Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
August 6, 2007

Gary and Kay Bennett are the proud owners of this sharp '65 Mustang convertible. As you might have guessed, it didn't always look this good. The Pony has come full circle, making the journey from decrepit back to beautiful. The replica of the Shelby GT350 soft-top you see here is the result of several years' hard work. Gary joined forces with his son Parker, and together they made the project a reality. Since the beginning, the father and son team have invested more than 2,000 hours in the creation of this exciting Shelby replica.

Gary and his son Parker stand in front of the completed Shelby GT350 convertible replica project. It's Parker's generation that will be running the show a few years from now, and our hat is off to Gary for getting his son started early in the hobby.

You've all heard the "I found it in a barn" story, but a classified ad led the pair to a barn where the Mustang had been stored for 22 years. The seller was the second owner, who bought the car in 1968. Relatively minor front end damage had sidelined the convertible for much of that time, and now it was for sale. New front fenders, still in their dusty Ford boxes, were also in the barn and part of the sale.

Whoever ordered this Mustang in early 1965 knew what they were doing, as the best options were carefully selected from the list. First, the K-code 289 engine was chosen-it was the top-of-the-line powerplant for the new Mustang. A four-speed Top Loader transmission was included on the buildsheet as well. All K-code Mustangs came equipped with a 9-inch axle, and this car had one geared at 3:89. Another important choice on the option list was the two-tone, blue-and-white deluxe interior. This car was fully loaded with the right stuff, and the Bennetts felt it was too good to pass up.

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Certainly, Gary and Parker started with a good example of the breed. The project began with a clear picture in mind, and the vision was to create a Shelby GT350 convertible replica that would be true to the looks of the original but have better steering and brakes, more power, and even air conditioning and a full-tilt stereo. All of these improvements and upgrades "were to go unnoticed to the untrained eye." Although Gary will tell you that he and his son had a lot of fun building the car, the project also had another dimension of truly lasting value-the time spent together working as a father and son team.