Images courtesy of Danielle Amrine and Adam Trauth
When you’re the wife of an NFL defensive tackle, the world is at your fingertips. You get invited to all of the cool parties and have the financial means and ability to do things that most of us can’t. But that’s not what got Anna Peko, wife of Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Domata Peko, started on this project. Actually, it was the memory of riding around in this sweet ’66 Mustang as a kid. The car was her father’s, but had been sitting for a long time before he handed it off to her. When Anna decided it was time to resurrect the car, it was sent to the team at Easy Street Speed & Kustom in Milford, Ohio, for a complete resurrection.
We spoke with Easy Street’s Adam Trauth, the lead builder on the project. “The paint was gone, and the transmission was completely shot, but it was a complete car – just not in great shape. Back in the mid ’80’s, Anna’s dad bought this car, and her two uncles also bought Mustangs. She rode around in it a lot as a kid, but eventually he parked it. After he stopped driving it, the car sat under a tarp for a long time, but luckily we had everything we needed to work with when it showed up here,” he explained.
This is what the car looked like when it arrived at Easy Street Speed & Kustom - a tired, but workable, shell ready for a transformation.
Pop the hood on this bad boy, and the main motivation immediately becomes clear - a complete, looks-like-it-came-that-way 5.0L Coyote engine rests between the framerails. “When Anna dropped the car off to me, she told me the most important thing to her was to be able to just hop in the car and drive it – she didn’t want to fool around with a carburetor or have the car be finicky at all. The Coyote engine had just come out, and I thought that would be a great way to achieve her goals – the fuel injection would help it to drive like a new car, and she was all about the idea,” says Trauth. As the Coyote engine had just been released for purchase, Trauth felt that it would be a great way to achieve the goals Anna had for the car, and a call was made to Ford Racing Parts.
Don’t think it’s just a show car, though – Anna actually drives the car a couple of times a week to pick the kids up from school. The entire build was completed at Easy Street except for the paint - everything else was done at their shop in-house. The ’66 shell was repainted and completely re-finished inside with a white-on-white brand-new interior by a company Trauth found in Utah. A brand-new black canvas top and black carpet were also installed.
A complete Total Cost Involved suspension system was installed at both ends of the car – a Custom IFS conversion in the front and a torque arm in the rear, doing away with the factory underpinnings in the interest of improving ride quality and handling. The Custom IFS design removes the factory shock towers (like you would see in a typical Mustang II-type suspension conversion), improving engine clearance, while the upper and lower control arm independent front suspension helps to lower the car and improve performance.
Left - Anna opted for a brand-new white interior and black carpet to restore her Mustang. And the best part about the car is the modern powerplant, installed and tuned by the team at Easy Street.
Coil-over shocks, a panhard bar, and rear disc brakes? Not OE on this Mustang - but a huge improvement in performance for Anna.
The Total Cost Involved rear torque arm setup was popped into place in the rear of the car, featuring a Ford 9-inch rearend housing, 3.73 gears, and Moser axles, which allowed the Easy Street team to drop the stock leaf-spring design in the scrap pile. By installing the torque arm and its attendant equipment, the suspension bind built into the original leaf-spring design was removed from the equation, allowing the car’s handling to be controlled by the coil-over shocks and sway bar. This also permitted the car to achieve a lower center of gravity, further improving the ride quality and handling characteristics.
The car features a complete Aeromotive fuel system, selected for its durability and ease-of-install. TCI Auto supplied one of their C4 transmissions and torque converters, allowing Anna to retain the original three-speed transmission design.
“This is the car that Anna grew up riding around in, and we were happy to be able return it to the way she remembered it. We didn’t do a complete restoration, though – she asked us to retain the original trim pieces, door handles, things like that, because she didn’t want a brand-new car. She wanted the car that her dad gave her, but better, and that’s what we tried to deliver. The only stipulation she had for the entire car was that it retained the white interior, and the rest of it she left up to us to take care of,” Trauth explained. It looks like they did a heck of a job. Thanks for sharing it with us!
No matter which angle you see it from, this is one cool old-school Mustang.