This 1966 Ford Mustang Is Called The 'Z-Tang' And It's Weirder Than It Looks

On first glance, it looks like the most generic Ford Mustang ever: a 1966 Coupe, probably with the 289 V8 and C4 three-speed automatic. But actually, this machine, for sale on Facebook Marketplace, is much, much stranger. That’s because the “Z-Tang,” as its seller calls it, had its guts traded for those of a Datsun. And trust me, the swap is more extensive than you’re probably imagining.

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I’m convinced that this swap must have been done in the 1980s, when the Datsun 280ZX was actually new and cool, because today, this custom Mustang’s donor car just seems a bit random. That’s no disrespect to the lovely 280ZX, but I don’t really get it. (The photo below from the posting appears rather old, so I bet this custom coupe was indeed thrown together decades ago).

Illustration for article titled This 1966 Ford Mustang Is Called The Z-Tang And Its Weirder Than It Looks
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Here’s how the seller describes the black pony:

Unique custom show car with a lot of potential to be restored. Rust on the body & inside by the back seat area. With Nissan Datsun 280zx 1983; engine, brakes, suspensions, transmission, interior, A/C & electronic doors. Car currently runs & stops but it will need to be towed because the windshields are not attached to the car.

The seller is asking six grand for the “Z-Tang,” which really doesn’t seem too bad depending upon the extent of the rust. From the outside, it still looks like a Mustang, except now it’s got slightly more modern powertrain and suspension tech, so that seems nice.

Still, the inline-six in the 280ZX only made 150-ish horsepower, and was mated to a three-speed automatic, so there really doesn’t seem to be a huge powertrain advantage over stock. Even the interior, which—remarkably—appears to have been almost entirely swapped over from the 280ZX (whoever built this even swapped the dash over!) isn’t exactly a huge improvement over the pony’s factory 1960s innards in my opinion:

Illustration for article titled This 1966 Ford Mustang Is Called The Z-Tang And Its Weirder Than It Looks
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I think the major advantages, really, are fuel injection and—assuming the builder really did use a 280ZX’s suspension—an independent rear suspension layout.

Illustration for article titled This 1966 Ford Mustang Is Called The Z-Tang And Its Weirder Than It Looks
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I bet in the 1980s, this seemed like a major upgrade, though now, 40 years later, the leap between 1960s and 1980s tech seems pretty minuscule, and honestly, I’d probably be just as happy or happier with a stock Ford Mustang 289 V8.

Still, someone swapped over the entire interior! It’s hard for me not to respect what must have been a grueling wrenching ordeal.

Sr. Technical Editor, Jalopnik. Always interested in hearing from auto engineers—email me. Cars: Willys CJ-2A ('48), Jeep J10 ('85), Jeep Cherokee ('79, '91, '92, '00), Jeep Grand Cherokee 5spd ('94).

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