Donald Farr
Former Editor, Mustang Monthly
April 1, 2005

Some Mustangs have all the luck. For example, this '65 GT fastback was built in sunny San Jose, then sold in the Denver area, where it spent some 33 years in the cool, dry Colorado air. Adorned from the factory with a gorgeous combination of Ivy Green Metallic paint and an Ivy/White Pony interior, the original owner somehow managed to preserve much of the car's originality by driving it sparingly, putting only 37,000 miles on the odometer. In 1998, the fastback ended up in Florida, where the owner traded it at Johnny Bolton Ford because diabetes made it difficult for him to shift the four-speed gears.

Dr. Frank Diefenderfer became the lucky recipient of the trade. After purchasing the Mustang from Johnny Bolton Ford, Dr. Diefenderfer started taking the car apart for a thorough cleaning and detailing. But, as happens so many times, he soon realized the job was too much for a busy dentist to handle, so he turned over the project to Pete and Peter Geisler at Orlando Mustang.

Peter Geisler took an almost fatherly interest in the low-mileage, well-equipped fastback. "It was a very clean car to start with," Peter told us. "All of the sheetmetal is original, although we ended up replacing the hood because someone had installed hood pins. The engine and transmission are all original, including the carburetor and distributor, and everything is correctly date-coded. Amazingly, it even has the original battery tray; we just cleaned it up."

That cleanup included mounting the body on a rotisserie and removing all the old caulking and sealer before having the entire body blasted with plastic media. With an eye toward Mustang Club of America concours-trailered competition, the Mustang was painted to factory-original appearance, which included PPG's top Global Systems basecoat/clearcoat paint, applied by Brad Samuels at Samuels Auto Body in Sanford, Florida. Orlando Mustang took over from there, painting the undercarriage in PPG DP74 red primer with the correct Ivy Green overspray and detailing the suspension right down to the correct paint on the rear-axle pumpkin. The Geislers also painted the engine compartment and trunk before installing the interior and putting the car back together for final detailing.

Other than the 289 dress-up kit ("The engine shows better with the chrome," says Peter) and the missing Rally-Pac, which is awaiting electronic repairs, Dr. Diefenderfer's '65 GT fastback is back in the same condition it was when it left San Jose 40 years ago, complete with options like Styled Steel wheels with dual redline tires, air-conditioning, and power steering. Peter notes it also has the '66-style firewall and air-conditioning blower, which was used in late-1965 production.

As the surrogate father for the '65, Peter Geisler continues to maintain and help show the car. So far, Dr. Diefenderfer's '65 has taken a Second Place in MCA national competition (Geisler admits he tried to slip by with KYB shocks painted black, but the judges spotted them) and a Junior Gold at an AACA show. The fine-tuning is underway because the ultimate goal is to receive an MCA Grand National Award and the grille medallion that goes with it. According to Peter, it could take up to five years to accumulate the needed points.

Even without a grille medallion, this is one Mustang to envy.