At the beginning of May, 1965, my wife Cathy and I ordered a new Mustang. We received delivery on June 15th 1965. Our monthly payments were $37.50 on this $2,664.00 car. I know what you’re thinking, WOW $37 a month car payment. However, in 1965 the average income was $6,900.00 or $132.00 a week before taxes. The car has been garage kept since 1968. It has the original paint, engine, transmission and rear. I even have all the original window stickers and paper work that came with the car with my name on everything. This is a true survivor car.
The Story of my “65 Mustang”
Just after it was paid off I got the racing bug. In 1968 I removed the original Engine, Trans, and Rear End, and stored them in a small garage I was renting. I started building the car for ‘Drag Racing.’
Over the next year as funds became available, my brother-in-law Frank, who’s a master mechanic and I worked on the Mustang. We installed a modified 289- 271HP that was putting out 471hp (on paper). We installed a modified Ford 10 bolt Top Cover 4 speed Trans called a crash box and a Hurst Shifter. I put a Mopar rear-end with Dana Power-Lock differential that had heavy axel & splines. Mopar Performance 588 gears were installed because I was going to run it on the 1/8-mile rack. The Suspension was changed slightly, I added 3 rear leaf springs for a total of 5 leaves. This leveled out the car and stopped the wheel hop. Traction bars were added to avoid any rear-end twist, and Up-Locks shocks were installed in the front end for weight transfer. I had a steel drive-shaft made out of 3/8 thick wall tubing, because the first time I tested the car with the original drive shaft it twisted like an old rag and almost pulled it out of the transmission.
During the year of building the track association changed my classification. The car was set-up for 1/8 mile track at Islip Long Island. The class was “M”-Stock, or Modified Stock, this meant some modification to the engine, headers, carburation, but still street drivable. The class became “Super-Stock M”, this class more or less was a full blown modified race car, not easily street drivable unless you’re a street racer. This class change put me against big block Chevys, Fords & Mopar’s, because of the Mustangs weight of 2,840lb, and the High Performance 289cu engine (4.7). The car was fantastic off the line, I would pull a 2 to 3 car hole shot, however, once the big block kicked in I would lose by half a car length nearly every time. As a last ditch effort, I changed the gears in the rear and ran the ¼ mile track at West Hampton Long Island. Once against, the big blocks just about ran me over.
In 1972, we moved to Florida and I raced for about a year in Bithlo, Florida. Florida Drag Racing Rules were a lot different at that time than NHRA rules. They were geared for the good old local boy’s that could pick who they wanted to race against. I raced for about year, but trophies don’t pay for parts or put food on the table. So the car went into the garage.
In 1975 with three children to raise and a house payment we needed money, so I sold all the performance parts, the engine, transmission, and the rear. Thank God I brought all the original parts to Florida when we moved, from NY. In 1985 my two boys Lenny and Steve and my friend Dom put the car back with all the original running gear. I drove it occasionally for about five years, then blew my left knee out which made it impossible for me to push the clutch down, so I just kind of gave up. In 1990 I started driving it again. At this time it only had 44,000 miles on it. I won a few trophies at a car show in 1992, then in 1995 I almost got killed because of the original drum brake system, and again the car went back in the garage.
In March 2017, my brother-in-law Frank came down from Brooklyn for my granddaughters wedding, and stayed with us for a few weeks. One morning out of the blue, he said to me, do you want to get the Mustang running? So with that said, two old men 75 and 72 years old started working on the Mustang like we did 50 years ago. Of course we spent more time laughing, realizing quickly that two old men crawling around under the car would spend more time looking for something to hold onto just to get upright, but it was all good. The close bond we had working together on the Mustang 50 years ago was still there like it was in the old days, Thanks Frank.
We made a couple safety changes, front disc brakes, and a duel master cylinder, but all the other things were all stock replacement parts.
As it sits now, in the photos, this 65 Mustang survivor car has less than 60,000 on it.