Give Vancouver, Washington's Dave Lennartz a pat on the back for trying. You see, in an attempt to interest his wife in the automotive world he thrives on, Dave purchased this '65 GT in 1999. At the time, the gorgeous black coupe stood as a stock restoration piece or just the ticket for a woman who didn't give a hoot about compression ratios, roller cams, or chassis dynos. As it turns out, other interests never allowed Dave's better half to become enamored with the car, so he did the next best thing, tweaking it to his liking.
It's hard to pinpoint just when Dave realized the driving force behind the '65 would be distinctly masculine, but when he did, he took this first-year Pony to Larry Berkovich at West Coast Restorations for what we'd call a well-justified kick in the pants. As Dave told us, "neat as the car was, there just isn't much excitement to be had from a stock 289 four-barrel, C4, 3.00 gear combination." The project was in good hands. In addition to impeccable attention to detail, Berkovich and company have the same penchant for performance that courses through Dave. Initial plans were to perform a few bolt-ons to the factory 225hp small-block, but things quickly progressed from there. You see, Dave became enamored with a particular engine Larry had sitting at the shop, one which would do the double duty of drawing a crowd at car shows and giving an ear-to-ear grin when the go pedal was mashed.
Said powerplant is a .030 over 289, machined, balanced, and assembled by Northwest Ford specialist Dave Bliss. The innards consist of the various sundries that make for any good performer; forged flat-tops, stainless valves, top-quality fasteners, and so on. More good stuff comes in the form of a healthy hydraulic bumpstick, roller rockers, gennie Hi-Po cylinder heads, and Hi-Po exhaust manifolds. The crowning touch is the triple two-barrel carb setup offered by Ford's parts department of the era. Such induction dominates the underhood view and teams with the Cobra valve covers and oil pan for a veritable extravaganza of factory cast-aluminum. We'd be remiss if we didn't credit bodyman Randy Sargent for some expert hood-brace massaging; something we were surprised to hear was necessitated by the big oval air cleaner.
With the nod for a new engine, the time seemed right for freshening the remaining drivetrain in the form of a beefed-up C4 and a 3.50 geared Traction-Lok 8-inch rear. Rolling stock is a distinctive "day two" period look, bucking today's trend towards big-inch castings. Remember, the largest wheel available on this car when new would've measured a whopping 14 inches, and many enthusiasts of the era stuck to the same diameter when installing aftermarket rims on their pride and joy. Such is the case with the 14x7 five-spokes seen here, a set which Dave picked up on the used market for a relative song. After all, who wants 14-inch mags in a day and age where 16s and 17s are commonplace? Guys like Dave who recognize that with something more than a rubber-band sidewall, the look is right at home with the small wheelwells of the '65/'66 Mustang.