Mike Paruleski's 1986 Mustang SVO
Dedication is a word that's bandied about a lot in the automotive hobby, but when you meet people like Mike 'Gator' Paruleski, it takes on an entirely different meaning. Mike likes Mustangs, but has a hankering for certain kind of Mustang - the SVO. Whereas many of us are blessed with the ability to go out and order up every part under the sun for our steeds - the SVO crowd has it different. The very last one rolled out of River Rouge plant over 20 years go. Throw in the fact that FoMoCo tends to discontinue parts for a vehicle once it reaches its 10th birthday and then add the element that the SVO has largely been forgotten by the masses, and you begin to understand the level of dedication required if you're nuts about these cars.
"This is my second SVO," says Mike "and I have to say that being part of the SVO Owner's Association has been a big help to me over the last number of years - you probably won't find a more dedicated and hardcore enthusiast bunch than these guys." He's right. For most SVO owners, the search for parts often means scouring the internet for used or NOS bits, contacting fellow enthusiasts, or occasional trips to specialist swap meets or salvage yards - it probably comes as no surprise then that many owners, including Mike have garages with enough parts to build another complete SVO. "One of the mandates of nearly all SVO owners, is to keep our cars on the road, so in order to that, we need to stash away as many parts as we can." And that in a nutshell is how this particular feature came to be what it is today.
"I found it in a field in 2003. It had been sitting in the same spot for a least five years, probably more. The guy who had it wanted rid of it, he wanted it out of the way. The problem with many of these cars is that they are either sold for scrap or parted out and I knew I didn't want that to happen to this one so, cutting a long story short and a couple of insults later I got my hands on this SVO.
My original plan was to just clean it up and make it a driver, with an eye to selling it so I could buy my girlfriend a ring, I still had my first SVO which I'd torn down and completely rebuilt about eight years previously as a full-on, track-ready performance car that can run with the best on the road course and make 12-second passes at the drags, so I figured I didn't really need two of them.
But when the field queen came back from the bodyshop looking all polished and nice Paruleski changed his mind. "I couldn't sell it at that point - unfortunately for my girlfriend - but being the nice guy that I am I went and bought her that ring anyway. She knows that I probably won't be selling this car anytime soon now, but let's just leave it at that."
Although Mike had spent a great deal of time and effort building up his first SVO with a plan from the beginning, it wasn't the same with number two. "I didn't really have a 'direction' for this car - basically all I wanted to do was build this one into something that my other SVO wasn't and do it on a budget."
As you'll have no doubt gathered from the first few lines of this story, building an SVO on a budget isn't as easy as it sounds. "It requires a lot of patience and that isn't one thing I'm noted for," laughs Paruleski. You'd never have guessed from looking at the results.
This '86 may appear to be nothing more than an ol' Mustang with a set of rims on it, but that was Mike's intention all along. "The average Joe will look at this and think, nah, moving on to something that's blinged out with spoilers and big wheels. Me, I kinda like it the way it is - understated. It's not a very pleasant color - there's 10-shades of gray paint on this car, but those who know about SVOs will take a closer look and see the work that's gone into it. Now that, I get a kick out of. Thought about painting it like this halfway through the build."