Most Mustang enthusiasts around Southern California's San Fernando Valley know Arnold Marks of Mustangs Etc. in Van Nuys. Arnold got into the classic Mustang parts and service business long before any of the big names we're familiar with opened their mail-order operations. Call it a passion-gone-obsession. Mustangs Etc. has been a smashing success story for nearly 30 years in an area that has accounted for at least 20 percent of new Mustang sales since 1964.
Because Arnold's business is also his passion, you might expect an interesting personal assortment of classic Mustangs. His collection is significant, including a couple of Boss Mustangs and a '66 GT convertible that once belonged to the late Frank Sinatra. The Sinatra Pony is a fascinating story all by itself because each member of the legendary Rat Pack received a '66 GT convertible from the studio they contracted with. Sinatra's Dark Ivy Green Metallic GT convertible is one of them. At press time, it was undergoing a full-scale restoration in Arnold's shop.
Arnold also has quite an inventory of classic Mustangs for sale. When you walk the corridors of his warehouses along Bessemer Street in Van Nuys, you see a stunning variety of rust-free, California-desert Mustang body parts spanning '65 to '73. We're talking hundreds of doors, fenders, hoods, decklids, front-end assemblies, body quarters, and more.
Arnold's personal collection includes this Rangoon Red 19641/2 convertible sporting the original matching-numbers 289 V-8. It is a five-bolt Hi-Po block married to a Top Loader four-speed. When Arnold is roaring down the freeway at 70 mph, the Hi-Po tachs 4,000 rpm, which indicates factory 4.11:1 gears inside a 9-inch case. When this Mustang was ordered, someone had acceleration in mind, or they ticked the incorrect axle ratio on the way to their optometrist. Whatever, they understood the significance of having solid-lifter, high-revving power under the hood.
The Hi-Po produces a factory-rated 271 hp at 6,000 rpm. It does this with an aggressive mechanical flat-tappet camshaft, stiffer valvesprings, a fully mechanical dual-point distributor, and an Autolite 4100 carburetor. It's a simple package bent on making power.
On the surface, this Mustang is a stone stocker except for the whitewall radial tires. But never judge a book by its cover. When it roars up a canyon road at wide-open throttle, it doesn't sound like the stereotypical Hi-Po. There's a familiar whine we associate more with late-model, Fox-body 5.0 Mustangs. This is the music and huff of Paxton's new NOVI supercharger for carbureted small-block Fords.
Arnold, who is a Paxton dealer, opted for Paxton's NOVI supercharger because it offers quick and affordable bolt-on performance for small-block Fords with carbureted induction systems. The NOVI blower gives Arnold's Hi-Po a crisp, instantaneous snap when the throttle is opened. Because the engine is built with 10.0:1 compression, Arnold must watch the boost closely. Recommended compression ratios for this blower are around 8.0:1 to 9.0:1 for optimum performance.
When you raise the hood, the Paxton NOVI supercharger looks sharp. So does the huge, polished cast-aluminum plenum that houses the factory Autolite 4100 carburetor. This is a blow-through application that force-feeds the carburetor with pressurized air for snappy performance. And that's just the way Arnold likes it.