Massive Collection of Readers' Mustangs
Readers’ Rides 2017: We called on our readers to deliver photos and details of their Mustangs, and boy, did they deliver!
Classic Mustangs come in every color, drivetrain, and style you can imagine. From the most concours stock 1965 GT convertible to the popular 1967-1968 restomod or pro-touring fastback with a Coyote 5.0L DOHC swap, there is literally a Mustang “flavor” for every fan. Every month we get the extreme pleasure of sharing our readers’ Mustangs through our “Readers’ Album” department in the back of Mustang Monthly. It is extremely rewarding to read each owner’s story, their dream of ownership, and what the Mustang means to them. Frankly, it’s a shame we can’t publish more each month. It’s been several years since we’ve produced a large readers’ section of submissions, and we felt it was high time we did so again. So, at the beginning of fall 2016, we put the word out, both online at Mustang-360.com and right here in Mustang Monthly’s print issue to pump up our submissions. And boy, did you guys and gals answer the call! We got so many, we not only had enough submissions to fill 15 whole pages in this issue, but we’re set for pretty much all of 2017 for our regular “Readers’ Album” department. Now, don’t go slacking off on submissions, though, as we’ll continue to “bank” them for future issues. And we may just publish another huge readers’ section next year, too, so keep ’em coming!
Like many projects, this 1967 hardtop was a father and son(s) labor of love. Jason, along with his sons Logan (10) and Blake (17), purchased the car on Craigslist, and immediately began stripping the car down once it was in their garage. Parts were ordered at a furious pace while the trio worked on cutting out rust and welding in new metal. They completed the bodywork phase in just three months, working on the car every day after school. Jason painted the car himself on Blake’s 18th birthday. “I shot the car while the kids kept the paint mixed for me,” Jason says. The hardtop features a 347 stroker backed by a C6 automatic transmission, late-model 8.8-inch rear conversion with 3.73 gears, Weld Racing wheels, and a fiberglass hood. The car has won best paint awards and several 1st place awards at local car shows.
Denver, North Carolina
Henry found his 1970 Mach 1 through Autotrader Classics and bought it due to the striking color combination of Aqua Blue with white interior, one of just 52 produced for the 1970 model year. If that wasn’t special enough, the Mach features a 351 Cleveland backed by a Top Loader four-speed. A few bolt-on mods include a Blue Thunder intake with a Holley 600-cfm four-barrel carburetor and a Currie built 9-inch with 3.50 gears wrapped around a limited-slip unit.
After owning a few 1999-2014 Mustangs, Kelly Ballard said she wanted a classic Mustang project to work with her father on. The 1965 hardtop is an original 289, four-speed car that was purchased during 2013, and essentially, was made safe to drive. It was stored for a short time until Kelly and her dad Jim could attack the project with a vengeance. That was September 2014, and the paint and body was tackled first off by Jim Phillips Restoration in Evansville, Indiana. The 289 was rebuilt and upgraded with a Weiand Street Warrior intake and Street Demon four-barrel carburetor, after she read a tech story on Mustang-360 titled “Breathe In, Ride Out.” Additional upgrades include an MSD distributor, MagnaFlow dual exhaust, Grab-a-Trak suspension, and four-wheel-disc brakes behind American Racing Torque Thrust-D wheels. On the inside, a full TMI interior with Sport foam and new gauges dresses up the hardtop.
Randy had a 1969 428 CJ Mach 1 with only 64,000 miles on it when he sold it in 1982 for $2,500 through a classified ad in Mustang Monthly (oh, for a time machine!). It was his daily driver to school and work, even using tire chains during the winter snowstorms! Now 54, Randy found a replacement for his Mach back in 2002, thanks to the modern classifieds we call eBay. It was in central Pennsylvania, and Randy drove the car the 265 miles back to his home. He rebuilt the engine, upgraded a few safety items, and proceeded to drive it. Eventually, Randy succumbed to the desire to strip the car and perform a rotisserie restoration on it. The project stalled for a while as he put their kids through college, but it was finally completed in 2014. Now, Randy enjoys taking his 1969 SportsRoof to work when the weather is nice and attending local car shows.
Marvin & Sharon Gentz
This dreamy 1966 Mustang convertible has been in the Gentz family for 30 years. The Wimbledon White exterior had three paint jobs during that timeframe. The Deluxe interior features two-tone aqua and white, while underhood is the venerable 289ci V-8 with a C4 transmission backing it. In the rear is the stock 8-inch axle. The Gentz love attending as many car shows as they can with their drop-top Mustang.
This 1967 Mustang hardtop was originally purchased to be restored as Charles Mueller’s graduation present for his 16-year-old son. Sadly, time and money were two things in short supply and the car took 12 years to complete. Over those 12 years, Charles installed a 302ci V-8 crate engine with an AOD four-speed automatic overdrive transmission. The 8-inch rear was rebuilt to take the newfound power, while up front Charles added a rack-and-pinion steering upgrade. Suspension upgrades include anti-sway bars front and rear, new shocks and springs, and classic Cragar SS wheels. Inside was completely updated with new upholstery and an A/C system. The custom paint is called Purple Haze—yes, after the Hendrix song of the same year. “This was truly a labor of love. This Mustang combines the style of a great looking car of yesteryear with the drivability of today’s cars,” Charles says.
Often cars lead multiple lives over the years we own them. Take for example Dave Wilson’s 1976 Mustang Cobra II. The car was campaigned in the SCCA Solo II and Pro Solo up until 1985 when Dave retired the car to start a family. Once things settled down, Dave brought the Cobra II out and built up the nice street version you see here. Under the custom 1970 shaker scoop sits a 302ci V-8 with a stock crank swinging forged TRW pistons cut down for a 9.5:1 compression ratio. The short block was fully balanced and blueprinted. Heads are 1970 351 Windsor castings that have been pocket-polished and gasket-matched with screw-in rocker studs, guide plates, and hardened exhaust seats added along with a Crane cam and roller rockers. An Edelbrock Performer intake was used to achieve the correct shaker to hood clearance coupled with the Holley 4160. A 1994-1995 Mustang T-5 five-speed sits in the tunnel. The body is relatively stock except for the nose, which was extended an inch, the turn signals relocated, and a front spoiler from the 1979 JC Penny catalog added. Wheels are 15-inch Progressives wrapped in BFG G-Force Sports and the suspension features lowering coils and custom Eaton leafs out back. Four-wheel disc brakes were installed, as well.
When you tell someone you have a classic Mustang, many imagine the 1965-1966 hardtop. It has become the iconic image of the first generation of Mustangs, no doubt. That’s pretty much how Jeff Brooks feels. Save for one 1966 fastback, which he didn’t keep very long, he’s owned nothing but hardtops. Jeff is now 54, but when he turned 18 in 1980, he purchased his first 1965 hardtop through the Edward Towe Ford Museum where his grandfather worked. Jeff worked there alongside his grandfather, so he could purchase it. Now, six Mustangs later his latest 1965 hardtop is a pure restomod build and his son Sean, who just turned 16, has his own 1965 hardtop project, as well. Jeff’s hardtop is painted Arrest Me Red and has homebuilt LED taillights, H4 headlights, and a pop-open gas cap. Inside Jeff added MP Custom Products’ interior panels with Scat Pro Car buckets, a TMI Products full-length console, power windows, tilt column, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and Lokar pedals. Under the hood, sits a Ford Performance 5.0L pushrod crate engine with Edelbrock induction and MSD ignition pieces, bolted to an AOD transmission. Suspension upgrades include Flaming River rack-and-pinion, CPP mini subframe kit, VariShocks, and a 9-inch rear suspended by a Rod & Custom Motorsports Four-Link.
The Brittany Blue 1967 hardtop Chris meticulously built over a period of eight years actually started nearly a decade prior when his neighbor handed him a free 302 engine and AOD transmission from the neighbor’s F-150 pickup, which was being upgraded. Chris took the small-block in to teach himself how to rebuild an engine, something he’d always wanted to do. The rebuild of the engine and transmission took Chris nine months in his spare time, but it wouldn’t be until nine years later, 2010 to be exact, that he would actually crank the engine over and hear it run for the first time. During those nine years Chris picked up the hardtop as a rolling shell and went through every aspect of it, rebuilding the suspension and brakes, reupholstering the seats, and doing rust repair before sending it off to Gillis Performance Restorations for the paintwork. The hardtop takes class awards wherever it is shown, and the Mustang has been affectionately christened “Blue Belle.”
Mustangs have been imported into countries all over the world, including Sweden, as evidenced by this beautiful red 1966 convertible. Lars tells us this is his wife’s Mustang. First imported into Sweden in 1997, they’ve owned the convertible since 2010. It’s a fair-weather driver with a 302ci small-block and C4 automatic. The original power steering was converted to a Borgeson power assist unit, and Lars updated the standard interior to the Interior Décor “Pony” upholstery himself. “This winter I renovated the engine in my small villa garage and put on a Edelbrock E-Street top end kit with a four-barrel Edelbrock carburetor on top. New motor mounts, shock absorbers and coilspring saddles were needed, as well. The engine bay was stripped down to bare metal, rust holes were repaired, and then it was painted black,” Lars says.
The 1965 hardtop you see here has been with Michael for 20 years. It was his first car at 15—a project car for Michael and his dad to work on. Early on, they did basic repairs to keep the car on the road during high school and part of college, but then like most projects, life got in the way, marriage, a house, and such. Michael spent about five years, off and on (money and time permitting), to get the hardtop back on the road. Originally Wimbledon White with a red interior, the hardtop was repainted the silver from a 2007 Mustang. The 289 and C4 transmission remain and the only add-on is power steering. The 17-inch wheels with Wilwood disc brakes make for better starting and stopping, while H4 headlights and LED taillights help with nighttime visibility.
For several years, Tonya Kinney dreamed of owning a Mustang. Scouring the online classifieds looking at all manner of years and body styles, she even went so far as to test drive a leftover 2008 Shelby GT500 that was special ordered and never picked up, but the asking price was too much. She did find a 1965 fastback online as well, but it wasn’t a local sale. Tonya’s boyfriend at the time (and now husband), Bill, surprised her with a trip. Once airborne, he explained they were off to go look at the fastback in Michigan. A Ford executive who was moving to Germany owned the fastback, and the car had been updated with a T-5 five-speed behind the 289 and new interior. They bought it on the spot. They married in 2009, and the Mustang has been a part of their lives ever since. In 2013, it was given a custom Twilight Blue Metallic paint job with custom silver stripe with Shelby hood and side scoops.
Walter Abarca says his 1968 Mustang hardtop has a military green paint job, and being in the Marines it must have been easy to score some paint! While the outside may be understated, Walter has put a lot of time into his Mustang over his eight years of ownership, including swapping in a 5.0L V-8 and AOD from a Lincoln Mark VII, even keeping the 5.0L HO’s EFI. On the interior, you’ll find Fox-era Mustang buckets up front and a custom-made center console that Walter designed and built himself. Walter had found the Mustang in Sacramento, so he flew there and drove the Mustang back down to the Los Angeles area where he lives.
Peachland, British Columbia, Canada
This sharp-looking convertible is owned by Craig Radford in Canada. He found it in Seattle, Washington, via Craigslist and imported it back into his country as a restoration project. The Mustang had been painted silver, but its true color should be Emberglo. We’re glad to see Craig put it back to the correct color, as Emberglo with the black Pony interior is truly a striking combination. Throw in a C-code 289ci V-8 with C4 automatic trans behind it, power steering, power drum brakes, Rally Pac, foglights, console, Styled Steel wheels, and more, and you can see what a great driver this 1966 convertible is!
Didier & Kristin Benichou
Winter Haven, Florida
Several Mustangs inhabit the Benichou garage, including a 1968 hardtop and a Fox Mustang 5.0L hatch, but the latest build, a 1967 convertible, is what Didier and Kristin wanted us to see. The convertible has been a 10-year project. What started off as a base inline-six Mustang with no options is now rolling the streets of central Florida with a 5.0L V-8 swap with Fox Mustang EFI. The venerable AOD four-speed automatic resides in the tunnel, shifted by a 2005-up Mustang shifter assembly sitting in a custom Benichou-designed and built console. The convertible features power steering and A/C and swapped in 2005 Mustang seats for a comfortable ride. The body is pretty much how Ford designed it, except for a rear-mount power antenna, a custom rear valance with quad tip exhaust poking through, and 2005-up Mustang exterior door handles. Didier did all the work himself, even painting the car in a friend’s converted barn shop.
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Not only are 1969 Mustang GTs fairly rare, Nevin Flanders’ Silver Jade SportsRoof is all original, as well. Nevin’s dad (who has two 1969 Mach 1s of his own) found the car in pieces in the United States. The pair put it back together enough to be able to drive it back to Canada where Nevin promptly blew the car apart again for a proper cleaning and to fix a few small issues. The GT SportsRoof features a 351 4V backed by a four-speed manual trans, perfect for cruising, and cruise Nevin does. He drives it as much as he can with his family and says his two little girls love.
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
When looking to build a fun-to-drive Mustang, Rob Nagy went for the mild restomod option. He picked up this 1965 hardtop from Fargo, North Dakota, and built it as a boulevard cruiser with a Ford Performance Racing Parts 306ci V-8 crate engine topped with MSD’s Atomic EFI. Backing it is a TKO-600 five-speed and 9-inch rear with tire twisting 4:11 gears. A full Street or Track suspension and four-wheel disc brakes help keep the hardtop shiny side up while the MagnaFlow 2 1/2-inch exhaust ensures everyone around experiences the hearty rumble of a cammed small-block Ford. Rob topped off the build with Sikkens base/clear in factory Raven Black with a red interior.
Costa Mesa, California
According to Sam, it’s easy to find clean, rust-free cars in Southern California, so keep that in mind when you’re looking for your next project car! Sam found this 1966 A-code hardtop almost 10 years ago. It was his favorite color, Wimbledon White, had a strong running 289 4V with C4 transmission, and the price was right—sold! Sam found a little rust in the passenger door and repaired it, carefully blending the paint so as to prevent repainting the whole car. While Sam tackled a lot of weekend projects on the hardtop over the years, he said he left the big stuff to Mustangs and Fast Fords OC. While aiming for a nice restoration, Sam did deviate a little with a dual-bowl master cylinder, front disc brakes, 15-inch wheels, and dual exhaust.
In 1968, the GT/California Special, more commonly known as the GT/CS, combined Shelby styling with the popular hardtop body style. It was one of Daniel’s favorite looks, so he decided to find one for himself back in the early 2000s. “After spending some time on the California Special website, I discovered the father of the GT/CS was a Shelby Prototype called ‘Lil Red.’ More digging turned up some old black-and-white pictures, and a little detail (thank you Paul Newitt!) on the prototype. I decided I had to have one!” That’s when Daniel found this 1967 hardtop. He scoured eBay for Shelby parts to make his dream come true, and shipped the parts along with the car to NorCal Mototsports in Sacramento, California. Five years later during 2009, the Mustang was complete. Now sporting a Candyapple Red top coat, a 408ci Windsor stroker, C4 automatic, and a 9-inch rear, Daniel had the car shipped back home to Sweden where it only sees summer driving weather.
The 1965 fastback seen here is supposed to be Honey Gold, the same color as the 1965 fastback Travis had previously sold and vowed to have again someday. When someday came, he picked this fastback up planning to paint it back to its correct Honey Gold. For some reason, the red hue stuck and Travis has been enjoying it since. Power is from a roller cam’d 331 stroker V-8 and Holley’s Terminator EFI setup. MagnaFlow exhaust gives it the rumble he desired, and Travis rows his own with a T-5 manual transmission using a Modern Driveline hydraulic clutch setup. For suspension, Travis did the Arning/Shelby drop up front and mid-eye leafs out back. TCP chassis support bits, Street or Track Bilstein coilovers, and 13-inch front discs round out the updates underneath. Rolling stock consists of 2001 17-inch Mustang GT wheels wrapped in P225/45R17 front and P245/45R17 rear BFG G-Force SportComp 2s. Inside is Old Air Products A/C, Electric-Life power windows, a full brace of Auto Meters, and Scat Procar Rally seats. “The car is a true driver. I’ve logged thousands of miles thrashing around the canyons in LA and Ventura Counties, and driving it to and from Texas. Most recently, I drove it out to Texas for the 2016 Hot Rod Power Tour where it was subjected to 100-degree-plus daily temps with no problems,” Travis says.
The 1969-1970 SportsRoof body style is very popular among enthusiasts, probably due to the special models like Boss and Mach created at the height of the muscle car era’s hp wars. James’ 1969 Mach 1 was an early built San Jose car (November of 1968 build date) and was an honest-to-goodness R-code packing a 428 SCJ big-block with four-speed and Drag Pack option. The color is Royal Maroon and James has owned it since 1987! Currently the Mach 1 cruises the Douglas streets with a 351 Cleveland and four-speed combination under the hood.
Some of our readers are people of few words; Bob is certainly one of those. However, we wanted to share his Mustang with all of you, as who doesn’t love a Vintage Burgundy Mustang convertible? Bob’s is a 1965 Mustang, and he added a burgundy convertible top to it instead of the typical black top. He says it’s running a “289 Hi-Po and automatic,” but since the 1965 Hi-Po was four-speed only, we’re guessing Bob’s convertible has a C- or A-code 289 with some upgrades to make it a “Hi-Po” engine.
This 1965 fastback was originally Wimbledon White, but Jeff decided after seeing a picture of a Mustang decked out in Shelby bits with stripes to give his fastback the same look. He tackled the repaint himself in his garage, adding not only the Shelby Le Mans stripes, but the stripes on the rear quarter panel over the wheel openings. The obligatory Shelby hood, quarter scoops, and modern Shelby wheels finish the look. The fastback sports a 289ci V-8 with C4 automatic. The family also owns a 1968 GT/CS hardtop clone he built for his son, and an early Bronco.
You might think hot and dry climates like Arizona are a great place to find a rust-free classic Mustang. Well, you’d be right about the rust part, but the hot desert sun really does a number on everything else, especially if the car has been sitting for at least 20 years like Joshua’s 1966 hardtop. He found the car in Phoenix, and when he opened the hood, a family of cats that had been living in there jumped out! After a year of stripping the car down, cleaning it all out, and making his planned upgrades, the hardtop is almost ready for the road with a new Antique White with pearl paint job complimented by a set of 2005 Mustang GT wheels. It still has the 289 V-8 under the hood, now running a new cam, Edelbrock intake, and a 650-cfm four-barrel. The C4 is long gone, replaced by a Tremec five-speed manual along with a 9-inch rear and 4.10 gears. With cats also living inside, he gutted the interior and replaced it with “TMI everything,” as Joshua says, including its molded one-piece headliner.
Las Vegas, Nevada
It’s not often we come across an original owner, but that’s exactly what you’re seeing here in Steve’s 1966 Mustang GT fastback. His father had bought it new in 1966 as an incentive for Steve to attend and graduate college. It was his daily driver from 1966 until 1973 and used as a second car from 1973 to 1978. At that time, the fastback had been put into storage. During 2013, Steve lost his storage and decided it was high time to restore the fastback. “It was restored at the Mustang Ranch in Murray, Utah. It was originally Springtime Yellow with a 289 2V and three-speed manual. Now, it is a Ruby Red GT, five-speed, four-barrel, with A/C, and more,” Steve says.
It’s interesting to hear from owners why they bought a certain year, color, or body style. In Jeff’s case, he wanted a 1966 Mustang because he was born in 1966. He picked this Nightmist Blue hardtop up in New Mexico and had it shipped back to Georgia three years ago. He had Gordon’s Classic Restorations complete a rotisserie restoration on the hardtop, including new paint, Parchment interior, a new 302ci V-8 with GT-40 heads, a rebuilt C4 transmission, and all Scott Drake suspension pieces. “The car and I both celebrated our 50th birthday last week (May 2016) as the project was completed on my birthday at 6 p.m.,” Jeff says.
Jonathan A. Fuss
Treasure Island, Florida
Over the years of Mustang ownership Jonathan has had the pleasure of owning seven different Mustangs, both classic and late model. His first was a 1968 convertible that, like most of us, he wishes he still had. His second Mustang is this 1966 Silver Blue convertible with matching blue interior. Powered by a 289 and C4 automatic combo with Styled Steel wheels, Jonathan found it in a classified ad in September 1995. Besides the convertible, Jonathan also has a 2004 Mustang convertible for a daily driver, and most recently picked up a 2015 Mustang 50th Anniversary Special Edition, number 579 of 1,964 built.
Jason and Gwen Parker
West Friendship, Maryland
It’s not often you can get your significant other interested enough in the Mustang hobby to tag along to events, and it’s even rarer when they want a Mustang of their own. However, Jason and Gwen Parker buck the trend by not only having his and hers Mustangs, but Mach 1s at that! Jason’s 1970 Mach 1 features a 351 Cleveland with FMX transmission, factory Shaker, A/C, and Calypso Coral paint. Gwen’s 1969 Mach 1 is a 351 Windsor with FMX trans and also has A/C. Her Mach is painted in the quite rare Aztec Aqua, which is the original paint. Jason is lucky enough to also own a 1968 Shelby G.T. 500 KR, which he’s had for 44 years.
Scotts Valley, California
There are a lot of Mustang stories, and many of them start with a memory of their first car. That’s how this one goes for Gary, too, as he had a 1968 Mustang many years ago. A friend of his offered up this 1966 hardtop (that had been sitting for nearly 20 years) for next to nothing. He dragged it home, and after discussing with his wife and daughter how the Mustang should be built—as a hot rod or as a daily driver—the ladies of the house won out with the daily driver concept. So, instead of a raucous V-8, Gary slid in a lightly modded inline-six. The 200ci sixxer is capped with a 250ci cylinder head, Carter YF carb, and electronic ignition and is mated to the original C4. The black standard interior was updated to a red and white Pony interior and the outside was bathed in Candyapple Red with a white vinyl top. Power disc brakes, A/C, and power steering enhance the daily driving fun, as do the 15-inch wheels and modern audio.
Ask any Mustang fan, and they’ll tell you the Shelby story front to back. Sadly though, most people can’t afford a real Shelby Mustang, which is why the clone market is so strong. There’s nothing wrong with building one and enjoying your dream either! That’s what Darren did with his 1965 T5 fastback. It’s covered in the obligatory Wimbledon White with Guardsmen Blue stripes and he even replaced the Pony interior with a standard black interior for the proper look. Originally, he had built a proper 289 Hi-Po/Top Loader combo for it, but has since upgraded to a 331 stroker and a T-5 five-speed. Out back is the requisite 9-inch rear. Darren added manual rack-and-pinion steering to his Shelby clone and custom-built his own A/C system, as well. “I have been surprised at how well it rides with the Koni shocks set to the mid position. As you can see, I am not afraid to drive it. One Memorial Day weekend, I got it stuck on a minimum maintenance road. In the process, found out that it is an above average ‘mudder,’ too,” Darren says.