One of the most distinctive features of the '65 Mustang fastback is the functional ventilation louvers found on the upper section of the quarter-panels. The elaborate devices looked fantastic, were fully functional, and could be opened or closed from the inside to ventilate the cabin as desired. The louvers were a complicated assembly consisting of a cast frame with individual inserts, each with its own decorative grille work. The next Mustang incarnation in '67-'68 still had an ornamental grille here, but it was far diminished in size and looked a little like an afterthought when compared to the ornate and integrated design of the original '65-'66 louvers.
In the Shelby GT350 for '66, these louvers were removed to save weight and improve blind spot visibility. The GT350 quarter-window treatment also happened to look great, and many enthusiasts with garden-variety Mustang fastbacks began to install these quarter-windows, which you could have purchased from Shelby over the counter. Now that the S197 cars come stock with the Shelby-style quarter-windows, it's a little ironic that one of the most popular modifications to the new coupe is the addition of the original '65-style louvers (or covering them with a Shelby-esque stick-on scoop -Ed.).
We have to confess that we do like both schools of thought here. However, the original factory effort on the '65 fastback was so attractive that we can see why S197 owners might want them to make their car a little different from the rest. This is where the folks at SilverHorse Racing come in. They now offer a conversion kit to give your '05-and-up Mustang coupe the look of the original '65 2+2. One advantage of the SilverHorse Racing kit is that even though the car has the look of the original-style louvers on the outside, rear quarter visibility is still possible because the inset area is clear instead of being a functional vent with grille work. In effect, you get the best of both worlds-classic retro looks while retaining your rearward visibility. Best of all, you aren't blocking off the whole window with a scoop.
After touring SilverHorse Racing's facility we travelled down the street to Trick Pro Motorsports in Melbourne, Florida, so its competent crew could show us all how to get the classic louvered look for your S197 Mustang. The unpainted kit is PN S197-300 and costs $159. The kits are available already painted in the factory color of your choice for $334. A window removal kit is available from SilverHorse for $36.95 as well as the urethane sealer and adhesion promoter for $12.95.