Some cars live forever.
Steven Cox | 1965 Ford Mustang Coupe
In life, there are some cars that just have a reputation of their own. Head of the family, leader of the corporation, top of the table. However you choose to describe them they are the well respected figurehead throughout the family and their pedigree is very, very rarely contested.
For me, the Ford Mustang is one of those cars, none more-so being the 1965 model. The original, the classic, the head of the table...
"I've always had a big thing for American muscle. My Father used to do Derby when he was younger and just the raw feeling and power that comes from a V8 classic is unmatched.
I inherited a 2016 Mustang GT from my Father that he bought from new (that I claimed from the get-go). It was always laughed about and teased that it was my inheritance, unfortunately, a couple of years ago I was diagnosed with Neuroendocrine Cancer.
Luckily my life has been lived to the fullest at every opportunity so I have never had any worries or regrets in living it. It just meant that moving forward I was going to carry on living like that.
The diagnosis brought along some uncertainty of how long I may live for. It could be 40 years or it might be 1. My Father therefore made the decision to pass over the keys to me sooner than he intended. I loved using it daily and making it my own was a blast but nothing still beats an old school classic, so we went on to purchase a classic 1965 Mustang. Being one of the firsts and the only one with the sweeping speedo giving it the interior I love so much."
Life is a strange and untameable mistress that can throw indescribable pain and joy within moments of each other. The skill is learning how to take what you have and enjoy every last second of it, embracing your passions and making the most of what you love. For Steve, the passion is for everything petrol powered.
"I've grown-up around my Grandad and Father both doing a lot around cars in their life. I've never been the big party type of person, so when others were busy doing that on the weekends or evenings, I was helping out on cars until I was able to start messing with my own. Since that stage, if I'm not doing something to one of my cars I get into a pretty down state. Keeping my hands busy keeps my mind occupied and I end up learning a tonne at every opportunity."
This car has been subject to some serious tinkering. Having a fully rebuilt and bored-out 1979 302 (5.0) V8 engine dropped under the bonnet pushes the power output of this classic to over 280bhp.
To handle that sizeable increase in power, Steve has completed a full front & rear disc brake conversion, swapping in the components from an early 2000's Mustang, and adding new brake lines throughout.
It's not just the performance of this car that has been addressed as the interior has received its fair share of love. A full reupholstering of the carpets and seats with additional final touches added in the form of horses on the backrests!
"The build path I was taking is a more RetroMod; classic track styling with a more modern engine, 5-speed manual box and full brake disc conversion all-round. It's keeping the classic old looks but making it a lot more modern under the skin so it never has to be treated gently due to it being too old. We were on the fence about adding a period correct track decal which was part of the original plan, but we've become so attached to the clean red with black & chrome accents that we haven't been able to pull the trigger."
When you've gone to the extent of having a full windows-out respray in the original Poppy Red before replacing all of the chrome and fixings for brand new, custom equivalents, dressing that all in a livery would be a tough pill to swallow. With all of the work conducted, there must have been some snagging points along the way...
"Trying to go my own way while still making it look like not much has changed was the biggest challenge. There's a lot of Mustangs out there that have done this and done that, so it was all about trying to find what works for me.
Most of all it's been about ignoring the people that state the obvious; you ruined a classic, that's not how a classic should be, I don't like that wing, I don't like that... [insert issue here]."
In the car world there's a significant segment of the industry that prefer things just being left how they are... the purists. As advocates for all things modified they sit on the opposing position of the spectrum to us. To break out the 21st Century's best known spectrum for judging people, if we're Nando's Extra Hot, they're Lemon & Herb. We're just different.
All that matters at the end of the day is whether you enjoy driving and of course, looking at your car.
"The Mustang is used as often as possible. It sleeps in a garage but doesn't live in there. Using it is a lot more of an enjoyable chore as you get to hear every bit of your surroundings and the V8 grumbling low in the rev range as you cruise along. Plus all of the updated underpinnings make it much easier to drive than what it would have been originally.
It does drink. In-fact it used to be £1 per mile! So, I've just learned to stop measuring it now and just fill up as I go. It does draw a tonne of attention which is something you just have to expect with driving any of the cars that people love to make their own."
And make it his own he has. I absolutely love this build. It's a classic American muscle car with updated modern features that give it the driving prowess we love about modern cars. You can enjoy this car properly with minimised worries about it suffering from those all too common age related problems.
What's best about this is that Steve has also inspired future petrol heads with this build...
"The best memory so far is me and the kids just shooting out for some pics of the car. When we got to the location, there was an open area and OBVIOUSLY you have to ensure your rear end is still working well so I blasted it around a few times. I completely forgot the kids had never been in the car when I usually play. Their faces of excitement were amazing. My son just shouted out, 'it's like a rollercoaster', then was adamant that we needed to do a few more before we left!"
Steve's car is classic and despite the heart-breaking circumstances in which this beauty has been created, the joy it brings is worth more than anything. The Mustang is a timeless automotive icon and again, with the help of Steve's work and influence, continues to inspire future generations of petrol heads. Who knows, one day Steve's son may be having one of his builds featured in DAILIED...
283bhp at Rear Wheels
1,206kg w/o Driver
Adjustable Electronic Steering
Uprated Shocks & Springs
8" Eaton TrueTrac LSD
Rear Axle Track Bars
Strut & Export Brace Up-Front
Wheels & Tyres:
American Racing Torq Thurst 2
17" x 8 Front
17" x 9.5 Rear
Fully Rebuilt 1979 302 (5.0) V8 Bored Out 30 Over
Full MSD Ignition System
Edelbrock 4 Barrel Carb
Long Tube Headers
Magnaflow Exhaust w/ Cut-Offs
Uprated Radiator & Cooling System for Heavy Use
Borg Warner T5 World Class 5-Speed Manual Transmission
Full Respray in Original Poppy Red
New Chrome & Fixings Throughout
Shelby Side Scoops
Functional Bonnet Scoop
Lower Front Valance
Custom Aluminium Rear Spoiler
LED Rear Tail Lights
Reupholstered Seats & Carpets w/ New Foam & Factory Optional Leather Seats w/ Horses on Backrests
Aftermarket Centre Console w/ Autometer Gauges
Hurst 5-Speed Shifter
Aftermarket 3-Point Seatbelts Front & Rear
Forever Sharp Steering Wheel
Original Look Modern Stereo Upgrade
All Chrome & Original Gauges Re-done