The fastback's mostly stock body responds well to hunkering over 17- and 18-inch billet wh
If you can ignore the beautifully detailed, blown 5.0 crate engine for a moment, you'll no
Fellow geezers may remember the black-clad gunfighter "Paladin" from the late '50s CBS TV series, Have Gun-Will Travel (those less ancient than I may have seen reruns.) Prominently displayed on Paladin's calling card and holster was the image of a chess knight, and I vaguely remember being puzzled as to the connection between a chess piece and a guy who dispensed hot lead for a living.
Being too young and stupid at the time to reach for a dictionary, I didn't realize then that the term paladin historically refers to a knightly "heroic champion of a noble cause," more specifically in the court of Charlemagne. Knowing that original definition would have made sense of the show's knight symbology since the benevolent Paladin drew his feared single-action Colt, or backup derringer, only in the pursuit of just causes.
Why the history lesson? To help you understand why Ian Farrell has nicknamed his beautifully understated '65 fastback "Paladin," as spelled out across the carefully smoothed TFS Track Heat intake manifold, complete with chessboard knight. He did this not in fond remembrance of the TV western--at 34 he's far too young for that--but rather in the noble spirit of the original medieval definition. Regardless, we can't help but think of this thing as something of a black-clad gunfighter--in this case, armed with a Vortech-blown Ford Racing
Performance Parts 5.0L crate motor packing 477 hp. Yet to focus too much on the power thing would not do justice to the incredible level of detail and craftsmanship found outside, inside, and underneath this nearly-four-year project.
Let's start at the beginning, which was the purchase of a mildly rusty six-cylinder off eBay in February 2002. From the onset, Ian had three goals for what he knew would be an involved project: It had to look like a Mustang. As Ian explains, this "sounds basic, but there are some pretty wild body kits out there." It had to perform like a new car. In other words, it had to be fast, have great handling and braking, and be reliable, safe, and comfortable. It had to have a modernized interior.
The car that debuted for our fall 2005 photo shoot certainly meets all those demanding criteria, yet the project got off to a horrific start when Ian experienced nothing but financial grief from the shop he initially chose to begin the restoration/modification. Many of us can relate, but this little tactical blunder apparently cost upward of $50,000 before Ian could rescue what was at that point barely a rolling shell. His desperate search for another facility eventually led him to Snow's Hot Rods, in Aurora, Ontario, where the project got back on track in short order.
To accomplish Ian's elevated handling goals, the stock front suspension went away in favor of a Mustang II setup (R&C Motorsports) with 2-inch drop spindles, Aldan Eagle coilovers, and a 1-inch antiroll bar. Unable to bear the thought of teaming such a setup with rear leaf springs, he sought more modern alternatives, eventually settling on CTM Engineering's (www.geocities.com/ctmengineering) T5 independent rear suspension system. This setup allowed--demanded, in fact--the use of 18-inch rims out back, and Ian chose 9-inch wide Budnik Arrow Fat Lips, wrapped in P275/40ZR18 BFG g-Force KDs (17x7 Budniks up front with 225/45 KDs.) With coilovers front and rear, ride height is whatever Ian chooses for his mission. Brakes are also up to the task, with Baer's 13-inch Track kit on the nose with two-piston PBR calipers and an 11.5-inch, single-piston combo required by the IRS out back. Ian reports that weight distribution is now a commendable 52 percent front, 48 percent rear.