Modified Mustangs & FordsFeatured Vehicles
1965 Ford Mustang - FastBack Into The Future
High School Cruiser Gets a Makeover to Last a Lifetime
There were some metal issues from the get-go, but nothing Jerry hadn't tackled before. With his trusty MIG welder, Jerry installed new floors, a fresh trunk area, and a new firewall. Next, full quarters were hung out back, along with new doors and Ford-issue front fenders. Jerry meticulously went through the body, cleaning up his metal work, and then prepped the car for paint. Next, the car received a fresh skin of Dodge Viper Blue basecoat/clearcoat to increase the wow-factor of the '65. Jerry then continued with his original paint scheme from back in the '80s, going with faux Shelby stripes over the top, and custom 5.0 call outs down along the rocker. A metal-framed, fiberglass Shelby hood completes the restyling.
While the paintwork was going on, Jerry turned his attention to the engine. Jerry found a badly beaten '90 Mustang sitting in a back alley in St. Pete. After a quick negotiation, the once-able Pony was hauled back for an immediate tear down. The engine and transmission were salvaged for power, while the body kit was stripped off to pay for the purchase. The remainder of the car was in very bad shape, and was junked.
From there, Jerry tore into the engine, and the Ford production 5.0-block was hot-tanked, magnafluxed, and cleaned up with a 0.20-inch overbore. Next, forged aluminum slugs were placed in the cylinders, and connected to the stock reconditioned cast crank. Up top, a set of aluminum GT-40 heads were put in place, along with a set of 1.7:1 Cobra roller rockers. A Cobra intake finished the look.
From the get-go, Jerry wanted to have an engine that was not only powerful, but also streetable. Working along with his buddy, Wayne Farnham, of Restomod Plus in Clearwater, Florida, the two developed a plan to not only make the 'Stang a dependable, turnkey ride, but Jerry also wanted to have the power on tap to shred the tires out back if he felt the urge to do so. With that, Wayne showed Jerry how to adapt the complete '90 EFI system and computer. That way, Jerry could have the power output he wanted with the dependability of a computer-driven engine under the hood.
A set of period-correct, Jet-Hot–coated Tri-Y headers was added to the build to feed a Dynomax exhaust. To get through the gears, Jerry chose a new T-5 transmission, and adapted the Mustang's vintage Hurst shifter to it. The clutch is a smooth operating cable unit. To get the power to the ground, the 8-inch rear out back was stuffed with very streetable 3.50 gears. Tank Armor was placed over the gas tank to keep it, and everyone inside, safe.
Along with a quick-ratio, 3:1 Shelby-style power steering unit, the Mustang also sports disc brakes up front. Wayne helped out here by building a hybrid system; the disc brake units are direct '65 factory replacements by SSBC, pushed by a more modern '90s brake booster up top.
Suspension mods include a Shelby 1-inch-drop to lower the nose, and both front and rear sway bars now reside under the Mustang. KYB gas shocks are in place in all four corners. Another trick that Wayne conjured up for Jerry's ride was to make custom upper control arm bushings for the '65, which get rid of the typical metal-on-metal ones found in stock Mustangs of that vintage. With all the handling and suspension improvements made to the car, a more modern alignment was given to the Mustang, which included increasing the caster to handle and drive better.
Living in Florida, climate control is a big issue. Jerry found relief from the heat by installing a Classic Auto Air kit in the '65 to help keep the temps cool when he's burning up pavement. Not only does this unit pump in cold air, it also handles the chores of adding heat when necessary and gives the Mustang a reliable defroster. Aftermarket stereo, kick panel speakers, and a Grant wheel now have a home in the Mustang's interior as well. As far as upholstery, Jerry decided to stay with the original Mach 1 seats he installed in the Mustang back in 1983, first getting them freshened up with new skins and foam, and then having them custom stitched with blue piping to match the exterior.
Jerry loves taking his fastback out on the broad streets of Florida's Gulf Coast, shaking it down whenever he gets some time to himself. Jerry's one of the lucky few that had the forethought to keep his ride through the years, both good and bad, to have it there when he needed a blast from the past. Amazingly, when Jerry was tearing down the car, he found a small piece of paper with his wife's phone number on it--it was what she handed to him when they met back in 1985. As a gift, Jerry framed the note and it sits right next to another picture of Jerry and Kim sitting in the front seat of the fastback. Who says good marriages are made in heaven--Ford had a little bit of a part in this one.