“Most people don’t know me, but they know my car,” said La Jolla resident Mark Anderson of his 1966 soft blue Ford Mustang. “It’s one of the most popular cars in American History and considered one of the coolest cars ever made.” Having run a travel business from his home for the last 30 years, Anderson drives his Mustang — which does not have a name — around town.
“It gets noticed at the Post Office and the Vons parking lot. When people meet me, they usually say ‘Oh, you’re the guy with the Mustang,’ so apparently it stands out,” he said.
“A lot of people like it for one reason for another. It has some universal appeal. I’ve seen tourists take their picture next to it when I take it into town. And people come up to me and tell me about when they had one in high school or college. But for me, I just like that it gets me around. It doesn’t get great gas mileage, but it’s very fast and powerful, so I joke that it passes everything but a gas station.” The car has a V8 engine and eight cylinders.
For a car with a lot of power under the hood, there aren’t a lot of other “power” features on his car, such as power steering, power brakes or power windows. Nor does it have air conditioning or air bags. But that’s all worth it for the attention it gets and the speed it produces. Anderson notes it goes from 0 to 60 in five seconds.
“It sounds like a B29 Bomber Jet coming in for a landing on three engines because it’s really loud, which could be a good thing or a bad thing. It’s not like a Prius, which you can’t even tell when it’s on,” he pointed out.
Further, Anderson said he appreciates the lasting quality of old cars. “The classics have an enduring factor. It’s good to have cars that were made in America that last; that were made back when Detroit was Detroit, the car manufacturing center of America,” he said. “Plus it is a good car for investment purposes because they are so easy to work on, and they will appreciate in value every year versus cars that depreciate as soon as they drive off the lot.”
It helps that Anderson got a good deal on the car at the onset, when he purchased the car from a friend 40 years ago for $600.
“It was in fair condition, but I put a rebuilt engine in it, and have since replaced the engine once every 10 years. It keeps it rolling. The engine is known for being reliable, you just have to tune it up once every few years. I like that it does not have a single computer chip in it and is so simple that anyone can work on it.” In the event there is a repair Anderson cannot do, he takes it to local garages when simple repairs are needed, and Mustang-specific ones in San Diego’s East County when something more intensive is involved.
As his daily driver, he leaves it out on the street near his WindanSea home, so it has accrued some rust and minor dings. He has also taken the car on road trips all over San Diego, Texas and other areas of the United States and Canada. “Some of my fondest memories are road trips in that car. I grew up by the beach, but I love to visit the country, so this car has been on every back road, even dirt roads, across San Diego County and up the coast, and over to Texas. I like that I can just put my foot on the gas and get somewhere,” he said.
While on the road, Anderson said he gets stopped by fellow car enthusiasts and when he comes across car ads and memorabilia, he grabs them. “Someone flagged me down once while I was driving, he cried ‘pull over, pull over!’ He had an old advertisement that features the same year and color as my car. It’s meant to look like an article (and headlined ‘Should a Man in his 50s be allowed out in Mustang?’) and he said I just had to have it.”
The man behind the Mustang
Anderson said his La Jolla roots go back nearly 100 years. “My great grandfather was a senator from Minnesota and he would bring the family out here every summer and rent one of the cottages across from La Jolla Cove. This was back in the early 1900s,” he said, adding that he has a photo of his father as a baby with his grandfather and great-grandmother at The Cove. Having moved here after marriage, the Anderson family has been in La Jolla ever since. “I think I inherited my love for old cars and La Jolla from my dad, who was a car nut, and my grandpa Roscoe.”
Editor’s Note: In response to an invitation to classic car owners to share their vehicle love stories, more than a dozen car buffs contacted La Jolla Light to be interviewed about their prize possessions. In this series, we present their delightful roadster experiences.