Dale Amy
January 1, 2008

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Mufp_0801_fast_01z 1965_ford_mustang_fastback Front_viewMufp_0801_fast_02z 1965_ford_mustang_fastback Side_viewMufp_0801_fast_03z 1965_ford_mustang_fastback Rear_view
The fastback's mostly stock body responds well to hunkering over 17- and 18-inch billet wheels, with ride height adjustable via fore and aft coilovers. The "GT40-X" in the painted titanium silver rocker stripes refers to the aluminum cylinder heads of the same designation that were part of the car's Ford Racing Performance Parts M-6007-XE3M crate motor. This setup includes an E303 cam and 9:1 compression--the perfect combo for Ian's Vortech V2 SQ supercharger.
Mufp_0801_fast_04z 1965_ford_mustang_fastback Engine
If you can ignore the beautifully detailed, blown 5.0 crate engine for a moment, you'll notice that the shock towers are gone, thanks to use of a Mustang II setup with coilovers. The firewall is smoothed, so are the custom inner fenders, and a custom Be-Cool radiator is up front, backed by a couple of electric fans and an aluminum overflow tank.
Mufp_0801_fast_05z 1965_ford_mustang_fastback Custom_intakeMufp_0801_fast_06z 1965_ford_mustang_fastback Ac_compressorMufp_0801_fast_07z 1965_ford_mustang_fastback Coolant_overflow_reservoir

Fellow geezers may remember the black-clad gunfighter "Paladin" from the late '50s CBS TV series, Have Gun-Will Travel (those less ancient than I may have seen reruns.) Prominently displayed on Paladin's calling card and holster was the image of a chess knight, and I vaguely remember being puzzled as to the connection between a chess piece and a guy who dispensed hot lead for a living.

Being too young and stupid at the time to reach for a dictionary, I didn't realize then that the term paladin historically refers to a knightly "heroic champion of a noble cause," more specifically in the court of Charlemagne. Knowing that original definition would have made sense of the show's knight symbology since the benevolent Paladin drew his feared single-action Colt, or backup derringer, only in the pursuit of just causes.

Why the history lesson? To help you understand why Ian Farrell has nicknamed his beautifully understated '65 fastback "Paladin," as spelled out across the carefully smoothed TFS Track Heat intake manifold, complete with chessboard knight. He did this not in fond remembrance of the TV western--at 34 he's far too young for that--but rather in the noble spirit of the original medieval definition. Regardless, we can't help but think of this thing as something of a black-clad gunfighter--in this case, armed with a Vortech-blown Ford Racing

Performance Parts 5.0L crate motor packing 477 hp. Yet to focus too much on the power thing would not do justice to the incredible level of detail and craftsmanship found outside, inside, and underneath this nearly-four-year project.

Let's start at the beginning, which was the purchase of a mildly rusty six-cylinder off eBay in February 2002. From the onset, Ian had three goals for what he knew would be an involved project:

  • It had to look like a Mustang. As Ian explains, this "sounds basic, but there are some pretty wild body kits out there."
  • It had to perform like a new car. In other words, it had to be fast, have great handling and braking, and be reliable, safe, and comfortable.
  • It had to have a modernized interior.
  • The car that debuted for our fall 2005 photo shoot certainly meets all those demanding criteria, yet the project got off to a horrific start when Ian experienced nothing but financial grief from the shop he initially chose to begin the restoration/modification. Many of us can relate, but this little tactical blunder apparently cost upward of $50,000 before Ian could rescue what was at that point barely a rolling shell. His desperate search for another facility eventually led him to Snow's Hot Rods, in Aurora, Ontario, where the project got back on track in short order.

    To accomplish Ian's elevated handling goals, the stock front suspension went away in favor of a Mustang II setup (R&C Motorsports) with 2-inch drop spindles, Aldan {{{Eagle}}} coilovers, and a 1-inch antiroll bar. Unable to bear the thought of teaming such a setup with rear leaf springs, he sought more modern alternatives, eventually settling on CTM Engineering's (www.geocities.com/ctmengineering) T5 independent rear suspension system. This setup allowed--demanded, in fact--the use of 18-inch rims out back, and Ian chose 9-inch wide Budnik Arrow Fat Lips, wrapped in P275/40ZR18 BFG g-Force KDs (17x7 Budniks up front with 225/45 KDs.) With coilovers front and rear, ride height is whatever Ian chooses for his mission. Brakes are also up to the task, with Baer's 13-inch Track kit on the nose with two-piston PBR calipers and an 11.5-inch, single-piston combo required by the IRS out back. Ian reports that weight distribution is now a commendable 52 percent front, 48 percent rear.

    Step By Step

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    Mufp_0801_fast_08z 1965_ford_mustang_fastback Interior
    Ian's 21st-century Mustang interior is centered, oddly enough, around reupholstered Pontiac Fiero buckets, with rear seat and (custom) door panels skinned to match. The carpet is Wilton wool, and the steering wheel is a Colorado Custom Paradox. Some of the less obvious details include a molded suede headliner, a custom remote hood release, and Phillips door handles. A Clarion 640-watt amp resides in the trunk while a pair of 8-inch subwoofers are tucked behind rear trap doors.
    Mufp_0801_fast_09z 1965_ford_mustang_fastback ConsoleMufp_0801_fast_10z 1965_ford_mustang_fastback Billet_door_handleMufp_0801_fast_11z 1965_ford_mustang_fastback Driver_seatMufp_0801_fast_12z 1965_ford_mustang_fastback Instrument_panelMufp_0801_fast_23z 1965_ford_mustang_fastback Ac_ventMufp_0801_fast_25z 1965_ford_mustang_fastback Pedals

    Like the chassis, Paladin's interior bears little resemblance to Ford's low-buck original. Diamond Trim, also in Aurora, gets principal credit for the leather/vinyl/ultrasuede upholstery, including a molded headliner and custom door panels complete with power windows. A custom metal console houses the JVC head unit for a serious entertainment system, a Lokar e-brake handle, as well as the Pro-5.0 shifter linked to a Tremec TKO five-speed. A Vintage Air HVAC system breathes through billet eyeball vents, which share dash space with a full suite of Auto Meter carbon-fiber gauges, just ahead of Flaming River's tilt steering column. All in all, this is a thoroughly modern and functional interpretation of a classic Mustang cabin.

    Compared to the underhood, underbelly, and interior mods, the Sikkens-coated ebony body is understated in its originality yet finished to a degree of perfection no production line could ever dream about. Yes, there are Shelby-esque hood and side scoops, a billet grille, and those monster Budniks, but for the most part, there can be no doubt this is a '65 Mustang. Even so, the fender lips are rolled, and all door and trunk jams are utterly smooth.

    In truth, a small book could be written about the details and the lengthy, sometimes frustrating process of creating Ian Farrell's Paladin (you can get considerably more info at his Web site, paladin.pony-cars.net). In the end, it might be Farrell himself who earns the "paladin" moniker, as the rebirth of any classic Mustang is truly a noble cause.

    The Details
    '65 Mustang Fastback
    Owner: Ian Farrell, Toronto, Ontario, Canada


  • FRPP crate 5.0L M-6007-XE3M)
  • GT40-X aluminum heads
  • E303 cam
  • 9:1 compression
  • TFS Track Heat intake
  • Pro-M 80mm mass air meter
  • BBK 70mm throttle body
  • March billet pulleys
  • Custom A/C and alternator brackets
  • Vortech V2 SQ supercharger, 11 psi
  • 477 hp, 441 lb-ft of torque
  • Exhaust

  • BBK unequal-length 1-5/8-inch short-tube headers
  • 2-1/2-inch ceramic-coated exhaust
  • Hooker Max Flow mufflers
  • Transmission

  • Tremec TKO five-speed
  • Centerforce Dual-Friction clutch (cable conversion)
  • Lakewood scattershield
  • Rearend

  • Dana 44 centersection
  • 3.70 gears
  • Auburn posi
  • Suspension

  • Front: Rod & Custom Motorsports Mustang II with coilovers, manual rack-and-pinion steering
  • Rear: CTM Engineering independent rear suspension
  • Brakes

  • Front: Baer 13-inch disc, two-piston caliper
  • Rear: Baer 11.5-inch disc, single-piston caliper
  • Baer proportioning valve and master cylinder
  • Mustang Steve power booster
  • Wheels

  • Front: Budnik Arrow Fat Lip, 17x7 inches
  • Rear: Budnik Arrow Fat Lip, 18x9 inches
  • Tires

  • Front: BFGoodrich g-Force KD, P225/45ZR17
  • Rear: BFGoodrich g-Force KD, P275/40ZR18
  • Interior

  • Pontiac Fiero buckets, custom upholstery by Diamond Trim, Auto Meter carbon-fiber gauges, Colorado Custom Paradox steering wheel, Flaming River tilt steering column
  • Exterior

  • Shelby-style fiberglass components, billet grille, custom bumper brackets, modified rear valance, smoothed door and trunk jambs, rolled fender lips
  • Photo Gallery

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