keeping with the themes of maximizing the vehicle's looks, comfort, performance, and safety, BGC 86'ed the front drums for a front disc brake conversion kit and a Mustang firewall brake booster kit, also sourced at Classic. New front suspension components, including control arms and front spring perches, helped to make the Mustang drive like a dream yet again.
BGC learned from experience that Mustang drop tops have many more parts that need fixing or replacing than the standard notchback coupes. The power top didn't work, so Chuck replaced the top's motor. He also replaced the top's hydraulic lines, while filling/bleeding the lines with new fluid/oil. A new '66 blue convertible top boot cover finished off the cockpit for when the top is folded down, which is pretty much all the time in Southern California along the coast.
With some medium blue carpet installed in the trunk, the Wimbledon White 1966 Mustang convertible was now ready for photo shoots, weddings, special events, and plenty of mountain or beach cruises up and down the coast.
Beach Gypsy Classics movie/rental/events fleet has now grown to six vehicles. This '66 has been a movie and TV car, in addition to being used for national commercials, and of course local weddings, special events, and beach/mountain cruises.
Above and below: A couple of photographs and a promotional video of the BGC pony car at work and at play - what a great Wimbledon White wedding weekend getaway machine.
Beach Gypsy Classics
1966 Shelby GT350 Mustang Clone
Jason Geiger works with Chuck as a firefighter at Huntington Beach Station 3. He and Erin are also business partners at Beach Gypsy Classics with Chuck and Kelly. Jason's 1966 Shelby GT350 Mustang tribute began life dressed in Tahoe Turquoise and was powered from the Ford assembly line by a straight-six-cylinder engine.
The fastback provided a great platform for transformation into a GT350 tribute. Jason has had the car for 15 years, but it didn't take him long to make the many modifications to turn it into a very formidable Shelby replica.
He sourced a 302-cubic inch Ford V8 small block mill, swapped out the six, and converted the four-lug six-cylinder wheel hubs to five-lug, while installing a front wheel disc brake conversion kit at the same time. As for the interior, there's all-new black seat covers, black carpet, and black door panels providing great looks and comfort.
A Shelby style '66 tachometer was installed atop the dash pad. A Shelby replica steering wheel now crowns the dash.
Jason's BGC Shelby clone rides on some stout BFGoodrich Radial T/A rubber wrapping Shelby replica five-spoke mags. The Mustang is a very faithful tribute. Jason installed the '66 Shelby plexiglass quarter windows and the fiberglass brake cooling quarter panel scoops. He finished off the modifications by affixing a GT350 badge to the right side of the tail panel.
Below: When Jason's BGC GT350 tribute's not being filmed for some scenes in upcoming major motion pictures, Jason and Chuck might take it out to Willow Springs for some hot lap schooling sessions with notchback coupes giving chase.
Jason & Chuck at Willow Springs
According to Messrs. Jason Geiger and Chuck Stubbing (below: left to right), Classic Industries is truly another hero in this tale of good old American pony and muscle car enthusiasm and entrepreneurship. Chuck said, "Seriously, I don't think this business would work without being able to get a part quickly with you guys. I have had to run to Classic, grab a part, and drive to LA on set, and do a quick repair. If Classic wasn't in town, we couldn't do that. Thank you for allowing us to turn our passion for old cars into a fun little business!"
Classic Industries Sells Ford Mustang & Shelby Parts
Whether you own a 1st generation, a 2nd gen, a 3rd gen, or a 4th gen Mustang or Shelby, there's a great chance that Classic Industries has the components you're seeking. Simply click on those four generation numbers above to shop for your generation of Mustang pony/muscle car parts. You can enhance your Mustang shopping experience by also ordering a printed Mustang Parts & Accessories Catalog by clicking the button below and filling out the online form.