Restore or Restomod? 1965 Ford Mustang Fastback

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After the debacle that was the Edsel, Ford Management was naturally gun-shy about approving any radical new vehicles in the early 1960s. Lee Iacocca always claimed to be the “father” of the Mustang, bombarding the Management Board with market research that demonstrated the time was right for the pony car. However, his story stumbles on two key fronts. The first was that the styling and specifications of the original Mustang concept were well advanced when Iacocca saw it for the first time, undermining his claim as its father. More importantly, others involved in the Mustang’s development freely admit that any market research submitted before approval was little more than a work of fiction, with genuinely meaningful research only occurring after the green light was given. Had the project failed, it would have spelled the end of Iacocca’s career. As it was, it became one of the automotive world’s greatest success stories. High production totals leave a purist like me unphased by the seller’s suggestion that this 1965 Fastback would be an ideal candidate for a restomod build. I usually favor preservation, which is a viable option due to this classic’s complete nature. However, with plenty of survivors still plying our streets, sacrificing one for a custom build is acceptable to me. The Fastback is listed here on eBay in West Hartford, Connecticut. Bidding sits at $13,200 in a No Reserve auction. Our own Jonny C spotted this great ‘Stang that offers a world of possibilities.

A bit of digging confirmed that the Vintage Burgundy paint this Mustang wears isn’t original, with the car rolling off the line finished in Phoenician Yellow. It is unclear when the change occurred, but given the size of the mountain facing the new owner, a further change is viable. Although complete, this Mustang has plenty of the usual rust issues for potential buyers to consider. It has impacted all the lower body extremities, but that’s the tip of the iceberg. The car requires new floor pans, a new trunk pan, and there are also issues with the rails. The problems are repairable, but whipping this classic into shape represents more than a weekend’s work. Some trim pieces show pitting, but there’s nothing present that is beyond salvation. The glass is acceptable for a driver-grade restoration with no visible cracks or chips.

The Mustang’s interior is a surprise because its needs are relatively minor. I believe the two-tone seat upholstery and carpet are a later addition, but they present extremely well. Unfortunately, the seats don’t match the door trims, meaning the buyer may choose to replace these to achieve a uniform appearance. The wheel adds a touch of class, but the dash houses an aftermarket stereo. The dash pad is as baked as you are likely to find, and spending $270 on a replacement will be the only course of action. There is a seam split in the headliner. It might be repairable, but with new ones retailing for under $100, that would seem the logical approach. The bright surfaces on the gauge fascia show the expected deterioration, but spending $80 on a new reproduction fascia won’t break the bank.

One reason the Mustang was a roaring success revolved around brilliant marketing. The styling made it look like it cost a million bucks, but if a buyer chose the right specifications, it cost little more than your average family sedan. Ford’s advertising campaign focused on the Mustang as an affordable lifestyle choice, and many buyers took the bait. This car’s original owner selected the T-Code 200ci six, pairing it with a three-speed automatic transmission. With 120hp on tap, the combination doesn’t promise exhilarating performance. With a ¼-mile ET of 18.8 seconds and a top speed of 100mph, that made it the slowest version of Ford’s classic pony car. The seller indicates the car runs and drives, but it has a few needs. The six smokes when first started, but it settles down with no problems. They don’t consider the car roadworthy, suggesting the successful bidder treat it to a thorough inspection before hitting the road. There is another alternative they float, which may be what the five people who have already bid have in their mind. This Mustang would make an excellent candidate for a custom or restomod build, and such an approach is not unprecedented. Slotting almost any Ford V8 under the hood is viable, and kits for most conversions are available off the shelf. If the new owner treads the restomod path, they could upgrade the drivetrain, brakes, and suspension. That would allow them to retain the car’s inherent character in a more civilized package.

I always encourage potential buyers to carefully research any classic before committing their funds, and this 1965 Mustang Fastback is no exception. The supplied photos provide limited information on the extent of its rust issues, but the internet threw me a lifeline. I found a previous auction for this car that ended earlier this month, indicating a successful sale at $22,215. However, the fact that it remains in the same geographic location suggests the owner may have fallen victim to a non-paying buyer. That is always disappointing for a seller, but the listing provided additional photos that showed the work required to return the body to a rust-free state. With what you now know, would you be tempted to pursue it further?

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  1. bobhess bobhessMember

    Regardless what you’d pay for this car, if it was me the first thing I’d do is stuff a V8 and a 4 speed into it. After getting through the alligators I’d then get after the piss ants.

    Like 10
  2. Ed Hoffman

    This 6 cyl couldn’t be slowest they also made a 160 ci 6 also.

    Like 2
    • Rob Parker

      170 6cyl.

      Like 3
  3. Mustang lil Pony

    The additional pictures shows rear rails toast with rust.
    The pictures shown has me questioning torque boxes .
    So floor pans , torque boxes, rear rails ,dash pad, qtr panel rust and a six banger upgrade. Then upgrade bolt patterns on axles to five lugs?

    I like it out but were talking big bucks.

    Drop a coyote motor and upgrade drive train too.

    If i am seeing shark gils beside grille were likely 64.5 year

    Good luck with stang

    Like 2
  4. grant

    Bid up over 16k for a base spec fastback that’s rustier than usual. Nope.

    Like 11
    • bone

      Not rustier than usual for Connecticut ! LOL This car probably had some cheapo (chinese panels) body work years ago , and the underside was just left alone. Now years later ,the cheapo restoration has rotted through, and the near 60 year old undercarriage is really starting to disintegrate . If this is a New England car, and it looks like it, its going to need a lot .For a restoration, its going to need everything including the correct interior , as a restomod, the whole drivetrain has to be changed . It would be interesting to know what the high bidder’s plans for this is

      Like 0
  5. Chip Lamb

    Good honest seller … good for him

    Like 1
  6. CCFisher

    Lee Iacocca was instrumental in selling the Mustang to Ford’s executive leadership. Without his influence, the would likely have been no Mustang.
    Once the project was approved and market research began in earnest, it was Iacocca who saw the potential in the car. He ordered three plants to be tooled up to produce it before a single production car was built, and his career was very much on the line. He did not originate the concept or the design, but he is arguably the father of the Mustang’s enormous success.

    I think this one is painted “Emberglo,” though the last pic does look a bit more burgundy.

    Like 1
  7. Eric B

    Hilarious seeing this. I was heavily involved in the comments section of it’s prior auction of only a couple of weeks ago. I think everyone can deduce what site that would be. Check it out because it’s simply bizarre. I and a couple others were highly suggesting that potential bidders ask for more photos because it appears to be a rust bucket that needs everything. We were met with arrogant responses and one guy bidding like 20 grand out of the blue almost as if to say I’ll show you guys. Finally like a day before the auction close the seller provided more undercarriage photos voluntarily. No one had ever asked up to that point lol. Those photos are not included here and the seller clearly doesn’t want to show more unless asked.

    That site is filled with deep pockets, some with more money than you know what. The buyer obviously backed out once seeing the extent of work needed and as a result they’ll still have to pay the 5% fee and they’ll be banned from the site. Crazy. The mustang fastback market is super crazy, but this one only makes sense for a resto shop to flip or for someone that can do it all themselves.

    Like 6
  8. Johnmloghry johnmloghry

    In one photo I see three pedals but and automatic shifter. looks like someone was planning a change to stick shift perhaps 4 speed, who’s to say. you can easily spend $30k restoring this car, as that’s what my brother spent on the one he had completely restored for his daughter some 20 years ago. She still has it but rarely drives it. It has a 289 automatic with power steering, and yet she’d rather drive her jeep. Oh well there’s no accounting for taste.

    God Bless America

    Like 2
    • Johnmloghry johnmloghry

      My bad, on second look I see it’s a shadow cast across the brake pedal that made me think it had a clutch pedal. At 75 my eyes aren’t quite as good as they used to be, I’ll be getting cat surgery soon to remove them. then maybe I’ll see a little better.

      God Bless America

      Like 7
      • Dannys Mustangs

        Hey John Dannys Shelbys here You are gonna love cats surgery it takes 20 minutes start to finish the next day nyou are going to be so@#$%^ happy . lots congrates. Dannys Mustangs & shelbys. peace out.

        Like 4
  9. Jackie Hollingsworth

    Never was a big fan of the six cylinder Mustangs.

    Like 2
  10. jim

    I had a 65 Rustang with 289 3 on the floor got for $900 pop the clutch in first gear and wheel hop would about bounce you out of the car The rusties ate the car fairly quick

    Like 2
  11. Mountainwoodie

    I like the color combination but the car must have seen duty in the Sahara followed by submarine duty in New London. How can you have it both ways? Sun baked interior partially redone on a base six banger and rust through everywhere else? Its a shame. Bid to 16 grand? WOW! I’m running out of amazement for the asks and bids on cars that should bring one tenth of that. Clearly I am an anachronism. So this is what it’s like to be old. Hmmmmm

    Like 3
  12. Troy

    The way it’s rusted on the underside tells me this car spent a number of years in the ocean air if it’s not in need of a new frame it’s close I like it because it’s a 6cyl you put a header and cherry bomb muffler on it and it still sounds better than the fart can muffler imports. I’m not equipped for a for a frame off resto that this car needs

    Like 1

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