Since selling the Meat Truck last year, Matt has been searching for a replacement. One of the main things we needed was a larger box for when we vend at swap meets, and the ability to haul hot rods. That combination is extremely hard to find and by some luck we found the perfect truck, except it’s on the complete opposite side of the US. About a week before leaving for our trip to PNW Matt started looking around online at the trucks that were available for sale, and found this perfect truck. This 1965 F600 runs, drives, and has a very unique box that will fit a hot rod perfectly
My wife loves her daily-driver Ford Fiesta ST to bits—the power, the keen handling, rowing through the gears—save for one thing: the gas in the shock absorbers feels more like quarry gravel. She likes cars, a consequence of growing up with a father and grandfather who ran a used car lot in Spokane in the ’70s and ’80s. She learned to drive on a Trans Am from the lot, I’m told; when we met in Los Angeles 20-odd years ago, she was driving a stick-shift car. By choice. When I talk about car things, she doesn’t automatically roll her eyes, tune out or scold me for thinking crazy. So when she has the slightest inkling about anything car-related, I try to feed that. (Similarly, she indulges me when I get a home decorating idea; it’s not often, but it happens.)
She has forever loved the look, feel and even the smell of an old truck (old defined as a time before she was born in 19-cough-ty8). Yet she knows that she is not willing to put up with the nature of an old truck, particularly if it’s going to be something reliable enough to daily. The cut-and-thrust nature of morning traffic is far better suited to her 197-hp hot hatch than it would be to a properly restored vintage pickup. The perpetually-under-construction roads in our town would feel no better with two solid axles beneath her, and there wouldn’t be enough oomph to make her anything but an impediment in traffic, no matter how adorable she looked behind the wheel. Hot rodding might be the answer, with a bigger engine and Mustang II front suspension and all sorts of aftermarket components that might well be engineered to work with a stock truck, but not necessarily with each other.
Recently, an intriguing alternative came to our attention. This ’65 Ford F100 pickup now lives on a Ford Panther chassis. Panther, you may recall, was the codename given to the downsized full-size platform underpinning the Ford LTD and Mercury Marquis starting in 1979, with other applications coming on line later. From the mid-90s through 2011, when production ceased, and even long after, a Panther was probably your local PD’s cop car of choice. And while the beefy P71 cop-car package was built for beatin’, plenty of grandma-spec Grand Marquis models came down the pike as well—and benefited from regular updates. By the year 2000, a Grand Marquis came standard with overdrive automatic transmission, four-wheel disc brakes with both anti-lock and traction control, set-it-and-forget-it climate control, smooth suspension with anti-roll bars on either end, dual exhaust, power windows, and more. All of it was rigorously tested by engineers in Detroit and elsewhere. Here in the desert Southwest, there are approximately 17 billion of them, plenty of which look just like your great Aunt Helen’s last ride—low mileage examples with questionable roof treatments and scraped bumpers—and lots of them for sale around the $5,000 mark. Could something like this be a viable replacement for the Mrs.’ little orange rocket?
Had the original Mustang not been dubbed a “pony car,” it could have just as easily been pegged as a sport compact. It was just a regular Ford economy car, the Falcon, slightly reconfigured for better proportions and handling. Still, it didn’t weigh much (well under 3,000 pounds, even for a convertible like this) and the 120-horsepower, 200-cu.in. six-cylinder moved a base-model convertible in a suitably sporty manner for the era. Eras change, however, and today the average driver is used to not only more responsiveness in a vehicle, but better braking, lower engine speed on the highway, and a whole host of other conveniences—even while the car drinks far less fuel than the 20-or-so miles per gallon boasted by the original “Thrift Power Six” engine, created for the 1960 Falcon.
By 1965, the original four-main, 90-hp, 144-cu.in. Falcon six had matured into a seven-main engine of considerable durability and adequate economy. Sticking with a manual transmission, as this car was originally equipped, did a lot to improve the driving experience. A floor-shift three-speed was standard equipment in a Mustang, with a Dagenham four-speed borrowed from Ford of England as an option for drivers of a sportier bent.
In regard to engine sizes, the 2.3-liter designation has been around a long time now for Ford. It could have described the original 144-cu.in. Falcon six, but it has mostly referred to four-cylinders. At present, Dearborn’s 2.3-liter is a direct injection, turbocharged four-cylinder that is part of a Ford Motor Company program to replace cylinders and displacement with extremely precise air and fuel management. When paired with a six-speed manual, it is the modern Mustang’s equivalent of this car’s base powertrain setup.
This engine appealed to Paul Cuff, our feature car’s owner. Paul, of Angel’s Camp, California, is the owner of America Road Trips, which offers collectible car rentals and road trip planning services, like itineraries for cruising Route 66. Or, for instance, if you’ve ever dreamed about driving an old convertible along California’s Pacific Coast Highway, Paul can help you out including renting you the smartly restomodded 2.3-liter EcoBoost-powered Mustang featured here.
“The concept for America Road Trips rentals spawned out of a Route 66 road trip in April of 2019,” Paul says. “That trip consisted of late model Mustangs, Shelbys, and an Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio. In mid-2019, the process of searching for the “prototype” vehicle began in earnest. I wanted to take a vintage first-generation Mustang and incorporate virtually all the features that made our 2019 Route 66 road trip seamless and problem-free.
“That trip through the Desert Southwest in springtime had actually started out with plans to drive vintage cars, “but the desire for air conditioning and a late model drivetrain won out,” Paul relates. So, what if there was some way to merge the two? To that end, he sought out the assistance of the Grotto brothers, Mike and Dave, retired law-enforcement officers and builders of an award-winning Pro Street 1966 Mustang fastback known as Toxic 66.
Paul wanted people to have a worry-free experience driving his ’65, which he purchased as a non-running but cosmetically restored car in Colorado.
Another excellent California car culture film from Ben Kahan
It was awesome to shoot and hang out with Steve Beck! His shop, Check Point Automotive in Los Angeles, is filled with awesome cars. I wanted to drive one of those Shelby Cobras so bad, haha.
The annual SEMA Show encapsulates so many things we love about the car hobby. Heritage, innovation, and craftsmanship are all on display. Take Lonnie Gilbertson’s RareVair, which is headed to this year’s festivities in Las Vegas. It’s a 1965 Chevrolet Corvair Corsa, with a mid-mounted small-block LS, painted to match a unique piece of Chevy road-racing history.
A mid-engine Corvair is not a new idea, of course. Kelmark and Crown made kits, and there are no doubt countless DIY efforts. Gilbertson’s personal introduction to the Corvair happened when his brother bought a Corsa in the 1970s. “That’s when I kind of first became aware of what Corvairs were and I’ve always liked that body style,” he says. “So progress up to now, I was looking around for another project to build, and I thought I’m going to go for a Corvair.”
The inspiration for the car began with the Yenko Stinger. “With the style of that body, it just fit for the sports racer feel about it,” Gilbertson says. Combine that with a 1972 De Tomaso Pantera his shop restored a few years ago and, Gilbertson says, “I’ve always had a thing in the back of my mind about how a mid-engine V-8 car is just a lot of fun to drive. So that combined with the Yenko Stinger and my need for speed, I just thought, I gotta do this.
“After finding a suitable donor car, Gilbertson sourced an LS3 V-8 from a 2009 Corvette. For the gearbox, he went to the 930-generation Porsche 911 Turbo, given its reputation for strength and the fact that the earlier four-speeds have one of the shortest bellhousings. With the gears mounted behind the engine, that means more legroom. “I’m not a small guy,” says Gilbertson, “so I wanted passenger comfort
.”He went to Kennedy Engineered Products to mate the transaxle to the small-block. As for the engine, it had about 30,000 miles on it and looked new inside, so Gilbertson didn’t feel the need to change too much. A Comp Cams camshaft (and associated valvetrain parts) and a Holley Sniper intake are the only changes from stock. Still, he estimates it makes about 500 horsepower at the wheels. Not bad for a car that weighs only about 2800 pounds
Hagerty’s Marketplace Editor Colin Comer gives a deep dive on the ever-popular Shelby Mustang GT350. Not only does Colin detail the fastback Mustang’s origin story, but he also provides expert tips on buying, owning, and maintaining such a rare classic.
Serial number SFM5R538 is confirmed as one of just 34 “production” G.T.350R models built by Shelby American in 1965 for racing, which then became the winningest Shelby of any kind on record. All images courtesy of Mecum Auctions.
There are Mustangs, and then there are Shelby Mustangs. But even within that rarified subset of Ford’s pony car, there are special examples that stand out among the herd, such as the car pictured above: A 1965 Shelby G.T.350R that is almost certainly the winningest Shelby of any type ever created. It’s one of many vehicles of special distinction going up for sale during this year’s Monterey Car Week – simply known as either Monterey among vintage vehicle enthusiasts, or Pebble Beach due to the renowned concours d’elegance that anchors the festivities. This particular car will be presented to bidders by Wisconsin-based Mecum Auctions at the company’s usual Monterey location, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel and Spa – Del Monte Golf Course.
Like most early Shelby-built Mustangs, this one is known by its serial number, SFM5R538. Shelby American Automobile Club (SAAC) documents confirmed that its legacy began as an order from Shelby American to Ford Motor Company in March 1965. The basic Mustang’s construction commenced at the San Jose assembly line the following month. Delivered first to the Shelby team, it was assigned Work Order No. 17535, which converted the early pony into a G.T.350R, a process that stretched nearly six months
The conversion to race-ready B/Production trim meant this G.T.350R was equipped with an independent front suspension, with adjustable coil springs and front disc brakes, as well as a live-axle rear suspension with leaf springs. Cooling for the all-important brake system was achieved in part by a special fiberglass front body apron and rear ductwork. A set of American Racing magnesium Torq Thrust wheels allowed for the use of pavement-gripping, wider-than-stock competition tires. Additionally, the incorporation of plexiglass windows aided both safety and weight. Power was derived from a Hi-Po 289-cu.in. V-8 engine fitted with a special 715-cfm Holley four-barrel carburetor on a counter-accessory Cobra high-rise intake manifold. Completing the engine build were Tri-Y headers, an external oil cooler, and a high-capacity Ford radiator. Behind the engine sat a Borg-Warner T-10 four-speed manual transmission.
Catching even a glimpse of certain vintage vehicles instantly turns my head and makes me stop what I’m doing. While most are muscle cars, Buick’s personal/luxury 1963-’65 Rivieras have held that power over me as well. Though I still have yet to own one, my desire for doing so actually dates back to when I was a teenager living in northern New Jersey in the 1980s.
I guess you could say that the Riviera has been my dream car of the personal/luxury genre. My order of favorites within the first generation of the E-body Buick is the inverse of their production years—I prefer the ’65, then the ’64, followed by the ’63. I’ve long imagined piloting a Riviera on extended highway trips to exciting vacation destinations and arriving at large family gatherings in style, given the Buick’s stately appearance, smooth operation, and polished demeanor, as compared to some of the muscle cars I’ve owned, which are generally louder and targeted more towards performance than luxury.
From the fertile mind of GM styling chief Bill Mitchell and through the talents of designer Ned Nickles, this exquisitely rendered reaction to the four-seat Ford Thunderbird was initially developed as the XP-715 for Cadillac (and was referred to as the LaSalle II), but the division passed on it. It was then was awarded to Buick following a competition between the other divisions. Ever since the first time I saw a Riviera up close, I’ve admired its “knife-edged” exterior appearance.
Forward-jutting fenders implied motion, a formal roof instilled elegance, and large wheel openings showed off a generously sized 15-inch wheel/tire package with effective 12-inch brake drums (aluminum in front) behind it. The body’s proportions are just about perfect to my layman’s eye, and with a 117-inch wheelbase cruciform (X-type) frame and an overall length of about 208 inches, the Riviera was sized right to offer a more nimble driving experience than Buick’s larger and heavier luxury liners.
Do you remember Susie, the Little Blue Coupe? As the title hints, it was an animated short about a cute sporty car that flirted its way out of a dealership window and into the hands of its first, proud owner. During the 8-minute flick, produced by Walt Disney and originally released in June 1952 by RKO Radio Pictures, Susie‘s care eventually slipped, and her owner reluctantly sold the rough-running coupe. A cigar-chomping, gruff-looking chap became Susie‘s next owner, though his lackadaisical attitude eventually left her painfully disheveled in a cold and scary scrapyard. That is, until she was rescued by a young lad with a dream, a touch of know-how, and a boatload of ambition
.It’s pure coincidence, but the basic elements of Susie‘s thought-provoking yet lighthearted automotive tale parallel the real-life adventure of the 1965 Chrysler Newport two-door hardtop gracing these pages. This entry-level luxury car was sold new through a New Haven, Connecticut, dealership, after which it lived many years of pavement tranquility in nearby Branford. But, by the end of 1985, the Newport silently fell into a stagnant existence that left it in complete disrepair.
According to its current owner and Lee, Massachusetts, resident Tim Schaefer, who purchased the Newport in September 2012, “It was basically a parts car. It had weeds growing off the floor in the back. The grille areas at the top of the cowl were filled with decomposing leaves, sticks, and dirt — all of which held water that slowly leaked into the interior that, after a quick glance, you wouldn’t even want to get in. It was just roached beyond belief. The headliner was hanging out of it and there was a wheel thrown on the back seat wearing a rotted tire. Really, the car was just a mess, but I bought it. Somebody had to save it.
Just because the Falcon was a low-priced economy car, that didn’t mean that it wasn’t satisfying to own. Ford referred to the redesigned 1964 and 1965 editions as its “Total Performance” compact.
That philosophy also extended to the larger models and took into account styling, handling, roadability, acceleration, braking, efficiency, and more.Sure, a buyer could’ve gone the bare-bones route in 1964 and become a fuel-savings connoisseur by driving a base Falcon two-door or four-door sedan, featuring the standard beige cloth-and-vinyl interior (more colors for 1965) with a full-width front seat, rubber floor mats, and 144-cu.in. straight-six (170-cu.in. for 1965).
Yet, with the 1964 and 1965 Falcon lineups providing avenues for boosting image, power, and comfort, why stop there?Stepping up in price, the 1964 Futura two- and four-door sedans added full carpeting, chromed horn ring on the steering wheel, courtesy lights, rear armrests and ash trays, lighter, and upgraded color-keyed upholstery choices and exterior trim.
The 1964 Futura hardtop and convertible also had the full-width front seat, but the sport coupe and sport convertible came with buckets and a console. A Thunderbird floating rearview mirror was included, and the droptop had a larger 170-cu.in. straight-six and a power top.