Eric English
September 9, 2013

We first stumbled across Len Perham's killer '65 fastback at a national SAAC event and immediately knew it was a car our readers would appreciate seeing in up-close detail. As we'll reveal, it's a tour de force in terms of performance credentials, perhaps topped only by their incredibly detailed construction. When we inquired about photographing the car and were told that a stable mate was being constructed for Len's wife, Linda, well, it was clear that we had a pair of cars that were meant to be presented in tandem.

The genesis of this duo is born from an enviable collection of classics that the Perhams have assembled over the years. Truly rare muscle is the common thread, but along with that comes justified concern about the cars' safety on public roads. Since most of the collection has been deemed irreplaceable, the majority has been relegated to a life of static display. That might be OK for pure collectors of fine automobiles, but the Perhams are devoted vintage car enthusiasts who have found that just staring at beautiful sheetmetal doesn't cut it. As such, Len wanted an over-the-top car he could drive whenever and wherever he felt the urge—and one that wasn't a cookie cutter wannabe he might see in passing on the car-crazed streets of Silicon Valley. Recognizing he had neither the time nor the inclination required to build such a machine, Len turned to Campbell Auto Restoration (CAR), whose track record for turning out finely crafted street machines is well known.

Working with the Campbell crew, Len implemented a build plan for the '65 fastback like no other. Midway through the build, Linda was so enamored by the progress, the decision was made to launch a similarly inspired convertible that she would direct and call her own. Much of the inspiration was shared, and thus duplicated between the two cars. However, certain elements are distinctly individual. Here's how these fine first-gen Mustangs break down.

Both Mustangs put down similar numbers on the chassis dyno—call it 590 horsepower and 560 lb-ft of torque in round numbers

Common Threads

Not surprisingly, both cars began life as pedestrian, if not forlorn, '65 and '66 Mustangs. Since both were destined to be picked to the bone and then rebuilt to full glory, there was no reason to start with anything rare or restored. To be sure, the cost of these custom crafted Pony cars is no small consequence, and yet in the end, if either were damaged or destroyed, an equally desirable facsimile could be constructed again. That's the kind of solace that gives the Perhams license to enjoy.

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Plenty of that enjoyment stems from the virtually identical powertrains, made up of tough-to-beat Roush 427-cubic-inch small-blocks topped with stack fuel injection, and backed by T56 six-speeds and bulletproof 9-inch rearends. CAR has worked with many sources over the years, so we think the choice of Roush-built engines speaks volumes about their reliability and power production. Based on Dart iron blocks, the IR 427s are chock-full of good stuff, including forged reciprocating assemblies featuring a 4.00-inch stroke, free flowing aluminum heads, and a Roush-spec hydraulic roller cam. Fed by TWM throttle bodies, 42-pound injectors, and controlled by Accel Gen 7 DFI, both Mustangs put down similar numbers on the chassis dyno—call it 590 horsepower and 560 lb-ft of torque in round numbers.

Likewise, the front suspension, brake, and wheel packages are similar. Total Control Products was the source for the front coilovers, control arms, and rack-and-pinion, while Baer six-piston monoblock calipers and pie-plate-sized rotors at all corners slough off speed with ease. While the finishes differ, forged Budnik GTB wheels are common to both fastback and convertible.

You'll notice that both Len and Linda's Mustangs have been treated to significant body mods—the front fenders widened by 2.5 inches and the rear by 4.5 inches. All of the work was done in steel, including the sidescoops on the fastback, and greatly ease the fitment of the large rolling stock. Less evident from a distance, but likely even more impressive, are the tight body seams throughout. Fitment of the valances and bumpers are nothing short of precise, in fact CAR had to build its own R-model front apron and rear bumper to achieve the desired results. The fallout of that endeavor is that by the time you read this, it'll be possible to purchase these same products direct from CAR, so raise your standards and get to work!

Parting Ways

While Linda would follow Len's lead to a great extent, she found plenty of opportunities to chart her own course. The areas where the two cars diverged can essentially be boiled down to body style, color, interior, and rear suspension. Len's fastback is clearly the racier of the two; the closed body style, full instrumentation, and absent sound system push all the right buttons for somebody intent on wringing out a Roush 427 for all its worth. If the paint scheme seems strangely familiar, that's because the Bud Moore Trans-Am Boss 302s of 1969 were the inspiration. Different body style, but same great execution—did we mention the inspiration came right from a Bud Moore Boss in the Perham's collection?