Jim Smart
February 19, 2007

Each of us has a vision of what we would like our dream Mustang to be. Dreams come from those moments when we're pushing a lawnmower, taking a shower, washing the car, thumbing through car magazines, or staring blankly at the evening news. David Mathews' Mustang dream pieced itself together over a long time. Originally, he envisioned an all-out road racer and amassed all of the elements necessary. When he bought this car in 2000, his mindset was twisties and apexes, and so it went.

As David went to work, he discovered all of the problems you might expect to find with an East Coast car-rust, body damage, and more. He spent the better part of 2003 replacing frame-rails, doors, fenders, and rebuilding the cowl. While he had the welder out, he fused in a rollcage and did a lot of chassis-mod work. When finished, he had a rock-solid platform ready for just about anything. Bodywork and paint followed, with liberal applications of '96 Ford Truck Medium Melina Blue PPG basecoat/clearcoat.

Beneath the deep-blue/purplish epidermis is plenty of Shelby fiberglass for attitude. Check out the driving lamps that can cut through just about anything. Remember, high-performance motoring calls for a substantial support system ready for just about anything. David's Mustang is a sweet combination of high-tech and super-retro thinking.

You'd never know it now, but this was a Rangoon Red 289-4V fastback when it rolled off the Dearborn assembly line in December 1964, delivered to the Washington, D.C.-area sales district. It had a three on the floor and 3.00 gears-a nice interstate cruiser. But a mild-mannered fastback isn't what David had in mind.

David built a powerful yet civilized-for-the-street 393ci stroker from Probe Industries. It yields a smooth idle, but comes on strong at high revs, as we like to see on the street. Check out the unbelievable white spatter-painted surroundings against the contrast of body-color valve covers and cast aluminum. This is the most striking engine compartment we've ever seen.

Underpinnings include world-class Global West suspension components as a foundation, along with Edelbrock shocks in all four corners. You'll find Radir Bullet 15x7-inch wheels wrapped in BFGoodrich T/As at all four corners. We like these five-spoke wheels that resemble American Torq-Thrusts or Fentons (remember Fentons?) on steroids. That smooth, cool, low profile comes from the typical 620 Shelby coils and five-leaf mid-eyes for a nice 1-inch drop. The lower center of gravity gives David better handling and a nice profile for cruising. What's more, he can go road racing or Main Street cruising without having to make sacrifices.

Underhood is a powerful 393ci Windsor stroker born of a '69 C9OE block, a Probe Industries stroker kit, a steel crank, I-beam rods, forged pistons, and more. Recognizing the Windsor's weak spots, David opted for a main stud girdle to tighten up things down under. Of course, a high-volume oil pump and a generous pan to keep things lubed are also part of the recipe. AFR 185 cylinder heads provide exceptional breathing for a street/track mission engine like this. David likes the Edelbrock Air Gap intake manifold and 750-cfm Race Demon combo-a perfect fit for a big-inch small-block. Crane provided the entire valvetrain system, helping a small-block yield big-block power.

Because David fitted his Mustang with a stroker small-block, he's had to treat the rest of the car like it has a big-block. Instead of a Tremec World Class T5 five-speed transmission, he opted for a Tremec 3550 designed to take 500-600 hp and an applicable amount of torque. In back, a Lincoln Versailles 9-inch with a Traction-Lok and 3.50 cogs work to put the power to the blacktop. David chose 3.50 gears for a well-balanced combination of street and track performance. In Overdrive, those 3.50 gears work exceptionally well on the open road. Drop it down into Fourth or Third gear and watch the action. This makes it fun on the road course as well.

David continued the street/track theme inside, with Scat Procar bucket seats in black. Check out the custom instrumentation with cool Auto Meter Phantom gauges. Control is maintained via a LeCarra wheel and a Hurst shifter. A Shelby spare-tire insert eliminates the back seat and yields a pure, two-seater, road-racing theme. Call it the splendid execution of a dream.

When we asked David if he'd ever consider selling this car, he said, "Sure, everything's for sale," but he'd turn right around and build another one for the road.

We like David's crisp, simple approach to the office-Mustang standard interior basics with Scat Procar bucket seats, restraint harnesses, a rollcage for safety, Auto Meter instrumentation, and more.

The Details
'65 Mustang Fastback
Owner: David Mathews, North Huntingdon, PA

393ci Windsor small-block V-8
'69 351W C9OE block
4.040-inch bore, 3.850-inch stroke
4340 steel crankshaft
Forged H-beam connecting rods
Forged flat-top pistons
AFR 185 aluminum heads
Edelbrock Performer Air-Gap intake

Aftermarket electrical systems, like this one from Painless, allow freedom to accessorize and route wiring any way you desire.

Tremec 3550 five-speed
Centerforce Dual-Friction clutch

Versailles 9-inch
3.50 gears

Custom dual exhaust system with side exits

David's wiring is completely hidden in the engine compartment; something you cannot do easily with a factory electrical system. The fuse box and circuit breakers are easy to do-just pop open the glovebox.

Front: Global West 620 coils, Edelbrock EIS shocks
Rear: five-leaf springs, Edelbrock EIS shocks

Front: Wilwood disc
Rear: Lincoln Versailles disc

Front: Radir 15x7-inch
Rear: Radir 15x7-inch

Front: BFGoodrich Radial T/A, P205/60R15
Rear: BFGoodrich Radial T/A, P225/60R15

Radir 15x7-inch wheels and BFGoodrich radial T/As make the ride. We like the retro chiseled spokes that remind us of Fenton mags from long ago. Tire size isn't what you'd expect in an age of 16- and 17-inch tire/wheel sizing. David understands ride quality and handling. With this approach, he gets both.

Standard black vinyl
Scat Procar bucket seats
Auto Meter Phantom instruments
Shelby rear seat delete insert
Radio delete plate
Custom restraint harnesses
Custom rollcage
Painless wiring system

Shelby valance, scoops, hood, and quarter-windows, in-grille driving lamps, Medium Melina Blue PPG basecoat/clearcoat