Jerry Heasley
December 22, 2014

In the world of great cars, purists like Jose Luis tend to park original cars on a pedestal. His ’65 has won the Mustang Club of America’s (MCA) coveted Platinum award, reserved for unrestored originals. “One of the best,” Bob Perkins, MCA head authenticity judge, says. “The car has the original belts, heater, and radiator hoses—and bypass hose. You can count on one hand how many ’65 convertibles still have those pieces intact, not N.O.S. replacements re-stamped, but the original originals that came on the car.” Restorers like Perkins tend to get passionate when they speak of unrestored, untouched classic Mustangs. There are good reasons why.

“For the guys trying to restore them, this is the kind of car you’ve got to look at to see what they are supposed to look like—what they did look like.” Perkins referred to intricacies such as blackout on the pinch welds and overspray patterns on the undercarriage. Such details benefit more than restorers. Only by looking at these details can a person learn how to become a really good show car judge. In contrast, judges cannot learn from restored cars due to issues of trust. No restorer can put a car back 100 percent just the way the factory assembled the vehicle on the line.

The C-code two-barrel 289 V-8 is just as original as the rest of the car. Sporting just 19,000 well-cared-for, enthusiast-owned miles, the details for other restorers to see and appreciate is unbelievable.
(Tires) We see a lot of original Mustangs but often their service parts (battery, shocks, tires) are replaced due to mileage or age. On Jose’s convertible these Power Cushion bias-ply tires are not reproductions, but the original factory assembly line installed tires that are now 50 years old!

Jose likes cars that have not been tampered with. That’s why this up-and-coming collector from the Dominican Republic bought this car from Perkins. Purchased new at Fuller Ford in Cincinnati, this ’65 has about the same odometer reading (19,000-odd miles) today as 1984. That’s when the second owners—Farrell and Brenda Buis—purchased the Phoenician Yellow 289-2V with automatic convertible. Perkins attributes the car’s incredible original condition to Farrell and Brenda “babying” the classic Mustang in heated storage for a quarter of a century. Of course, they took the car off the road, as well, to trailer their baby to car shows in MCA competition across the country. Only Farrell’s failing health led to the car’s sale to Perkins a few years ago.

Perkins appreciates this ’65 in ways so many enthusiasts do not comprehend. Perkins says most collectors walk right by unrestored models on their way to inspect a shinier Mustang at a show. These people do not realize just how cool an unrestored, less-shiny model is. Perkins sees two ends to the unrestored collector car spectrum. One end comprehends the patina of an original car, but cannot live with the imperfections of a 45- to 50-year-old Mustang where there is, for example, surface rust on the exhaust manifolds or the engine block. They have an itch to restore every imperfection to look brand new. The other end of the collector car spectrum is populated with enthusiasts who favor original paint and original parts. They appreciate and enjoy the patina of an unrestored car.

Same as Perkins, Jose fits into this end of the unrestored collector car spectrum. He considers this ’65 a real treasure and a great rarity to add to his Mustang collection. After over 19,000 miles, the original tires show cracks on the inside. Incredibly, the Goodyear Power Cushion’s, measuring 6.95x14, came on this car brand new. But, how cool are original tires on a 50-year-old car? The original spare in the trunk is perfect, and apparently never used. This tire appears as if made yesterday, down to the ink stamps easily visible on the sidewall.

You’re looking at the factory original interior as installed on the assembly line in late July 1965. Everything, from headliner to carpet and dash pad to package tray is original.
(Trunk) The convertible’s trunk holds more details for restorers to covet, including the original spare tire and trunk mat. Behold the original look of the luggage protection strip, well liner springs, decklid gasket, and more.

Perkins commented on one of the prettiest floorpans he has ever seen with no surface rust, but obviously with a patina showing age—more coolness. Perkins is blown away with the undercarriage. In addition to the most minimal surface rust, the painted parts appear as good as the top of the hood, a testament to how incredibly clean the underside of the car is. The trunk retains its original mat and all the sealers and drippings and sound deadeners. Perkins even commented on the originality of the glue “drips” from factory installation of the trunk weatherstripping. Now, that’s real appreciation for an unrestored classic.

Despite the mileage, Perkins could find aspects of this ’65 that couldn’t get any newer. The convertible top appears absolutely mint. Also, the interior appears new. Perkins says the vinyl bucket seats, carpet, door panels, dash, and headliner remain flawless—which he claims is not unusual for a 19,000-mile Mustang so well stored for so long. With all this originality and being complete, MCA Gold was easy stuff for this ’65 to attain. The killer award was winning the Mustang Club of America’s Platinum award. Overall, this ’65 fits into an unrestored Valhalla reserved for what Perkins calls a “handful of classic Mustangs that are super low-mileage, killer cars.”