The year 1966 is remembered by many as the pinnacle of Ford’s Total Performance Era. Jimmy Clark had just won the 1965 Indianapolis 500 in his Ford-powered Lotus 38, the first win ever at the Brickyard by a rear-engined car. And just over a year later, Ford won its first 24 Hours of Le Mans in the famous staged One-Two-Three finish.
In February 1966, jet airplane mechanic Don Revere Smith walked into Hayward Ford, the San Francisco Bay Area’s legendary Ford/Shelby performance dealership, to special-order a truly unique, full size muscle car. After talking with Roy Miller and Roy Boynton, two of the high-performance sales specialists at Hayward Ford, Don selected a Custom 500 two-door sedan in Nightmist Blue. But rather than ordering it with a 289, 352, or 390 V-8 and loading it up with power-robbing options, he chose the then-new 428ci FE V-8 and the heavy-duty C6 Cruise-O-Matic three-speed automatic transmission.
So began what would be a five-decades-long love affair with his fabulous Ford that only ended with Don’s passing in 2018 at the age of 97. The story of that 52-year journey comes from the car’s second and current owner, Peter Batagios.
“I met Don and the 428 about 18 years ago,” says Peter. “I was in a small parking lot with my wife Anne’s occasional track car, a rare 1997 Acura Type R. I was worried when I saw the 428 trundling in and aiming for the small spot next to me. Then I can hear that Ford. I looked over at the 428 badge and wondered, How did he get that in that car?
“He noticed that I noticed. He was smiling and said, ‘You know what it is?’
“I said I did, and before I could get a word out he said, ‘It’s not for sale!’
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Living Life ⅝ Mile At A Time
Images we develop in our minds during our youth can turn out to be the most vivid of our life, especially when they are captured in lustrous High Impact Technicolor.
Why Not T-Tops On A Mustang?
Why Not T-Tops On A Mustang?
Readers' Day-Two Rides
Skip Gaebe 1968 Camaro
Neglected No More
Boss 351 Back In Action
Their Indian Summer
Good Friends Bond Over This GTO
Nova Links A Family's Past, Present, And Future
Nova links a family’s past, present, and future
A Special-Order Q-Code Custom 500
Nova And Out!
One of the Final Offerings of the L79
Chevelles Travel Different, Yet Similar, Paths
Dad Raced This Savoy in the 1960s
THANK YOU FOR YOUR RESERVATION
Thank you for booking at The Bai-ley. You are confirmed for four people at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, January 20th. Before we welcome you to our restaurant, a few housekeeping items, to insure that your visit with us is exceptional—and to avoid misunderstandings.
"Welcome to the most extreme Ford GT ever built"
Though outwardly it looked broadly the same as the cars it succeeded, famously the Ford GT40 MKIV was a completely different animal underneath.
This fiery spirit is ready for its turn in the sun. As a general rule, tequilas produced with agave from the lowlands and valleys of Mexico are big and bold, with herbal, floral, citrus, and earthy aromatics and flavors, while tequilas from the mountainous highlands tend to be a bit softer, more delicate, and a little sweeter. There are three categories: Tequila blanco-also called silver tequila-is unaged; reposados are aged from two months to one year in oak barrels; and añejos are aged from one to four years. All three styles are exceptionally sippable either straight up or in an elegant cocktail such as a paloma. Salud!
A Critic at Large: the American Beast
Accounting for the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
ChatGPT is the dazzling, scary future of Al chatbots
This feels like what Google, Siri, and Alexa hope to be one day.
Klim Arsenal 15 Backpack
The Klim Nac Pak backpack was my trusty companion on every ride for years, including multi-month off-road journeys. And I would still be using it today if it wasn’t for the fact that my son “borrowed” it.
The Final Campaign
Inside Donald Trump's sad, lonely, thirsty, broken, basically pretend run for reelection. (Which isn't to say he can't win.)
2023 FORD F-150 RAPTOR R: Trucks of Fury
Highs: 700 horsepower, monster-truck presence, surprisingly graceful on-road manners. Lows: Not 703 horsepower, can't lock the rear diff in two-wheel drive, it costs how much?
White Noise Used to Be Satire
What was once mildly absurd is now funny because its true.
This fourdoor Ford foreshadowed late-model Broncos
Ddecades ahead of the '20 four-door Bronco, and even preceding the Ford Explorer and Excursion, came an SUV that could have passed for OEM and was built to answer the call for a three-row people-haulin' off-roader.