1965 Mustang GT350 Tribute Car

1965 Mustang GT350 Tribute Car


This “A code” was one of the first 1965 mustangs to come off the San Jose assembly line in August 1964; during Ford’s transition from the 260 V8 engine to the venerable 289. The original mustang was painted silver blue (Y Code) and had blue vinyl interior (22 Code) with a white landau top that was added by the dealership. The car was sold by Camelback Ford in Phoenix in October 1964 and, five years later, was purchased by the parents of the current owner with an odometer reading of 22,018. The mustang has remained in Arizona and the ownership has remained in the family. The car remained stock until 2015 when the family decided to begin the process of a complete RESTOMOD to transform the car into a GT350 tribute coupe. The RESTOMOD process began with the removal of all parts from the unibody. After media blasting the frame was covered with etching primer and all necessary repairs to the sheet metal were made.

With the frame in “like new” condition, the process of rebuilding the car began. The goal was to build a mustang that retained the look of a 1965 GT350 while improving the drivability and performance by modifications that are possible using modern technology. Throughout the engineering process, these two goals were maintained and tradeoffs were made to ensure the design goals were achieved. For example, rather than using a modern coilover suspension that would fundamentally alter the looks of the engine compartment — while making the car drive like a modern vehicle — a choice was made to use tubular suspension designed by Global West to replace the OE stamped steel suspension. This improved the drivability and performance of the car but ensured that the look and feel of the original was retained. Braking was significantly enhanced by using a larger rear drum assembly and larger front disk brakes, retaining the original concept employed by Carol Shelby in the original 1965 GT350, but greatly improving the stopping power. The rear end was transformed by removing the stock axel shafts and replacing them with stronger components that were then connected to a Currie Posi Traction third member. In this case, the 8” rear end was retained while, simultaneously, the strength of the later model 9” rear ends was achieved. The rear end of the mustang is connected to the transmission by a custom aluminum driveshaft capable of handling much more HP than the original OE equipment. Similarly, the original C4 automatic transmission has been replaced by a modern Performance Automatic AOD Street Smart system and performance torque converter that have been designed for use with engines producing more than 450 HP. The original block provides the foundation for the engine rebuild. The block was inspected and the cylinders were bored to .30 over. The crank, pistons and rods were replaced with stronger performance parts and the engine rebuild was completed using an Edelbrock Performer RPM power package with a Pro-Flow 3 electronic fuel injection (EFI) system.

This “roller” was then given a custom paint job. Four to five coats of primer were used to cover the entire body. The vehicle was then block sanded and cleaned before masking and cleaning with a solvent. Once completely cleaned a base coat of sapphire blue metallic paint (Ford Color Code G) was applied, a color that was only used in a small number of 1966 GT350s. Once the sapphire blue base coat had dried the stripes and GT350 lettering were added using period correct bright white paint. The body is now laser straight and the bright sapphire blue paint glistens in the light.

Stay tuned for the next steps which will include adding Hedman shorty headers, MagnaFlow dual exhaust, a serpentine belt system, a Ron Davis aluminum radiator. And much more. With the mechanicals nearly finished we are getting close to moving to the interior and getting ready for the Goodguys Southwest Nationals in November.

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