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?

Red convertibles are among Linda's favorite, and so her direction turned out to be of little surprise. The bright hue is a custom Glasurit mix, and it's surely an attention getter no matter who's behind the wheel. Linda enjoys the power of the big-inch Windsor, but her '66 is more the cruiser of the two. The interior is more entertaining, what with the Alpine touchscreen and sound system, and the '67/'68 dash architecture is something we haven't seen in a '66 to our recollection. CAR's Mark Schwartz says the swap was straightforward to accomplish, and helps move the car further from its simpleton Falcon origins. Likewise helping the cause are heated and power-operated Recaro seats, a wood-rimmed Nardi steering wheel, and custom carpet and upholstery throughout.

It's almost a shame that one of the most noteworthy aspects of Linda's convertible, is that which is most difficult to see. The aft-mounted Edelbrock mufflers hint at it, but tucked neatly underneath the rear of the car is a completely custom rear suspension as fabbed by the guys at CAR. Whereas Len's fastback features a more traditional leaf sprung rear with Panhard bar, the convertible has a trick lever-style lay-down coilover setup, fully adjustable of course.

Linda's convertible was fresh out the doors of CAR when we shot it, while Len's fastback had already garnered several thousand miles down the road, aptly demonstrating that the stated reason for the builds hasn't been sidetracked. No, the Perhams are fully committed to slamming gears whenever the opportunity presents, and with good California weather, that should be often. Rest assured, the double takes are about to begin!

The Details
Len Perham's '65 Mustang fastback

Engine
Roush 427IR, 589 hp/561 lb-ft of torque
Dart block
4.125-inch bore
4.00-inch stroke
Forged steel crank, internally balanced
Forged steel H-beam connecting rods
Wiseco forged aluminum pistons
Aluminum cylinder heads, CNC ported, 205cc intake runner, 2.08-inch intake/1.60-inch exhaust valves
TWM throttle bodies
42-lb/hr injectors
Roush hydraulic roller camshaft
Accel dual-sync distributor
Accel GEN 7 DFI
10.25:1 compression ratio
Exhaust
Custom long-tube headers by Lemons Headers, 1¾-inch primary tubes
3-inch side exit exhaust
Bassani mufflers
Transmission
T56 six-speed manual
McLeod twin-disc clutch
B&M shifter
Rearend
Ford 9-inch
31-spline axles
3.70 Richmond gears
Torsen differential
Suspension
Front: Total Control Products coilover/rack-and-pinion
Rear: Custom leaf springs and Panhard bar, double-adjustable Alston Varishocks
Brakes
Front: Baer disc, six-piston monoblock calipers, 14-inch rotors
Rear: Baer disc, six-piston monoblock calipers, 14-inch rotors
Wheels
Front: Budnik GTB, forged aluminum, 17x8 inches
Rear: Budnik GTB, forged aluminum, 18x9.5 inches
Tires
Front: Goodyear Eagle F1, P265/40ZR17
Rear: Goodyear Eagle F1, P295/35ZR18
Interior
Custom interior by CAR; Stewart Warner gauges; ididit tilt column; Momo steering wheel; Recaro "Speed" seats; rollbar; Vintage Air; custom carpeting, console, door panels, headliner, and rear seat delete components
Exterior
Body and paint by CAR, Glasurit two-stage acrylic urethane, widened steel fenders, resized wheel openings, steel sidescoops, 3⁄16-inch body gaps, custom R-model front apron and rear bumper

The Details
Linda Perham's '66 Mustang convertible
Engine

Roush 427IR, 592 hp/563 lb-ft of torque
Dart block
4.125-inch bore
4.00-inch stroke
Forged steel crank, internally balanced
Forged steel H-beam connecting rods
Wiseco forged pistons
Aluminum cylinder heads, CNC ported, 205cc intake runner, 2.08-inch intake/1.60-inch exhaust valves
TWM throttle bodies
42-lb/hr injectors
Roush hydraulic roller
Accel dual-sync distributor
Accel GEN 7 DFI
10.25:1 compression ratio
Exhaust
Custom long-tube headers by Lemons Headers, 1¾-inch primary tubes
3-inch exhaust
Bassani mufflers
Transmission
T56 six-speed manual
McLeod twin-disc clutch
B&M shifter
Rearend
Ford 9-inch
31-spline axles
3.70 Richmond gears
Torsen differential
Suspension
Front: Total Control Products coilover/rack-and-pinion
Rear: CAR custom pushrod-style laydown coilover, double-adjustable Alston Varishocks
Brakes
Front: Baer disc, six-piston monoblock calipers, 14-inch rotors
Rear: Baer disc, six-piston monoblock calipers, 14-inch rotors
Wheels
Front: Budnik GTB, forged aluminum, 17x8 inches
Rear: Budnik GTB, forged aluminum, 18x9.5 inches
Tires
Front: Michelin PS2, P265/40ZR17
Rear: Michelin PS2, P295/35ZR18
Interior
Custom interior by CAR; '67-'68 dashboard; Auto Meter Cobalt gauges; Alpine touchscreen stereo/DVD; ididit tilt column; Nardi steering wheel; Recaro "Trend Topline" seats; Vintage Air components; custom carpeting, console, and door panels
Exterior
Body and paint by CAR, Glasurit two-stage acrylic urethane, widened steel fenders, resized wheel openings, 3⁄16-inch body gaps, custom R-model apron and rear bumper

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