Jim Smart
February 1, 2005

We will forever remember the '60s as the musclecar era. Despite the great strides made in Detroit in terms of power and even faster factory musclecars, nothing today matches the raw, brutal twist and shout of a carbureted big-block with a lumpy camshaft, mechanical lifters, and open headers.

Today's fuel-injected musclecars enable us to have it all-fuel efficiency with abundant power on demand. Yesterday's musclecars separate the men from today's fuel-injected, micro-chipped boy racers. Forty years ago, it was about raw power-cfms, displacement, and lobe centers. It was about huffing as much air and fuel through the chambers as possible. And it was about exhibiting your manhood with bore and stroke.

The most power Ford dared stuff into a '65 Mustang fastback was the 271-horse 289 High Performance V-8. But sometimes, a man's dream transcends what was available from Ford Motor Company. Veteran drag racers like Gas Ronda, Hubert Platt, and Don Nicholson understood that it took displacement to travel 1,320 feet in a single-digit number of seconds, choosing the FE-series 427 SOHC big-block to get the job done.

So has George Scarpenti of San Jose, California. He took a 289 2V fastback and penciled in a performance agenda all his own by shoehorning a stroked 475ci Cammer between the shock towers of his monster-mash Mustang fastback.

This is a ride that really twists and shouts, with a snarly bark that stuns the crowds to attention wherever it goes. Twin 780-cfm Holley carburetors provide the air/fuel mix. Big-tube headers scavenge the spent gasses. A C6 transmission enables George to aim and shoot. Drag-race 3.89:1 gears in a 9-inch Detroit Locker make it easier to get there quickly.

Underneath are coilover shocks in front, with heavy-duty leafs and traction bars in the rear. Braking is provided by Kelsey-Hayes four-piston front disc brakes and large 11x211/44-inch rear drum brakes-a predictable factory braking system that's more in line with what people were doing in 1965.

There's nothing fancy here, just the best the factory had to offer for street and strip. Inside, the interior goes largely with what was happening during the '60s, including a stock Palomino standard interior with factory bucket seats and a Falcon instrument panel, much as you might have expected to see 40 years ago. Outside is Diamonti Red Pearl paint, carefully applied by Gary Erickson and Brian Hubbers.

The end result is a rocking, rolling tribute to the '60s-an era of exciting factory muscle that will never be seen again.

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