Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
December 1, 2009
Photos By: James Pickett

The '65 Mustang you see on these pages has certainly come a long way. While it didn't hap-pen overnight (in reality it was more than five years), Rick Lane's idea to build a drag car with some street manners he could enjoy at the local dragstrip started with a solid plan. The '65 had been sitting forlornly under a carport behind a friend of a friend's mother's house for almost 20 years. Time and the elements weren't kind to the little coupe, but that didn't matter to Rick, who hails from Mt. Airy, Maryland. He was building a drag car, remember? Sure, it'd have some minor creature comforts, but his main plan was to attack the nearby 75-80 Dragway with a stout performance package in a light classic Mus-tang. Rick has owned nearly a half-dozen Fox Mustangs over the years and knew that they were great performance machines. For this specific car, he wanted to do the same but in a classic Mustang body.

Rick should have known his coupe project was going to have its share of problems when he couldn't even get it out of the owner's driveway. A second, larger tow truck had to be called in to pull out the roll back that Rick had hired to transport the car. He found out, first hand, that soft dirt and a lot of weight is not great for traction. Nevertheless, Rick finally got his new purchase back to his home shop where he and his close friends Brandon, Butch, Choya, and Omar dug into the project with a fervor. They began by stripping the car to a bare shell for the installation on a rotisserie for all of the planned chassis modifications required of a drag car. With chassis work progressing, including a ladder bar rear suspension, seam welding, and a custom rollcage by HFR Fabrications being installed, Rick got word that the 75-80 Dragway was closing its doors. After a year's worth of work on the rotisserie, Rick's plan was all of a sudden heading down a dead-end path. What to do?

Rick took a hard look at the project and realized that he could enjoy the car more with his family if he turned it into a show car that was wild enough to catch the public's eye, yet still sane enough to drive the whole family down to the local ice cream stand for a couple of sundaes on a Saturday night. Thus, a new plan was devised-one that could utilize the work already done to the car-sort of a junior pro-touring effort if you will. With the chassis still on the rotisserie, Rick started on the show-car upgrades, including shaving the door handles, drip rails, and cowl opening. All this extra work added even more time to the already lengthy build process. "What seemed like an eternity, are now just vague memories," Rick says. "Thankfully, we have pictures throughout the build process to minimize the desire to do this again. Who am I kidding?" Certainly not us, Rick.

Once the metal work was done to the chassis, which later included a Rod & Custom Motorsports Mustang II frontend conversion and a few select fiberglass parts, the entire vehicle was sprayed Lexus Spectra Blue over Volvo Silver using high-quality Sikkens materials by Givens Collision in Frederick, Maryland. The racy rear suspension, a 9-inch rear stuffed with 4.11 gears and 35-spline axles stayed, and Rick set up the car with Budnik wheels wrapped with Nitto rubber at all four corners. The massive rear 17x12 rims took careful measuring and sheetmetal modifications to the wheelhouses and rear framerails. Coilovers at all four corners allow infinite ride height adjustments at the turn of a spanner wrench and 12-inch discs all around help whoa the go.