John Gilbert Staff Editor
November 19, 2015

In mid-1964 when the Mustang made its debut at local Ford dealers, it caused quite a stir. My firsthand memories are of the very first Mustang Ken Roggy Ford in La Puente, California, premiered. There was a crowd of people around it and as I remember it was a base model six with a stick in Springtime Yellow with a Parchment Pony interior.

It wasn’t just everyday people that were attracted to the Mustang right out of the gate—it won the Tiffany Award, and in early 1965 the highest award from the Industrial Designers Institute— the Bronze Medal. And although its fun to remember the days of brand new, unmolested examples sitting on a dealer’s lot, back then the first thing any red-blooded youth worth his ration of adolescent impulses would do was to hop up or customize the first Mustang he could get his hands on.

We’ll start with a look at then-customizer Chuck Porter’s Hot Rod magazine tech article on installing a custom grille into his ’65 2+2. Of special interest is the 1965 Pontiac GTO hood scoop Chuck grafted into the fastback’s hood.

The Mustang was a worldwide success with tuners and customizers producing works from the far reaches of the world. Here’s a 1967 Mustang that started out life in California and found itself a highly modified resident of Australia thanks to some talented Aussies and a bunch of Ringbrothers parts.

Bob Austin’s Poppy Red 1965 2+2 with a 408-inch stroker and Detroit Speed suspension. Austin found this 1965 project the way most of us would love to—as a restored and professionally modified California example. “It actually started out as a pretty decent car,” Austin said, explaining that it even appeared on a Chris Alston’s Chassisworks catalog cover.

Scott Sanford’s 1966 Mustang C-code coupe got the Eleanor treatment. The car was in poor condition overall when Scott got it, saying, “The body was dented and the paint was in bad shape, interior ripped but with little to no rust, it was a good candidate for restoration.”

Bill Snyder's relationship with this unusual '65 Mustang goes back to the spring of 1965 when he spotted a photo of a shortened fastback in the May 1965 Motor Trend. The three-page story, titled"Village Car Show," covered a sports car display at the Henry Ford Museum. A photo of a fiberglass two-seater"Mustang III" caught Snyder's attention, especially when he read,"This shortened, lightened version is for sale."

Gateway Classic’s Coyote wild 1969 Mustang. It was going to happen sooner or later. With the Mustang’s new 412hp Coyote 5.0L engine now available as a crate engine from Ford Racing, it’s only natural that the hot-rodders among us would seize the opportunity to drop the best Mustang engine ever into a classic Mustang.

They say history often repeats itself. But for Stewart Bittle, that means heading off to college in the '67 Mustang fastback that once belonged to his dad's college roommate. Bittle's dad is J. Bittle, president of JBA Speed Shop and well known in the Mustang community for his many years of building and racing Mustangs.

At SEMA 2010 the Ringbrothers debuted Enter the Dragon, their 1970 Mustang SportsRoof. The Dragon was not only the talk of the show, it also drove away with the prestigious Mother's Shine Award. Presented each year by car-care company Mothers, the Shine Award honors uncompromising excellence in vehicle design. It's an honor just to be selected among the 12 finalists, but in 2010, the Dragon took the top spot, as selected by an international panel of respected members of the automotive industry.