Flashback: Janet Hough’s Blaze Yellow 1966 Mustang

Here's the original feature on Janet Hough's 1966 Mustang from the June 1986 issue of SM

Photographers: Rob Little

It all started 13 years ago. Janet Hough was a 22 year old who “liked cars with nice paint and shiny wheels’. And Fords. An XR Fairmont caught her eye — and there was no turning back. But before she could take the car home to her parents, Janet hid it at a friend’s place. The beast was resprayed black, touched with splashes of chrome and lumbered with a vinyl roof.

Unfortunately, Janet’s debut street machine was written off some time later, and an XT Fairmont took its place. This was duly given a good work over by Bucket Panels, with help from Janet. But five years ago, Janet’s tastes changed. Enter this fantastic ’66 Mustang fastback.

First published in the June 1986 issue of Street Machine

“I loved the Mustang’s bodylines, they’re what attracted me to this car,” says Janet. “Also, it’s more prestigious than a Fairmont.” But this one wasn’t when the cash was handed over. Matter of fact, it was damned rough. An army bloke in South Australia had given the ‘Stang plenty of double time action at the drags. The body was torque stressed and the interior shot. Gl Joe knew it was time to get out and he gladly grabbed Janet’s $3500.

And the lady fell in love. Not with the ‘Stang she had, but with the classic she knew could be created. Victor Roley, at Bucket Panels, hi-jacked the car and took it straight into the workshop. It was stripped to the bone. Naked. The shell was turned on its side and left to rest on a mattress while Victor sandblasted the undercarriage in his spare time.

And then disaster struck. A fire started at the workshop, gutted the Mustang’s interior and left Janet feeling pretty despondent. Victor wasn’t in the best mood either. It took a while before he worked up the enthusiasm to start again — back at square one.

Out came the sandblaster once more, and the underside was soon clean as a whistle. Work was starting to move nicely – then the second thunderbolt hit. Thieves. They broke into the workshop and flogged $12,000 worth of parts and equipment. Some of the bits were intended for Janet’s ‘Stang. She was lucky — Victor’s car was stripped and so was a customer’s. It knocked the wind out of Bucket Panels’ sails for a w While — but not long enough to stop the company and Janet’s car = recovering. Work slowed. In fact, 8 most of the hard yakka was done in the last 12 months.

Victor had a mountain of work to do on the body. The Khaki kid had bolted on a set of tacky flares that didn’t suit the car’s shape. These were removed, two new front guards bolted on, and the whole body refurbished. Janet wanted a clean original shape — and that’s what she got. The ‘Stang was then sprayed by Bucket Panels’ John Barnett in Blaze Yellow baked Acran. This colour was chosen after much deliberation — and persuasion from Victor. Janet wanted a clean original shape — and that’s what she got.

The ‘Stang was then sprayed by Bucket Panels’ John Barnett in Blaze Yellow baked Acran. This colour was chosen after much deliberation — and persuasian from Victor. Janet wanted black — but she’s happy with the results. Except for one side effect — it attracts bees and wasps like it’s going out of fashion. It also happens to pull a crowd wherever it goes …

The Authentic Leather Company at Moorabbin, Melbourne, reworked the innards. With some help from Boss Auto Parts, they returned the cabin to pristine condition. The seats were redone in black leather and the upholstery colour matched. The feel and appearance inside this car is something else. It reinforces the notion of no-expense-spared workmanship. Standard instruments were retained, but a Jensen stereo was a must for Al ear-bashing.

Then the suspension and mechanical work started — ten weeks before the Street Machine Magazine Nationals. Janet isn’t a hoon. She has raced — and embarrassed quite a few fellas with her consistent handicap performances — but that’s where her high horsepower appetite ended. “I wanted something I could drive nice and slow, so everyone could see it,” she declares. “I reckon it’s such a nice car and should get heaps of attention. But I also wanted grunt.”

This posed a problem for Victor. He’s a red-blooded street machiner. While Chevs are his bag, even Victor could see the ‘Stang’’s potential.

A compromise was struck. The yellow streak would be gentle as a lamb around town . .. and give the arms a good tug away from the lights. But it wouldn’t rip Janet’s biceps from her shoulders.

Suspension and brakes were the first performance areas fo come under the spotlight. Pedders springs and shocks were installed front and rear. Janet reports the ride and handling is spot-on in all conditions. The brakes were uprated with the inclusion of XY GT Falcon discs up front. Stock rear drums were retained. This combination provides a nicely balanced and very effective stopping power package. And Janet got her nice, shiny wheels. Center Lines to be exact — 5.5 inches wide up front and 8.5 inches on the rear.

Front Michelin 175/SR15s and255/60/40 T/A Radials hold the deck.

And then came the engine work. Victor wanted the donk and bay to be the highlight. The Mustang’s 289 was mildly worked — but everything was done properly and with appearance in mind. A couple of 600 Holleys were mated with a Weiand tunnel ram. A Sig Erson cam, BRC roller rockers and TRW pushrods, lifters, valves and valve springs followed.

TRW also looked after pistons and rings, while stock Mustang rods and crank handled the bottom end. Janet and Victor spent a heap on hiding the wiring, courtesy of Brimson Auto Electrical. You’d be hard pressed to find any electricals – let alone an untidy example!

Mallory provided the ignition system, while Moroso valve covers and plenty of Earl’s best stuff finished the scene brilliantly. The engine bay on the Mustang is an absolute treat. Anyone wanting a guide to a neat and practical donk department need look no further. An FMX with hi-stall converter and B&M Star Shifter took care of the tranny work, while an eight-inch “Stang rear end with 3.55 gears continued the motion.

Yes, the mechanicals are a well-thought-out mixture of stock and aftermarket pieces. And Janet reckons it’s nearly reached the compromise she wanted. ‘There’s not enough power down low, it’s all up top,” she says. “Victor will have to fiddle around with it and get that right.”

Like most Nats entrants, Janet and Victor went through the mad panic syndrome leading up to judging. But their work was rewarded — the ‘Stang took out Top Coupe and Top Ford. That second award was provided by Ford Australia, which is showing signs of possible future street machine involvement. But it wasn’t the first time Ford and Ms Hough had been in contact.

As a manager for Tupperware, Janet was involved in a competition, first prize being the 1.5 millionth Ford produced in Oz. And guess who won. Janet accepted the prize and sold it for a deposit on a house. Tupperware already provided a company car, and running three cars was a bit over the top.

So it was laughs all round when Ford handed over another present to its now-famous fan. And she’s quite a lady. Being a mother doesn’t stop her from racing Honda Odysseys, drag racing, or enjoying plenty of cruise sessions with her other baby. Funny thing is, she was the only daughter in her family — and her two brothers aren’t at all interested in cars! Just goes to show street machining’s a non-sexist sport.

And the good news is, Janet still owns her Mustang all these years later! Check out our feature on the updated car in the August 2023 issue of SM.