Joe Greeves
March 1, 2009

The custom interior uses seats from a '00 Dodge Stratus, separated by a custom fiberglass center console of John's own design. The Colorado Custom wheel keeps him in close touch, while the Ford logo gauges in the No Limit panel keep track of underhood activity. With the motor switched off, music of another sort flows from the stereo, controlled by the Sony head unit and powered by the Alpine amp behind the center console. Polk Audio 6.5-inch component sets in the kick panels and 6x9s behind the seats fill the cab with sound.

Once the Effie was complete, there was another task at hand-building a car for Hunter, who was 14 and already an avid enthusiast. Hunter was eagerly anticipating his 16th birthday and his driver's license. After a lengthy search, the pair found a running '65 Mustang fastback in need of lots of TLC. The car had serious sheetmetal problems, and although the 289 V-8 had been worked on, there was evidence of some internal problems. While the engine was being overhauled at Hendrix Machine shop, the pair began to strip away the unsalvageable parts and order new replacements. Reasoning that it was better to start fresh than try to straighten old sheetmetal, they ordered new front fenders, a hood, and a deck lid. A Shelby valance perked up the front end, and they painted the rear bumper to match the body. A fiberglass scoop was molded to the steel hood and both sidescoops were molded to the body, continuing the smooth lines. To fill the wheelwells, they chose 17-inch rims from American Racing-Shelby 50th Anniversary Torque Thrusts-which measured 17 by 8 up front with P235/45R17 tires and 17 by 9 with P245/45R17s in the rear.

Lots of changes occurred underneath, transforming the "Over Forty" car and making it ready for the new millennium. Tubular upper and lower control arms from TCI did away with the original setup. The installation of a chrome export brace and a {{{Monte Carlo}}} bar tightened up the front end. TCI power rack-and-pinion steering and Wilwood disc brakes eliminated any problems with the car's handling.

After lots of father/son discussions, the pair agreed that Viper Red paint with Viper Silver stripes was the perfect choice. After John and Hunter did the prep, Keith Beaucher handled the spray gun chores once again, laying down multiple coats of clear for that foot-deep shine. Inside, Hunter upgraded the stock seats with six-way power versions from a late-model Mustang, coupled with G-Force Racing four-point harnesses. A new steering column from ididit was paired with an original wood-rimmed Mustang wheel while new-old-stock dash and door panels rejuvenated the originals. The large Auto Meter gauge in the center combines the speedometer with the tachometer. Four more individual gauges monitor the rest of the engine data.

You can't have a cool car without a hot stereo, so Hunter chose to eliminate the back seat in favor of an elaborate sound system. A pair of Diamond Audio 10-inch subs was installed in a custom sub enclosure, along with the Diamond 600 amp powering the subs and a Diamond 500 for the front stage. Diamond 61/2-inch component sets were located in the kick panels and rear package tray. Everything is controlled by the Kenwood head unit.

The final step was the engine. They began by detailing the engine compartment, painting the inner fenders and firewall matte black. The freshly overhauled 289 engine, bored 0.30 over, now runs a turned and polished crank, stock compression pistons, Mahle bearings, a Melling oil pump, and a Demos cam. An Edelbrock Performer manifold and Holley 670-cfm Street Avenger carburetor ensures free breathing, while Sanderson ceramic-coated headers feed a 21/2-inch stainless steel exhaust with MagnaFlow mufflers. Power is transmitted to the rear wheels through the C4 automatic transmission equipped with a Younger shift kit and built by Woody's Transmission in Statesboro, Georgia. John estimates the motor produces somewhere close to 400 hp. Not only fast, but also good-looking, the V-8 features polished Ford Racing valve covers, a Ford Racing low-profile air cleaner, one wire chrome alternator, and a set of March pulleys, all designed to add a little sparkle under the hood. Electrical power for the car and stereo is supplied by a pair of Optima Red Top batteries. There's no air conditioning yet, but Hunter says the windows do roll down.

Hunter was actively involved in the restoration and is patiently waiting for his 16th birthday so that he can begin driving the car. (His birthday was a month away when we shot these photos.) The restoration process took about two years, and it was a great father-son experience. Future plans for the Mustang include a set of Summit Racing seats, chosen for their low seating position since young Hunter, in the sport since he was 7, is now 6 feet, 1 inch tall.