Jim Smart
December 1, 2008

Jerry Anderson and his wife, Rita, are an American success story, living proof that if you work hard, live well, and watch your pennies, you can achieve your dreams. Jerry is a retired firefighter who, after hanging up his uniform, decided to pursue his vision of a '65 Mustang restomod convertible.

Jerry started on his Porsche Indian Red Mustang drop-top with the simple concept of "less is more" by shaving the body to get right down to the basics of Mustang styling. The end result is a super-clean Mustang roadster-a '60s-style street rod down low to the ground and void of Detroit doodads. Jerry not only shaved the Mustang convertible, he also decided to relocate a few things, such as the pony and corral, and make other items, like wiring and brake lines, disappear. Open the hood and those traditional Mustang mechanical items are hidden for a completely clean appearance.

In the uniquely American tradition of customizing, Jerry rolled personal nuances into his restomod Mustang. The air cleaner with its embossed running horses was custom-made by Jerry. Turn indicators and parking lamps are incorporated into the headlight doors. The battery is located inside an overnight case in the trunk. You won't see any bumper bolts on this Mustang.

Jerry wanted a powerful yet sedate V-8, something with torque to give him the edge when the light turns green. Jerry looked to Smeding Performance for an affordable crate engine with plenty of torque and fierce reliability. Bored 0.060-inch oversize, the 311ci small-block is packed with Keith Black forged flattop pistons, an Elgin hydraulic camshaft, factory iron heads with 1.94/1.60-inch valves, an Edelbrock 600-cfm carburetor, a Performer 289 dual-plane manifold, and an Autolite distributor with PerTronix ignition. Jerry decided against headers because he wanted a quiet cabin. Underneath are 2-inch pipes with Flowmaster mufflers.

When Jerry originally built this car, he had a modified C4 automatic transmission with 3.25:1 gears in a 9-inch axle. At highway speeds, his small-block was taching 3,000 rpm at 65 mph. You can imagine the fuel consumption, plus wear and tear. So Jerry switched to a late-model Automatic Overdrive (AOD) transmission, which has made quite a difference in efficiency. At 65-70 mph, engine speed has dropped considerably to 2,000 rpm-perfect for cruising.

Underneath, Jerry went with 620 coils and mid-eye springs to get a 1-inch drop and a perfect rake. Wheels are American Racing 16x6-inch Torq-Thrust IIs in front with 17x8.5s in back, all wrapped in Nitto skins.

Jerry carried his Indian Red theme to the interior with custom-upholstered Mustang buckets with headrests for protection and comfort. Check out the door panels with embossed ponies that Jerry hand-carved himself before handing over to an upholstery shop. The steering wheel is a Grant unit and the Pioneer CD player is flanked by white-face instrumentation and a Rally-Pac.

The Andersons have been together for 49 years, which means they remember the Mustang's original introduction. It was only a matter of time before Jerry built a Mustang for hot fun in the summertime.