Huw Evans
February 1, 2009
Photos By: Luke Munnell

By this stage, Matt was already two months behind his planned completion date as the Dazey edged toward body and paint. It was at this time that he was offered a package deal to buy two non-running SVOs. "I fixed one up and sold it," he says, "and was about to do the same with the other when I met Mark of Mark's Body and Paint in Jupiter. I ended up trading [that] other SVO to him in return for him doing the paint on my car." Matt did some mild bodywork and then brought the '84 over to the paint shop, where Mark's sons helped him block-sand the car. "The actual paint finish, two-tone gray, came to me one night when I was just sitting in the garage looking at the car," Matt says. "You'll notice it has a red pinstripe separating the two colors. I put the stripe on one side, let it sit for a couple of days and then did the other." Most of the other exterior parts came from the SVO parts cars he purchased, since repro and N.O.S. items are tough to find. The fact that they look brand new, including the headlights, which he "sanded and buffed for hours," along with the front fascia, side spats, moldings and rear spoiler, is testament to Matt's passion and dedication, though modestly he admits, "Matt Highley at {{{Fox}}} Restoration was a big part in making the car look as good as it does."

The interior was re-dyed to get that factory-fresh look (the dashpad is the original, by the way). Replacement door panels (with holes already cut in them for speakers) were scrounged. "I didn't want to cut up an original panel," says Matt. The front seats were actually constructed from three different sets. "The foam is obsolete-the best you can do is find good-quality used stuff; the same goes for the upholstery," he says. New carpet went in and Matt scored a used head unit and speakers for the stereo system.

Gremlins-Shades Of '84
But his biggest obstacle perhaps was the car's wiring. "I upgraded the engine to '86 specs with 35 lb/hr injectors and an adjustable cam gear among other things, but once the car was back on the road, I found it to be finicky," Matt says. Electrical gremlins, which were traced to the wiring harness, manifested themselves. "Apparently, '84 Mustangs are known for the insulation to flake off the wiring, causing shorts," Matt adds. After pulling out the entire harness and rebuilding it, he traced the problem to the back part of the harness mounted on the firewall. Sourcing connectors from a junkyard and rewrapping everything, Matt installed the harness. "The car has run flawlessly ever since," he claims. With some '05 Mustang 17x8 Bullitt wheels and Nitto NT555 rubber, Dazey was ready to roll. "The car was pressed into service, and I took her on a 1,200-mile round-trip to Birmingham, Alabama, for the 35th Anniversary Mustang Club of America show, with the air blowing ice cold, [the stereo] pumping the tunes, and [the car] averaging 26 miles per gallon on the highway."

The SVO turned out so nice that Matt decided to spare it from daily driven drudgery, pressing in his '93 SSP coupe for that task instead and reserving Dazey for shows. An added bonus was getting the car featured in Fox Mustang Restoration's ads (and now this magazine). However, yet another project came along. As he busied himself with that, the urge to drive Dazey on a regular basis got the better of our Matt, so that's exactly what he did for the next two years-driving 400 miles a week and then spending hours cleaning the undercarriage for show duty.

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