Steve Baur
Former Editor, Modified Mustangs & Fords
October 8, 2010
Photos By: Pete Epple, Marc Christ

Ford and the many other companies that manufacture automobiles can often be underappreciated in that not many people understand what it takes to design, develop, and produce an actual automobile that can be used by a variety of consumers in countless ways. The buying public's love affair with automobiles, however, has given many a car-crafting enthusiast a firsthand look at what it takes to build a car more-or-less from scratch. That's exactly what Milan, Illinois' Tim Grillot got to see when he started building this '65 Mustang fastback from just a rolling shell.

To Tim's credit, he carries with him a rather valuable set of skills to have when embarking on such an adventure.

"I grew up in rural Iowa on my parents' 10 acres of land," recalls Tim. "We didn't have any cool cars, but my dad, who was a maintenance welder at a local aluminum plant, would help me build whatever I wanted if I could pay for the parts." After much hay bailing and miscellaneous farm work, Tim earned the necessary funding for the many go-karts and off-road trucks that he and his dad, Ed, would build.

"I raced an off-road truck for about two and a half years, and this is where my fabrication talents really started to take shape," says Tim. Without being able to buy parts to fix the rig, Tim had to fabricate everything himself, and build it to withstand the rigors of racing without failing.

"My dad always stressed that if I couldn't do it right, then I shouldn't do it, at least until I figured it out or could afford to buy the right parts. He had zero tolerance for cobbling stuff up!" These home-schooled fabrication talents led to a four-year apprenticeship, and Tim eventually worked his way to project manager at a fabrication shop. Said management role, however, didn't provide Tim with the opportunity to make sparks, burn metal, and create something with his bare hands, so he eventually started building his own personal fab shop at home.

"I had a Factory Five Cobra that I loved, but as a fabricator, it drove me nuts when people would ask if I built it and I had to tell them no," recalls Tim. It was shortly after Tim and his wife, Adrianne, found out they were expecting their first child that she suggested Tim sell the Cobra and buy a Mustang so the kids could ride with them.

"Game on," quipped Tim. "Here was my opportunity to build the car I always wanted, so the Cobra was sold, and shortly thereafter, I bought the car you see here as a shell/basket case." The fastback came with a truckload of parts, in addition to a well-used 289ci V-8 engine and an automatic transmission. The original plan called for a supercharged 302 bullet to go between the framerails, but after talking with Tim Matherly of MV Performance, Grillot opted to drop in a modular powerplant.

Wanting to go for the "different factor," Tim enlisted Matherly to assemble a fortified 4.6L DOHC Cobra engine using forged CP pistons and Manley connecting rods, along with a forged steel Cobra crankshaft. With the stock cylinder heads, compression ratio was set at a boost-friendly 9:1. Tim hadn't originally planned to add a power adder immediately, but knowing that he could fabricate everything himself directed him toward constructing his own turbocharger system.

While the engine was being built, Tim had put the fastback up on jackstands and cut all of the stock suspension components out of the car. Two years had passed by then, and the project's funds had become depleted, so Tim once again turned to side jobs to provide the necessary greenbacks to complete his own project.