Jim Smart
September 1, 2004

Don't you just love a powerful road hugger? Then get a good look at this '65 Mustang hardtop. It's low. It's fast. And it's surely striking and great fun to drive. Cars like this begin with a dream, a vision, and the intestinal fortitude to make it happen. Dreaming is the easy part. Vision is the result of dreaming. But, making the dream and the vision a physical reality isn't a simple task.

Alen Babayan lives in the San Gabriel Valley of Southern California. The San Gabriel Valley serves as a natural inspiration for anyone with a dream. The weather is about as perfect as it gets anywhere. Pasadena is here. So is San Marino. Cruise these tree-shrouded streets, take in the beauty, inflate your lungs, and absorb a wonderful little slice of Americana. This is where Hollywood shot Father of the Bride during the early '90s.

This dream began for Alen at the tender age of 17. He was cruising through the Recycler classifieds, a Southern California trader publication. It took him just a week to find the car of his dreams. He snapped it up for $1,200.

The Mustang's engine appeared to be toast, caused by the absence of oil in the pan. Alen poured in a couple of quarts and spun it over. It ran. It was very much alive. Inspired by the raw sound of internal combustion, Alen chased his dream. He enrolled in an autobody class at a local school. Alen prepped the body and painted the car himself. We like the PPG two-stage paint in blazing red. The car looks like it was dipped in a bucket of red.

On the ground are Yokahoma Sports wrapped around 17-inch American Torq-Thrust II polished wheels. KYB shocks and 620 coils dampen the action. A narrowed 9-inch rearend from Currie Enterprises with 3.70:1 gears and {{{Explorer}}} disc brakes brings up the behind nicely. Because Southern California suffers from endless congestion, Alen knew he didn't want to work a clutch and shift gears in traffic. He opted for {{{Ford}}}'s AOD transmission, which offers great cruiseability in traffic and on the open road. The original engine is gone, replaced by a 351W fitted with Dart heads, an Edelbrock induction, a MSD ignition, a 750-cfm Holley, Hedman hedders, and Flowmaster mufflers. What we have here is an aggressive, throaty bark echoing down those tree-shrouded streets mentioned earlier.

Alen also has a good supporting cast. Urethane engine and transmission mounts do a nice job of isolating vibration and noise. A custom four-row crossflow radiator was built to soak up and distribute the heat. The battery is located in the trunk for better weight distribution.

When we sit inside Alen's Mustang, the inner world surrounds us in red with nice white appointments and pony seats. White-face gauges make the dashboard radiant. Custom wood and vinyl adorn the trunk area.

Alen tells us the most amazing aspect of this project isn't the car itself, but that he remains married in the wake of it all with a son who is nearly one-year-old at press time. Alen's family values include building a Mustang with his son one day.