Consider the humble battery tray. It’s main function is simple, but important—keep your battery in place. Few things do more damage in an engine compartment than a runaway battery.

Most trays are stamped metal or formed plastic that is invariably black in color. Nothing wrong with that, but if you want to add a flash of style under the hood there are some really good-looking battery trays worth considering. Take this Scott Drake battery tray for 1964.5 to 1966 Mustangs. It’s made from billet aluminum that looks good and won’t rust. If you’re handy you can probably adapt the tray to fit other classic muscle cars and trucks.

We documented the installation of the Scott Drake battery tray in the Dark Ivy Green 1965 Mustang convertible built by Paul Gammerino at Mustangs & Fast Fords OC in Southern California. Installation is easy and can be done in about one hour.

While you’re installing your new battery tray, take the time to inspect stuff like the battery and alternator cables, starter solenoid, and alternator belt. You might even consider an alternator upgrade while you’re at it.

Scott Drake Billet Aluminum Battery Tray for 1965-66 Mustang
Why opt for a boring stamped steel factory battery tray when you can have this fancy billet aluminum Scott Drake tray? It accepts Group 24 size batteries, won’t rust like steel, and adds some polish under the hood of any 1964.5 to 1966 Mustang. Installation takes about an hour. (Image/Jim Smart)
Removing Battery Tray on 1966 Mustang
Disconnect the battery cables, unbolt the hold-down, and remove the battery. The 1/2-inch battery tray fasteners are accessed from the top and underneath, just above the right-hand bumper bracket. If the tray is rusty, soak the bolts with WD-40 or other penetrating lubricant to reduce the risk of bolt breakage during removal. (Image/Jim Smart)
Removing Bumper Bracket on 1966 Mustang
The bumper bracket will need to be disconnected to access the battery tray support bolts located at the bottom of the fender apron. (Image/Jim Smart)
Removed Inner Fender Apron on 1966 Mustang
Here’s the right-hand inner fender apron with the battery tray removed. Now is the time to care of any corrosion or rot caused by rust or battery acid. (Image/Jim Smart)
Installing Support on Scott Drake Battery Tray
The Scott Drake battery tray consists of two pieces—the billet pan and a stamped aluminum support that connects to the inner fender apron down below. The support bolts to the pan as shown with the included hardware. (Image/Jim Smart)
Installing Scott Drake Battery Tray in 1966 Mustang
The countersunk Allen head bolts are seated as shown and secured with locknuts from underneath. The tray is designed to fit several applications so there will be some empty bolt holes. (Image/Jim Smart)
Installing Side Post on Scott Drake Battery Tray
The side posts are threaded onto Allen screws fitted to the tray. Just install the inner post for now. That will make it easier to lower the battery into place. (Image/Jim Smart)
Installing Hold-Down for Scott Drake Battery Tray
Now you can install the outer side post and the battery hold-down. (Image/Jim Smart)
Battery Cables and Disconnect Switch on 1966 Mustang Battery
Paul installed new battery cables and a quick disconnect switch on the negative post of the battery. This allows you to disconnect the negative ground when the car is not in use, eliminating the risk of fire. (Image/Jim Smart)
Dayco High-Performance Accessory Drive V-Belt
Don’t forget to check charging system wear components. For example, a slipping alternator belt can cause a dead battery. Opt for a heavy-duty drive belt with good traction like this Dayco High-Performance V-belt. The raw edge sidewall construction allows controlled slippage around pulleys, and the cogged design delivers more flexibility and increased airflow so the belt runs cooler and lasts longer. (Image/Summit Racing)
CA Battery Cable Kit for Mustang
Fresh battery cables mean better conductivity and charging. If your Mustang has a small-block engine, get for the big-block cables that can handle high amperage loads. If you want something more factory-correct, this CA Battery cable kit has FoMoCo script just like the cable Ford originally installed. (Image/Summit Racing)
CA Battery Alternator Harness for Mustang
How’s your alternator harness? If it’s the original, replace it with a new one like this CA Battery harness and sleep better at night. (Image/Summit Racing)
Standard Motor Products Ford Starter Solenoid
External starter solenoids on Fords and some Chrysler applications are notorious for ‘sticking’ and allowing the starter to keep cranking. Replace the solenoid whenever you replace the battery. The key here is to snug the terminals and not overtighten them, which can lead to sticking. (Image/Summit Racing)
Scott Drake Ground Strap for Mustang
It is remarkable how many times we see ignition and charging system issues because the engine is not grounded. Make sure you have an engine-to-firewall ground strap to ensure solid grounding. Remember, the engine mounts insulate the engine from the chassis ground. The ground strap connects the engine to the chassis. (Image/Summit Racing)
Summit Racing One-Wire Alternator for Ford
The factory alternator for first-gen Mustangs were rated from 42 to 45 amps depending on the model year. If you’ve added accessories like electric fans, upgraded audio systems, A/C, that alternator will struggle to keep up. A modern alternator like this Summit Racing unit is a sensible upgrade. Rated at 140 amps, the alternator is internally regulated and has a simple one-wire hookup. Yes, it has a GM 10SI-style case, but is designed to fit Ford applications. (Image/Summit Racing)
Powermaster Ford 3G Alternator
If you need even more amperage, this 200-amp, this Powermaster 3G alternator can provide it. Since it has a Ford 3G case, making it a perfect drop-in for vintage Mustangs. Powermaster even includes a V-belt and a six-rib serpentine pulley—just pop on the one that fits your accessory drive. (Image/Summit Racing)
Author: Jim Smart

Jim Smart is a veteran automotive journalist, technical editor, and historian with hundreds of how-to and feature articles to his credit. Jim's also an enthusiast, and has owned and restored many classic vehicles, including an impressive mix of vintage Ford Mustangs.