Isaac Mion
February 1, 2010

Brian Cruz may not be considered your typical muscle car owner. While he did get his hands dirty doing the primer during the build-up of this pristine tangerine '65 coupe, he normally wields a pair of scissors and a comb rather than a spray gun or a buffer. But he's not just the guy cutting hair; he owns the salon. Which leads us to how he and car builder Dan Ambrosio of Ambrosio Concepts came together. "A friend of mine was getting her hair done by Brian awhile back and he mentioned me," said Dan. "We built him a convertible and took it to the annual Mustang Roundup in Steamboat Springs, Colorado." At said show Brian won praise for the convertible. But that wasn't all. Lady Luck laid her hands on Brian, awarding him the winning ticket to a raffle that day. The prize-a Ford Racing 351 Windsor crate engine.

"My dream of building a custom Mustang all started at that moment. The shock of winning the engine still boggles my mind," said Brian. "To make this dream come true all I needed was a solid body and frame." With the help of Dan and his shop, Brian's dream would become a reality in less than 10 months. But the road to Mustang Mecca would be filled with potholes and speed bumps. Brian and Dan found a rust-free Mustang from a private owner shortly after the Roundup. While the body was in good condition the Mary Kay cosmetics inspired color could cause most anyone to cringe. While Brian, like any other man living in the 21st Century, is in touch with his feminine side, the pink hue that this Mustang arrived with would have to go.

"Throughout the build, Dan kept telling me that one of the most important aspects to consider was the color of the car," said Brian. "I really hadn't thought about it, but after that I was on the hunt for the perfect color." But before that color could be applied there was some work to be put in. Once they got the car to the shop Dan completely disassembled it and fitted up subframe connectors, the 17x8 and 18x8 billet rims and the Rod & Custom Motorsports Mustang II front suspension with Total Control Products g-Bar four-link and fully adjustable coilovers at the rear. He also dropped in the spoils of the raffle, the 300hp Windsor engine. With the stance, powerplant, and rollers sorted, he got to work on the myriad body modifications. These include, but are not limited to, shaved driprails, a filled cowl, adding a rear spoiler, turn signals built into the headlight bucket's faux vents, custom bumpers, and a front-tilting hood. While the first two modifications may be somewhat common, the last four took a fair degree of reworking. "I actually created the rear spoiler with molding clay then made a mold of that," Dan said. The result is a subtle lip that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing, like a mini tangerine launch ramp for little skateboarders. For the front-tilting hood Dan basically had to build every piece of hardware for that. "All the hinge mechanisms and bracketry I designed from scratch," said Dan. "There was no instruction manual for that one."