You've got to hand it to 27-year-old Anthony Fabiano. From a young age, he knew what he wanted, and kept his nose to the grindstone until it was achieved. At the risk of stating the obvious, we're talking about the impressive '65 2+2 spilling across these pages, but you'll get the full picture when we explain that this first-gen Mustang is Anthony's very first car-purchased at age 17. Lest you construe that Anthony was cruising his local high school in a full-blown restomod, he wasn't. Rather the iteration seen here is the result of a 3-year restoration project that was completed in 2005.
We speak frequently to the importance of generating interest in classic Mustangs amongst younger generations, and Anthony's experience is a terrific example. "My cousin John Pezzolesi has been into classic Fords for years, and I vividly recall riding to shows in the early 1990s in his '68 California Special. It was great fun," says Anthony, and it clearly set the hook. After nearly a year of searching, Anthony found what seemed like a great steed in 1999, but the beauty turned out to be skin deep. "I was poking around under the car a couple of months after I bought it, and realized the undercoating was covering substantial amounts of rust." Chalk it up to a tough lesson learned, but we can imagine the sinking feeling Anthony must have had. Fortunately the car had enough integrity for a couple of years of daily driving, whereupon an all out teardown ensued.
The initial resto idea Anthony hatched with cousin John, was a modern interpretation of one of Holman and Moody's '65 A/FX drag cars-bright orange paint and all. Great idea, but how did the build morph into the very cool, but decidedly different approach seen here? Anthony explained how the snowballing momentum of the restomod movement eventually swayed him to something more contemporary. That said; a cookie-cutter approach wasn't what he had in mind, instead blending a variety of Mustang influences into a veritable dream machine.
From the outside, there's an undeniable Shelby influence what with the fastback profile, GT350 hood, and R-model front valance, and yet Anthony didn't want a blatantly Shelby theme. To that end, he also has a carbon-fiber teardrop hood which he swaps at his whim-a remnant of his original A/FX vision. As for the front valance, well, over the course of time we've seen every rendition imaginable-including radical one-off customs. In the end, this author's opinion is that there's not a one that equals the original Shelby competition piece-in this case, a streetable version that allows for front bumper use.
Hours of metalwork were performed by J&M Autobody before the car was ready for a two-stage PPG topcoat in Pepper Gray Metallic. If you have to ask, yes, it's the same color as Eleanor, and was shot by Sunshine Auto Body in Langley, British Columbia. Complementing the subtle exterior (compared to orange any-way) is rolling stock from a completely different era. The 17-inch wheels are the popular "Bullitt" rims which debuted on the '01 Mustang, while the effective front disc brakes debuted on the '93 Cobra R. Anthony started with caliper brackets from Mustang Steve, which allowed mounting the twin-piston PBR calipers and corresponding 13-inch rotors. FRPP discs bring up the rear, while further inboard is a genuine K-code 9-inch filled with 3.70 gears, Traction-Lok dif, and a nodular case.
Until the hood comes up, the exterior will leave you guessing as to the motivation within. Is it a four-cam mod motor? How about a fuelie 5.0L? While either would fit right in with Anthony's blended era effort, the underhood view is decidedly old school. Call it "old-school cool" considering the original 289 is built to Hi Po specs, and topped with a vintage Paxton blower massaged by Craig Conley. Other period pieces include a C90X aluminum high rise, Cobra valve covers and oil pan, and Tri-Y headers. An Engle solid lifter cam, MSD Boost Timing Master, and modified Holley 650 support the effort-all put into play via a World Class T5 five-speed.
As the saying goes "good things come to those who wait," and while Anthony didn't have to wait as long as some for completion of a first-class ride, he clearly exercised patience, hard work, and good judgment. We think there's little doubt that Anthony is a classic enthusiast for life, and part of a younger generation that will help steer our hobby in the years to come. Based on the results of his first effort, the future appears to be in good hands.
Anthony Fabiano's '65 Mustang fastback
Original '65 289 block with Hi Po main caps
Stock 289 crank, prepped
Hi Po 289 connecting rods
TRW forged pistons
Engle solid lifter cam
'65 289 iron cylinder heads, ported and polished, 1.94/1.60-inch stainless valves
Crane roller rocker arms
Ford C90X aluminum high-rise intake manifold
Holley 650 double pumper carburetor, modified for supercharger
Paxton ball-drive supercharger, 6 psi of boost
Pertronix and MSD 6AL/BTM
'93 World Class T5 five-speed
Nodular case 9-inch
Metallic ceramic coated Tri-Ys
Flowmaster two-chamber mufflers
2 1/2-inch pipe
Front: 620 coils, KYB shocks, 1-inch sway bar, GT steering box, Shelby pitman/idler
Rear: 1-inch drop high-rate leaf springs, KYB shocks, subframe connectors
Front: Ford Mustang Cobra, 13-inch disc, two-piston PBR caliper
Rear: Ford Racing, 11-inch disc, single-piston caliper
Front: '01 Ford Mustang Bullitt, 17x8
Rear: '01 Ford Mustang Bullitt, 17x8
Front: BFGoodrich G-Force T/A, P245/45ZR17
Rear: BFGoodrich G-Force T/A, P245/45ZR17
Shelby-style rollbar, Shelby 3-inch seatbelts, Shelby dash pod with Ford Racing gauges, Auto Meter gauges, Deluxe Interior package, LeCarra steering wheel, AM/8-track radio
PPG basecoat/clearcoat Pepper Gray Metallic, billet grille, hoodpins, Shelby fiberglass hood, custom 289 fender badges, billet GT gas cap