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Mustangs & Fast Fords of Orange County builds a 1965 Mustang in its Showroom
Paul Gammerino invited Car Craft to MFFOC for a shop tour and a close look at one of the more fascinating Mustang projects we've ever seen in a career spanning 30-plus years. Affectionately named the MFFOC "Showroom Fastback" and clad in rich 1965 Ford Poppy Red, this once rough and tumble six-cylinder classic has been many years in the making, but well worth the wait.
Long before MFFOC even opened its doors nearly a decade ago, Paul was hard at work trying to find a classic Mustang fastback project he could build into a restomod for his own personal enjoyment with his wife, Michelle. In 2003 Paul unearthed this fastback not far away in Long Beach. He bought the car and hauled it home.
Paul methodically disassembled the car and cataloged every part. He wound up with a raw steel shell and what seemed like acres of bagged and boxed parts. What Paul had before him was a blank canvas he could take anywhere. Three years later, he had the body mediablasted down to bare steel, then turned it over to Quigley's Auto Body in Lake Forest, California for bodywork and paint. The result has been remarkable: ready for a gala showroom build at the new MFFOC shop in suburban Los Angeles.
Paul's original game plan was to do the car in Rangoon Red with white Shelby GT350 stripes. It wasn't until Paul and Michelle discovered the car was originally Poppy Red that they shifted gears and cladded this slippery fastback in its original factory color. With a painted body fresh from Quigley's, Paul carefully placed the body in MFFOC's Main Street Santa Ana showroom in front of a big glass window and went to work. He laid all of the Mustang's parts out in a long corridor across the showroom window. Those driving by caused traffic jams as they slowed down for a look on a very busy street. Those on foot stopped and pressed their noses to the glass to behold the ongoing process of Mustang assembly.
Paul's vision was to build a great, fun-to-drive, classic Mustang without all of the drawbacks of a traditional vintage automobile: a fuel-injected Ford Performance small-block V8 with Edelbrock electronic fuel injection and MSD ignition, Ford's AOD transmission, a 9-inch Ford rear end with Detroit Truetrac and 3.73:1 gears, four-wheel power disc brakes with Porterfield performance friction pads, functional Shelby-style brake cooling ducts, an adjustable Global West coilover front suspension, Borgeson worm-and-sector power steering to eliminate the leaky Bendix, 4-1/2-leaf mid-eye rear springs with KYB shock absorbers, a 19681969 Mustang/Cougar collapsible steering column with Borgeson power steering and Saginaw pump, and subframe connectors underneath to bolster the platform.
We learn from Paul and the MFFOC staff about how dreams are built. Dreams are conceived and built here because Paul and his staff are enthusiasts—not number-crunchers—and seasoned car builders who understand what passion for automobiles is. Putting a Mustang restoration project on display was not only a great marketing approach but a demonstration for the public about how restorations are professionally performed.