Jim Smart
July 25, 2006
Photos By: Chris Richardson

As Rustbusters removed parts, the news went from bad to worse. Rust had overtaken the body, floors, frame-rails, wheelhouses, quarter-panels, inner fenders, doors, and cowl vent. Had this been a garden-variety six or small V-8 hardtop, we would have advised Art to cut his losses and part the car out. But that wasn't an option with a historic car like 100148. In this case, a special find became a burden: a commitment to history Art would have to see through.

With parts assistance from National Parts Depot, Rustbusters replaced the damaged parts, obtaining a precision fit by setting the car up in a custom jig created especially for vintage Mustangs. Much time was spent massaging sheetmetal and achieving exceptional craftsmanship. Once the sheetmetal was welded in and ground smooth, Rustbusters laid down a self-etching primer/sealer along with professional-grade seam sealer to ward off corrosion. Art then had the car painted with Raven Black enamel, a vintage paint we weren't even sure you could buy anymore. Once painted, the body was color-sanded and hand-rubbed to simulate the original finish. The original wheel-lip moldings were too damaged to reuse.

Art struggled with which hood to use. When Art purchased the car, it had what enthusiasts call a "1965" hood, with the improved lip. Enthusiasts tend to embrace the theory that all '6411/42 Mustangs came with the unimproved hood with its sharp edges. But research has revealed that some '6411/42 Mustangs got the improved hood. When Art asked us which hood to use, we suggested he go with the hood that was on the car when it was purchased 32 years ago. Not a '6411/42 hood like you might expect, but a '65-style improved hood found on virtually all preproduction Mustang units (and Indy Pace Car hardtops) that have surfaced to date.

While Rustbusters was at work, Art was busy detailing the engine, transmission, and rearend. The original and undisturbed '63 vintage Hi-Po block was bored .030-inch oversize, with decks and line-bore checked for integrity. Remarkably, it was a virgin iron casting that didn't need any more than boring and honing. Photographer and Ford historian Chris Richardson discovered the experimental cylinder-head castings, which at a glance, looked like garden-variety Hi-Po heads. The engine was freshened to factory specifications with cast pistons, ductile-iron rings, oversize .010-inch bearings, and a Crane mechanical flat-tappet camshaft suited to a stock Hi-Po.

When Art inspected the narrow-bolt pattern Top Loader four-speed, it was like new inside, as was the 9-inch rearend. Both went back in the car the same as they came out: factory original except for new seals and gaskets.

Art's timing couldn't have been better. Rustbusters wrapped up the restoration just in time for Ford's 100th Anniversary, and Art rolled Henry's hardtop out for display in front of Ford World Headquarters, appropriately named the Henry Ford II World Center. In Ford's 100th year, Art had the good fortune of showing the completed restoration to Edsel Ford II, who was thrilled to see his father's Mustang for the first time in years. In August of that year, Art was invited to display his Mustang at Ford's exhibit at the Woodward Dream Cruise, drawing plenty of people who both remembered and admired what is undoubtedly one of the most significant Mustangs ever made.

5F07K100148: The Facts
* One-off Raven Black '65 Mustang hardtop built for Henry Ford II
* Preproduction unit bucked at Allen Park and assembled at Dearborn
* Earliest documented K-code 289 High Performance Mustang
* Show-car treatment with leaded seams
* DSO 89 - Transportation Services
* Date code of 05C, meaning preproduction unit
* All-leather interior
* Custom leather door panels, similar to Interior Dcor Group a year later
* Leather headliner and dashpad
* Teakwood appointments
* One-off AM radio with die-cast chrome buttons and knobs
* Factory reverb with rear-deck speaker
* GT foglamps and exhaust trumpets
* Die-cast wheel-lip moldings
* Chrome door latches and strikers
* Custom leather top
* Handcrafted by Ford Design
* Restored by Rustbusters and Art Cairo