Mark Houlahan
Brand Manager, 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.

While the outside looks great (two-tone paint schemes look sweet on the classics in our opinion), the interior and under-hood hold even more surprises and garner their own share of trophy goodness as well. Raising the fiberglass hood reveals a fender-to-fender filling of modern Blue Oval power in the name of an '04 Mustang Cobra 32-valve 4.6L "Terminator" engine. Currently, the major spinning parts inside are all stock (not a bad thing when the Terminator came with beefy Manley rods and a steel crank), but the Cobra spec F1 ProCharger conversion kit amps up the power quite nicely. It doesn't hurt that it looks good doing it either. ELD Performance in Millersville, Maryland, was responsible for the sano-clean engine build, detailing, and installation, including the DFI fuel management. Exhaust is a combination of stock manifolds, Borla mufflers, and stainless tubing. Backing the engine is a Brand X Turbo 350 three-speed auto with a 4,000 rpm stall converter (more ex-race car stuff) with a Gear Vendors overdrive unit to split the gear ratios for better fuel economy.

Inside, the Mustang is mostly show car with a little bit of race car planning left over. The interior is a mix of gray leather and suede on just about every surface-from the seats and door panels to the custom suede headliner. Bowtie Auto Trim in Mt. Airy, handled the interior upgrades, custom panels in the trunk, and recovering the Flofit seats to match. Other interior niceties include a Clarion audio system with two amps (one for the sub and the other for the main speaker setup) installed by Wolf Mobile, five-point harnesses in all four seating positions, custom center console, and a smoothed and painted dash (no dash pad, like the early Falcons). A Budnik steering wheel is connected to a Flaming River column and manual steering rack for when it comes time for Rick to turn corners.

Since the car has been completed and on the road for about two years now Rick has been enjoying taking the family out for ice cream and hitting the local show/cruise circuit. He's trailered the car to the farther events, such as the Carlisle All-Ford Nats where we've seen him the last two years polishing the car incessantly. Oh, and since life is always filled with irony we'd be remiss in stating that the 75-80 Dragway, after being closed for five years (most of Rick's project time frame), reopened to the public with a refurbished facility and lots of upgrades this past April.

On a whim one Friday night, Rick and his father visited the track. "My dad had not been to the track in nearly 40 years and I hadn't been in nearly six. Needless to say, we had a lot of fun that evening. The outcome would have been better if we could have gotten some wrinkle out of those 315/35 series tires, but then again, you're not breaking anything when your spinning." For the record, Rick's coupe ran an 11.50 at 121 mph with a 2.10 60-foot time.

Like most project cars, Rick's Mustang made a lot of memories for his friends and family, but he's gotten used to the 500-plus horsepower and is looking forward to upgrading the heads and cams as a winter project in the quest for more power with the support of his wife and kids throughout the whole project; and that's far from a drag if you ask us.

The Details
Rick Lane's '65 Mustang coupe
Engine
'04 Cobra 4.6L 32-valve modular
3.552-inch bore
3.543-inch stroke
Manley H-beam rods
Steel crank
Forged pistons
ProCharger F1 supercharger
88-lb/hr injectors
Air-to-air intercooler
Custom aluminum radiator
DFI engine management
Aeromotive pump, filters, and lines

Transmission
Turbo 350 three-speed automatic
Gear Vendors overdrive unit
4,000 rpm stall speed converter
B&M Magnum Grip Pro Stick shifter

Rearend
9-inch Ford
Motive Gear 4.11 gears
35-spline axles

Exhaust
Stock 4.6L 32-valve iron manifolds
Borla 4-inch-diameter mufflers
Stainless steel dual side exhaust

Suspension
Front: Rod & Custom Motorsports Mustang II-based suspension, coilover shocks, Flaming River manual steering rack
Rear: Multi-link ladder bar suspension, Koni coilovers

Brakes
Front: Wilwood 12-inch disc, two-piston caliper
Rear: Wilwood 12-inch disc, two-piston caliper

Wheels
Front: Budnik Cobalt polished, 17x7
Rear: Budnik Cobalt polished, 17x12

Tires
Front:Nitto NT555, P225/40ZR17
Rear: Nitto NT555R, P315/35ZR17

Interior
Gray leather and suede upholstery by Bowtie Auto Trim, Flofit seats, five-point seatbelts, Dakota Digital gauge cluster, Budnik steering wheel, Flaming River tilt column, Clarion head unit, Precision Power 51/2-inch speakers front and rear, 12-inch trunk-mounted sub, and amplifiers installed by Wolf Mobile, custom center console, smoothed and painted dash, smoothed/removed ashtray, multi-point rollcage with swing out door bars

Exterior
Lexus Spectra Blue/Volvo Silver two tone Sikkens base coat/clear coat sprayed by Givens Collision, fiberglass front bumper with custom modifications, fiberglass hood with smoothed underside, tucked rear bumper, molded rear valance, shaved drip rails, shaved door handles, cowl grille eliminated, LED taillights