There is an old saying that one should not judge a book by its cover. That's because a glance at the outside only reveals the surface of a story and without digging deeper into the interior, we are only left with a very superficial appreciation. We're all guilty of it; walking around at a car show we pass judgment quickly based on our own biases and assumptions. "Oh, that's obviously a checkbook car," or "He obviously didn't do the work." But, sometimes things aren't as they seem.

Case in point is Guy Evans' gorgeous 1970 SportsRoof Mustang. It oozes high-dollar, six-digit, pro-built status, probably owned by a guy who works very hard at his job to make the money, but leaves the wrenching to others. When we first posted a photo of it on PHR's Facebook page, many of the comments said as much. Honestly, even we initially assumed that it was the product of a shop that obviously knew what they were doing with Pro Touring Mustangs. We were at the 2013 Fabulous Fords Forever show at Knott's Berry Farm in Anaheim, California, and it was parked right next to the Anvil 1969 Mustang, a beautiful high-six-figure masterpiece, and not looking out of place. Just look at that engine bay, and that fabulously slick body with what must be a massively expensive paintjob. There would have been absolutely nothing wrong if that was all true, but it's just flat incorrect.

Once we took the time to stop and chat with Guy, we learned that all of those preconceived notions were baseless. Not only is this Mustang not a pro-built car, it hadn't been at a shop at all during its build. And not only was it not a high-dollar car, it was downright affordable. Over the past five years, Guy built the entire car himself for about $30K including the original purchase price. That's about $500 a month; now tell us that's not a totally realistic budget for building any complete muscle car, much less a showstopper.

You'd be forgiven for assuming that he must have at least started with a pretty nice car to be able to pull off that level of build for that little money; we did the same. Wrong again. While it may look like Mustang royalty now, the 1970 was actually originally a six-cylinder car with a three-speed manual trans, a radio, and nothing else. When Guy first saw it, the engine was sitting on a pallet in the seller's garage and the car was parked next to the garage in the weeds. It was a project car extraordinaire. But that's exactly what Guy had been looking for to occupy his time when he posted up his "Wanted: 1970 Mustang" sign at a swap meet in Turlock, California.

This wouldn't be Guy's first project, in fact it would be the fifth to wear his signature personalized license plate that has been on all of his cars since the early 1970s: "CRUZZAR." Previous CRUZZARs include a 1931 Model A Ford, 1937 Ford Tudor slant back, 1953 Studebaker coupe, and a 1932 Ford three-window. For the fifth-gen, Guy wanted to go a different direction and complete a dream he'd had since graduating from high school in 1967. Back then Guy would go to Laguna Seca to watch the Trans-Am races. Ford won the series in 1970 with Parnelli Jones and George Follmer driving 1970 Boss 302s and the body lines of those cars really stuck with Guy.

That doesn't mean that he wanted a Trans-Am racer though. Quite the opposite; Guy's plan for the lowly budget SportsRoof was to create a pleasant driving car with good performance both in straight-line acceleration as well as in the twisties, but with all the amenities. Goals like that usually lead straight to the catalogs and punch holes in the bank account, but Guy's MO was much more along the lines of the DIYer, and using ingenuity with cast-off stock parts from various manufacturers and generations of cars whenever possible. So rather than roll the SportsRoof into a shop, Guy rolled it into his garage and pecked at it over the next few years to create the car he really wanted on a real-world budget.

Guy had the body mediablasted first since he needed to replace both rear quarter-panels, patch rust holes in bottom corners of both doors, and small portions of the floorboards. After that, the Mustang never moved from Guy's garage for the next five years. As a retired shop teacher, Guy had both the skills and time needed to tackle a full build, plus a few other car-loving buddies nearby to help with extra sets of hands.

Construction of some of the major components, such as the engine, trans, and rearend were built to Guy's specs by outside shops, but all the assembly, suspension, chassis, wiring, interior, and paint and body was done in his garage. Yes, we did say paint and body and interior, stuff that is nearly always passed on to professionals. Guy didn't just fill and block-sand the body—to get a '70 Mustang this straight he re-gapped and aligned all of the body panels by adding and removing material on the edges. The front end is particularly perfect and fits much better than stock because Guy re-arched the leading edge of the hood to match the headlight extensions. He also drilled out the spot welds on the fenders and re-welded them to better align the fender to the headlight extensions.

As for that paint; we've seen plenty of very good DIY in-the-garage paintjobs, and we've even performed a few, but the Ford Colorado Red paint sprayed on the this Mustang ranks as one of the very finest we've ever seen. You don't have to take our word for it, though. The completed Mustang has taken the Street Scene Award at the 2012 NSRA Western Nationals.

With that much time and sweat equity invested by a regular guy into creating a show-winning car, we'd also forgive you for assuming that Guy rarely drives the Mustang and trailers it to car shows. We did. But again, those assumptions would be the opposite of the truth. Guy drives the Mustang absolutely everywhere and doesn't even own a trailer. Distance doesn't scare him either; the day we saw it at Fabulous Fords, Guy had just driven it over 200 miles that morning to be there. It gets even better. The day we had scheduled to get the Mustang in the PHR photo studio, a rare torrential rain blew into Southern California. Reschedule? Nope. Guy hopped in the Mustang as planned and drove it 200 miles in traffic, in the pouring rain, to be here. Good thing he had retrofitted intermittent wipers from a 1970s F-150. After the drive, Guy spent a couple hours toweling it off, but other than that we photographed it as driven. We guess polishing and waxing regularly does pay off.

So next time you're hastily passing judgment on a car and its owner, just remember that quality workmanship and top-shelf presentation does not necessarily mean pro-built. And those same elements also don't mean the car is a garage/trailer queen whose tires will age out before they wear out. You might just be looking at a resourceful enthusiast with more time than money to spend who simply keeps his creation clean.