Jim Smart
February 1, 2000

What an irony: two people, one love, one passion, and classic Mustangs. That's the way it goes when you're friends. Sara and Dennis Conroy loved Mustangs long before they knew one another. When Sara was 10 years old, her parents allowed her to drive their new Tropical Turquoise '65 Mustang convertible in and out of the garage. "I didn't realize then what a big part of my life Mustangs would be," Sara told us. A few years back, Sara and Dennis were taking a walk when they passed a '66 Mustang hardtop with a "For Sale" sign in the window. It belonged to a college student who needed to sell it but was reluctant. The Conroys bought the car.

Months later, Sara and Dennis purchased yet another Mustang-this time a Rangoon Red '65 convertible. Tucked in neighbor Ted Overstreet's garage was a '67 Mustang fastback-another filly they just had to have. Ted wanted a '69 Mach 1, so he sold the fastback to Sara and Dennis and snapped up a '69 Mach 1 with the proceeds. Sara, Dennis, and Ted would invest untold hours and resources into the Mach 1, which would prove to be the friendship of a lifetime.

You're looking at a Ted Overstreet project here-restored to sizzling street/concours perfection. This fastback is fun to drive. It's enjoyable to behold. It's clean. It's lean. It's the epitome of a showroom stock show car for the new millennium: Styled Steel wheels wrapped in radial tires, front disc brakes, heavy-duty suspension, and more. When the Conroys took possession, they went back in and detailed the engine compartment for concours-judged competition. They haven't missed a beat since.

That's Candyapple Red PPG Deltron urethane-a glistening finish by anyone's standards. Underhood is Ford's venerable 289 2V V-8 sporting 200 hp. Behind the 289 is a C4 Cruise-O-Matic shifting the twist to a 2.79 conventional 8-inch diff. From harmonic balancer to ring-and-pinion, it's conventional Mustang wisdom all the way. The interior is black from the windshield to the backlight, and on top is an overhead console. There's another full-length console between the buckets sporting a storage compartment, seatbelt holders, and an ashtray.

When you drive a Mustang such as this one, it's 1967 all over again. Goodyear Eagle ST radials improve handling and ride, but the sound of the 289 coupled with the smooth operation of the C4 make driving a classic Mustang the experience it is. Move out onto the highway and the 289 delivers all those things we remember most. At 60 mph with 2.79 gears, the 289 throats a melody at 2,800 rpm-its optimum power range. It's making torque and can smartly accelerate to 70-80 mph. Because the Conroys have fitted this stocker with radial tires and disc brakes, it's safer and more of a joy to drive today.

Even though this Mustang has all these special features, however, they come secondary to the meaning behind the ride-friendship. For Sara and Dennis, friendship is an integral part of their relationship. When you mix Ted Overstreet and his efforts into the equation, it's all that and a bag of chips-something the Conroys call friends.