For the bodywork and final assembly, Jim shipped the car down the road to Heath Elmer Restorations (www.HealthElmer.com). There, the Mustang was disassembled, bolted to a rotisserie, and fully restored from top to bottom. Elmer's team also handled the fabrication of the lowered floorpans, integrated subframe connectors, rolled front and rear fender lips, and the clearancing of the rear wheelwells required to fit the largest stock-looking wheels. To capture the Trans-Am vibe, Elmer and company installed a '67 GT350-style fiberglass hood, sidescoops, GT350-style front apron, and quarter windows. Elmer and Jim also conspired to come up with the unique white-on-black-on-sapphire-blue paint. "We wanted to retain the look of an original GT350 race car, but modify it here and there to make it more functional," Jim says. Although hiring two separate shops to build the same car sounds like a recipe for trouble, there's no arguing with the results. "Considering Tim Smart's racing background, his expertise was pivotal in the overall car setup and selection of major components like the chassis, suspension, engine, and brakes; however, race car guys aren't too concerned with scratching up the fenders. Elmer is unbelievable with getting the aesthetics of a car just right. I told him to make the Mustang look awesome, and that's exactly what he did."

With the chassis, suspension, and bodywork complete, all the Mustang needed was a big dose of horsepower. Being the Ford brand loyalist that he is, Jim just happened to have a stout 347ci small-block left over from a previous project. The combo features a Scat billet crank, Dyers rods, and SRP 10.5:1 forged pistons. Airflow comes courtesy of an Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake manifold and cylinder heads, while a Crower solid-roller cam actuates the valves. The simple-yet-effective setup kicks out a very respectable 535 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque, which is further split by a Tremec TKO600 five-speed transmission. "I originally built this motor for my GT40 project, but ended up putting a supercharged 5.4L mod motor in that car. I'm glad I did, because the power delivery of this 347 is perfectly suited for the Mustang," Jim says.

Having rolled out of the shop just two months ago, the Mustang is still getting its sea legs out on the track, but we can't help but picture it hunting down Z/28s and AAR 'Cudas around a road course. For now, it sits in Jim's garage next to nine other Fords. While there will always be those taken aback by such extreme brand loyalty, we argue that everyone should marvel at the incredible diversity in makes and models Detroit offered during the muscle car heyday. Without it, brand loyalty would never have even been possible in the first place. Today's whittled-down selection of makes and models means that late-model guys must often embrace multiple brands to get their go-fast jollies, which explains why it's not uncommon to find a Mustang parked next to a Subaru or a Toyota in the same garage. For most car guys, that's much weirder than all-Ford garage, even if that means kicking the wife's '69 Camaro to the curb.

By The Numbers

1965 Mustang Fastback
Jim Beatty, Scottsdale, AZ

Engine:

Type: 347ci Ford Windsor small-block
Block: Ford Racing, 4.000-inch bore
Oiling: Melling pump, stock pan
Rotating assembly: Scat 3.400-inch billet crank, Dyers billet rods, SRP 10.5:1 forged pistons
Cylinder heads: ported Edelbrock Victor Jr. aluminum castings
Camshaft: Crower 232/242-at-.050 solid roller; .528/.530-inch lift; 112-degree LSA
Valvetrain: Crane lifters, valvesprings, pushrods, and rocker arms
Induction: Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake manifold, Braswell 750-cfm carb
Ignition: MSD billet distributor, 6AL ignition box, and plug wires
Exhaust: custom 1.625-inch long-tube headers and X-pipe; dual 2.5-inch SpinTech mufflers
Cooling system: Edelbrock water pump, Ron Davis radiator, dual electric fans
Output: 535 hp at 6,700 rpm and 480 lb-ft at 5,600 rpm

Drivetrain:

Transmission: Tremec TKO600 transmission; Ford Racing flywheel, McLeod twin-disc clutch
Rear axle: shortened Dutchman 9-inch rearend with 31-spline axles, 3.89:1 gears, and limited-slip differential

Chassis:

Front suspension: Total Control Products control arms and sway bar; VariShock coilovers
Rear suspension: Total Control Products four-link and sway bar; VariShock coilovers
Brakes: Wilwood 13-inch rotors and six-piston calipers, front; Wilwood 12-inch rotors and four-piston calipers, rear

Wheels & Tires:

Wheels: Vintage Wheels Works 45-Series 17x7 (front), 17x9 (rear)
Tires: Falken 215/45R17 (front), 275/40R17 (rear)