Collecting Cars

1965 FORD MUSTANG FASTBACK - GT350R TRIBUTE

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This 1965 Ford Mustang Fastback is a stunning tribute to the iconic Shelby GT350R model, wearing unrestored original bodywork, enhanced with some eye-catching additions. While the car started life with a four-barrel 289ci V8, it is now powered by a 347ci (5.7-litre) Stroker engine producing 546bhp, coupled to a five-speed Tremec TKO 500 manual transmission. The odometer shows 74,727 miles, though around 1,300 miles have been covered since a comprehensive mechanical overhaul.

The most obvious modifications to the original appearance include a fibreglass front apron in place of the standard front bumper, 15-inch Torq Thrust wheels, lowered suspension, and a full respray in Wimbledon White with dark blue racing stripes and ‘G.T.350’ motifs.

While the car has been subject to a total overhaul that has seen almost every mechanical component either replaced or changed to a high-performance upgrade, the vendor is keen to stress that the Fastback body panels were found to be all original and in great shape – which means this car offers a likely unique combination of preservation and modification.

This Mustang was built in the famous Ford San Jose Assembly Plant as an original four-barrel 289ci Fastback, and was registered new to a Los Angeles Ford dealer in January 1965. The vendor understands that there were just three owners in the US before it came to the UK, and that the daughter of the second owner had stored the car inside on jack stands for many years due to an issue with the brakes – which accounts for its remarkably original condition under the paintwork. It was brought to the UK and re-registered in September 2012, being kept by its first owner on these shores for five years.

For the last three years, it has been part of a private collection, and during this time it has been refreshed and overhauled to bring it to the exceptional standard it presents in today.

The vendor believes that the original sheet metal has been repainted just twice in the car’s life; the first time around 18 years ago when it was first converted to the GT350R style specification, and the second when it was rejuvenated in early 2020. The car was completely stripped to undertake this work, with the doors, bonnet, boot and bumpers removed, and any worn seals and chrome trim replaced.

It was given a fresh coat of Wimbledon White paint, which presents in immaculate condition, as the vehicle has covered only 50 miles since the application. The fiberglass front apron gives the car the correct GT350R appearance, while there are also cable-secured quick-release bonnet pins, and smart Guardsman Blue detailing over the paintwork. The car features 15-inch Torq Thrust alloy wheels with the centre caps removed, which also present superbly.

During the overhaul, the old paint and undercoat were also stripped off the chassis and frame, and the vendor reports that there was no rust present underneath, and furthermore that the original factory assembly notes were even visible on the suspension – yet another indication of its remarkable originality beneath the upgrades. Rear Mini-Tubs were fitted to accommodate 285-section tyres, along with new sub-frame connectors. Two coats of POR 15 rust protection paint and a topcoat of Wurth underseal were then applied.

The interior of the vehicle has previously been pulled out to clean and repaint the floor pans and install three-point seat belts to the front and back. The vendor has also installed sound-deadening pads and insulation, as well as modern heating and air-conditioning systems, which are digitally controlled, but using the original switches.

The carpets, seats and side panels are also all original, though the vendor notes the dashboard top has been replaced as the Los Angeles heat had caused it to warp. A new gauge face and plastic screen have been installed, as well as a new tachometer and oil pressure gauge. The vehicle comes complete with a radio panel delete – as per a genuine GT350R – as well as a ‘67 Shelby steering wheel and horn push. Finally, the signature on the glovebox was penned by Carroll Shelby himself.

As you would expect given the quality of this car’s cosmetic appearance, it is also in mechanically superb order. A three-link suspension setup is fitted with uprated parts, comprising new coilovers and Bilstein shock absorbers. The front suspension has been upgraded with tubular arms and Bilstein coilovers. The original suspension and steering upgrade components were sourced from Street or Track LLC in the US, and installed in the UK, with final calibration and alignment carried out by Mustang Workshop.

The vendor notes the front brakes are the largest that would fit under the 15-inch wheels, with four-pot calipers and two-piece floating discs, while the rears are also power-assisted disc brakes. All brake lines were replaced with stainless steel items, as were all hoses. A limited-slip differential was fitted and calibrated by Hauser Racing in Wellingborough. The rear axle is a genuine Ford 9-inch housing.

The engine is a brand-new 302ci roller crate engine that has had a 347ci forged stroker kit installed, as well as an Edelbrock intake manifold and cylinder heads, tuned to maximise power and drivability by Vitesse Ltd in Hinckley. A Paxton supercharger, lightweight flywheel, FiTek fuel injection kit and fuel tank with high-pressure pump and front-to-back fuel line have also been installed. There is a McLeod Racing clutch kit, and it has been converted to hydraulic actuation to deliver a lighter and smoother modulation. The car has also been fitted with a completely new wiring harness.

The sump pan is from Canton Racing, and features windage trays to avoid oil starvation under heavy cornering. Also fitted during the overhaul were stainless steel headers with a 2.5-inch stainless custom-made exhaust system. The supercharger is currently running with a large pulley, though the vendor notes an extra 45-60bhp could likely be achieved with a smaller replacement. It has been serviced annually while in the vendor’s collection, with the most recent oil change taking place in July 2020.

The most MOT test was carried out on 6 September 2019, which resulted in a clean pass. The vehicle initially failed a test a few days earlier due to worn brakes, but these issues were rectified. The vendor notes the Avon CR6ZZ tyres have at least 90% of their tread left all round.

This 1965 Ford Mustang Fastback has been modified to a GT350R aesthetic, but remains remarkably original under the paintwork and in the cabin. Its fresh engine has endowed this Mustang with seriously impressive performance, while the substantial mechanical upgrades also mean that it can deploy and handle the power with aplomb. It is presented in superb condition throughout, and would be a credit to any collection of classics – though is of course begging to be driven and enjoyed on the road or track.

All UK-registered cars and motorbikes on Collecting Cars are run through an online HPI check. This vehicle shows no insurance database markers for damage or theft, and has no finance owing.

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