As we settled into the passenger seat of Bernd Fittkau’s 1965 Mustang, we asked him what he liked about American cars. In understandable English, but with a thick German accent, he said, “I like the sound. You can hear it. You can feel it,” and then he sunk his right foot into the pedal and off we were, on a drive around Lubbock, Texas, while attending the big Mustang Roundup show.
Bernd is stationed with the German Air Force at the flying training center at Holloman Air Force Base outside of Alamogordo, New Mexico. While he was in the States, Bernd couldn’t wait to go hunting for his dream car, an early Mustang. Friends back home suggested an inline-six, but Bernd said, “No way, if I buy a Mustang it has to be a V-8.”
We wondered how a young man in Germany could be so smitten with an early Mustang, having been raised around Porsches, BMWs, and Mercedes. We asked if there were very many Mustangs in Germany, to which Bernd replied, “Actually no, but Germans like them, apparently, because prices are very high, especially for the first years, like the 1964½ and the 1965 Mustang. I would pay for this kind of car at least 30,000 Euros, which is about $35,000.”
Back at the show and parked in his space, Bernd got out and showed us an album with photos from the day he bought the car all the way through the restoration. “I took it apart to bare metal,” he said. “I had every single screw in these two hands, then I put it back together and here we are today.” As excited as Bernd was to show his Mustang, he seemed to look forward even more to getting his car home to drive. “I bought her here, I got her here, and I will take my baby back home. The weather in Germany isn’t perfect for old cars, but as soon as the sun comes out I will hit the road.”
Bernd sits in his favorite seat, behind the wheel of his 1965 Mustang he built on his own. He said, “I had every single screw in these two hands.”
The 289 looks 100 percent stock, but Bernd upgraded the original two-barrel Autolite to an Edelbrock four-barrel.
Bernd added a Rally-Pac, but what really stands out is the speedometer, which goes to 200. That’s because it is measured in kilometers—200 km is about 124 mph. Bernd also changed the high beam control light from red to blue, per German requirements.
Bernd said, “The weather in Germany isn’t perfect for old cars, but as soon as the sun comes out I will just hit the road.”
Bernd made up a photo album full of prints and notes to show friends the work he did restoring “Ivy,” his classic dream Mustang.
Bernd bought the coupe for $6,500 in Alamogordo, New Mexico, from a lady who was getting divorced. We wonder if some poor guy lost his Mustang in the divorce.
Inside, Bernd found black vinyl bucket seats and an AM radio.
Under the hood, Bernd found a C-code, 289 2V V-8 and power steering.
After driving the Mustang for three months, Bernd said, “I decided to tear her apart completely, in order to rebuild her to her original state.”
Bernd sent the metal off to Desert Sands Stripping in Alamogordo, New Mexico, not far from his base. Media blasting exposed a little bit of rust and a few small dents.
Each rear quarter-panel had a spot of rust, so Bernd welded in patch panels to fix them and then fixed dents with soldered tin.
Bernd farmed out the bodywork and painting. Now he had a great canvas, in stock Ivy Green, on which to build his dream classic Mustang.
Bernd found and saved historic pieces of the interior, such as this date from a seat that revealed more history about the Mustang.
Bernd bought new carpet and a dash pad, but the seats were still in good condition, so he kept them original.
The original 289 had been over-bored too far to rebuild, so Bernd bought a rebuilt 289 of the same compression ratio and build as the original C-code. He modified it with an Edelbrock carburetor, and used Flowmaster mufflers for better exhaust flow.
Bernd got a great deal of satisfaction assembling the car to factory specifications, including the brakes.