Jim Smart
January 27, 2010

Mustang projects are as unique as a human fingerprint-each one is an expression of the builder's personality. Ray Banks wanted a mild '65 fastback restomod with just a little more power, which quickly turned into nearly 600 hp along with high-end, world-class surroundings. It wasn't a quantum leap either; it happened one step at a time as one idea led to another.

The outcome wasn't what he expected from this one-owner car. "I asked the seller if the car was straight because I was going to strip it down to the metal," Ray tells us. "He said 'Yes,' which turned out to be very inaccurate because the body needed a lot of work." Ray wound up completely disassembling the fastback and building a Mustang fun car from scratch.

Ray put a lot of thought into his Mustang's resurrection, eventually realizing that what he really wanted was a streetable track car. For power, he started with a Ford Racing 351W iron block with billet four-bolt main caps, Callies 4340 gun-barrel drilled steel crank, Carrillo rods, JE forged flat-top pistons, Omar main stud girdle, Air Flow Research 205 aluminum heads with huge 2.08/1.60-inch valves, Norris roller rockers, Comp Cams mechanical roller camshaft, Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake, Holley 750-cfm double pumper, MSD ignition, and Hooker Super Comp headers. Gromm Racing did the machine work. Ray built the engine himself, utilizing something you seldom see on the street-dry-sump lubrication via a Peterson external pump system. Call this unconventional, but it works well for street or track, although it does not come cheap.

On the dyno, the engine made 582 hp from its 382 cubic inches.

Anyone can build a 600-horse small-block with a stroker kit, compression, and a lot of air flow. Managing that power takes know-how and skill. Behind the small-block sits Ford's indestructible wide-ratio Top Loader four-speed splined to a Currie Enterprises 9-inch rear with Detroit Tru-Trac 3.50:1 differential and 31-spline axles. A Hurst Competition Plus shifter serves Ray well, as it has others for more than four decades. Because Ray wanted more from his Hurst shifter, he put his own fabrication skills to work, making shift plates, shims, and spherical rod ends to make it even better for road racing.

On the ground, Ray went with what he knew would work on both track and street. He opted for a Global West suspension system, which includes Koni adjustable shocks, Pro Motorsports progressive coil springs, quick-ratio idler and Pitman arms, Monte Carlo bar and export brace, a 16:1 ratio steering gear, Stambar sway bar, and a bumpsteer kit. Cobra Automotive set him up with heavy-duty leafs with roller sliders instead of conventional shackles. "This keeps your spring rate constant," Ray says. Working with the leafs and sliders are over-ride traction bars to eliminate rear-end hop during downshifting and braking.

Braking comes from Baer Sport 12.5-inch rotors with PBR calipers, which called for the installation of brake coolers to eliminate excessive heat. Despite the need for big brakes and a cooling system, Ray admits to being satisfied with his decision. "At 2,900 pounds, this car stops wonderfully." At press time, Ray is running Hoosier R6 compound tires wrapped around 16x8-inch Vintage 45 five-spoke wheels. To keep things safe, Ray fitted his Mustang with an Autopower rollcage, Sparco Monza bucket seats, five-point harnesses, and a Safecraft fire suppression system.

Ray Banks spent three years planning and building his fastback rocket ship. His approach was simple street rod/racecar logic centered on doing a mock-up first to check for proper fit and interference issues, and then building a car he could live with. As you can see, Ray built this car from scratch-a cool extension of his personality and something he could truly call his own. Something affording him just a little more power.

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