1965 Ford Mustang Fastback
TMI Automotive Products, Inc.
1965 Ford Mustang Fastback
Some families pass down treasured trinkets through the generations to preserve memories for future generations. It can be furniture, jewelry, maybe even lands and titles, but in the gearhead world, it is usually a vehicle that belonged to a previous owner. Many stories told around folding chairs and coolers start with phrases like “Well, it used to belong to my grandpa,” or “My aunt had it and just never drove it that much,” and it turns into “So now it’s mine and I am going to turn it into a love letter to them.”
For the De Leon family, this 1965 Mustang fastback started its life way back when it was purchased new off the lot of Tom Sherlock Ford in Pasadena, CA, in 1965 by Linda De Leon. Linda drove it like anyone would with a new car would. Well, anyone with a sweet ’65 Mustang Fastback would! The Mustang stayed in the De Leon family when it passed from Linda to her son Mario. Fast forward to 2005, and Mario had taken the ’65 through four different builds, making the Fastback cooler and faster each time and now it was time for another go at it.
4th Time Around the Block
For this customization go-round, Mario decided to do a full interior, and being the Sales Manager at TMI certainly helped. He opted for a set of Pro-Series Lowback Seats in Sport XR Pattern (https://www.tmiproducts.com/ford/classic-mustang-1964-1973/1965-mustang) with tan vinyl and tan suede inserts, with TMI’s signature silver grommets running down the middle, all held together with white stitching. The full length center console complete with cup holders, door panels, rear bench, and dash pad were also done up in the same materials and color scheme. But Mario didn’t stop there, he opted for a one-piece headliner, and Sport Trunk Kit all color matched to tie it all together.
The dash was stuffed with Dakota Digital VHX gauges that play off nicely with the Scott Drake billet interior accessories installed through the cabin. As a former stereo installer, Mario knew a thing or two about audio systems and did a doozy. He chose an Eclipse head unit, installed Phoenix Gold components throughout, a pair of JL Audio W3 10-inch subs were installed in the trunk, and a Phoenix Gold 1600 watt 5-channel amp as well.
Fast and Firm
Coming from a long line of car folk, Mario needed to give the Fastback its due in the horsepower department and started with a 302 that was then punched out to 349ci, kicked up with Power 70MM turbocharger and custom turbo headers, Edelbrock intake, a Professional Products PowerJection EFI throttle body, MSD ignition, and Scat crank. With that (current) setup, it pushes 521 hp through the T-5 Tremec into the Currie 8-inch and into the pavement. Rubber meets the road with a set of 18x8 and 18x9 TSW Valencia wheels wearing Mickey Thompson Street Comp tires. Stopping power is handled with a set of Master Power Pro Driver Series disks with a 13-inch in the front and a 12-inch for the rear, both equipped with billet calipers.
All those go-fast parts and big brakes are teamed up with a dialed-in suspension consisting of cut down Shelby coils, Edelbrock IAS shocks with boxed arms and roller perches. The rear suspension starts with Maier Racing 165lb lowered leaf springs and ends with Shockwave shocks.
Expert Level DIY
Being the hands-on guy that Mario is he did the body work himself including blocking out the panels as well as shaving the door handles and trim. He took it one step further and he sprayed the House of Kolor Tagelo Pearl with White Pearl Stripes that actually have ghost flames added in. After the paint had set, he filled in the cowl, and molded the rear valence.
Never Backing Down
The final version you see before you is bright, fast, and is a cherished heirloom that has been passed down through the generations. Mario may not exactly have been around for when the Mustang was brand new, but he has known the car his whole life. And life is precious too. During the time of this build, Mario was diagnosed with Lymphoma. So working as hard as he did was therapeutic for him, gave him a purpose, and most importantly, gave the ‘Stang another lease on life. Now that Mario is cancer free, he has plans of upgrading it for the fifth time, this time focusing on the suspension with perhaps ‘bags or even coilovers. We can’t wait for him to be done!