With the cost and complexity of new cars these days, it doesnt surprise us that a guy who fixes Mercedes-Benzes all day long would yearn to work on a simpler car at home. Something with a carburetor, a manual trans, and basic technology thats half a century old. But as classics go, Tavit Dave Meshefedjians 66 Mustang 2+2 can hold its own with anything ever built in Stuttgart.
After a five-month hunt for the car he always wanted, Dave eventually settled on a fastback cloaked in road-hazard orange with custom Mercury Cougar taillights. Despite its physical condition, which included about an inch of Bondo on each rear quarter, it was already a mean runner with a Ford Motorsport SVO 302 crate engine and a Tremec TKO five-speed tranny. With about 8,000 miles on the drivetrain, the Mustang was mechanically on track. Despite his wife Angeliques rolling eyes, Dave was possessed by fantasies of what the car could be and stole it for $3,000.
Armed with the able help of his brother, Shant, and his 7-year-old son, K.C, Dave pulled the engine, gutted the interior, and sent the shell off to his friend Stanko for bodywork and paint. With the engine on a stand, Dave ported the heads, cleaned up the Holley 750 double-pumper carb, and detailed the Hooker headers. Aluminum dress-up parts were sent out for polishing and a few new pieces were added. By the time all was said and done, the hot small-block was driving the mercury even higher, cranking out 405 ponies at 6,200 rpm, and pulling with 390 lb-ft of torque at about 3,600 rpm. It was more than he anticipated, and he estimates performance in the low 13s.
Meanwhile, Stanko yanked the hideous taillights and worked his magic on the body. Wanting to get the best results possible, he convinced Dave to invest in new fenders and valances along with a custom fiberglass hood, trunk lid, and Shelby spoilers and scoops. With the cost rising faster than an SR-71 grabbing air, Dave ordered the car to be sprayed Chryslers devilishly hot PRD red with white stripes.
While the paint was still drying, a Mustangs Plus performance suspension kit was called to duty, lowering both the front and rear ends to match. A set of Z-rated Goodyear Eagle F-1s were mated with 17x8 Torq-Thrust IIs completing an awesome handling package with sizzling looks.
With the body, suspension, and engine done, Dave turned to Harrys Upholstery in West Los Angeles to install a new dash, headliner, and carpeting. Two-tone leather Recaro front sport buckets and matching two-tone rear seats and door panels, all detailed with red stitching, stand out from the stock-resto norm. An Alpine head unit with CD player, MTX five-channel amp, and Boston woofer/speaker combo were added to try to override the rumble of the fit 302. Fuller Racing seatbelts and a GT wheel complete the package.
Dave estimates the car has its claws into him for about $32,000 thus far. But when he considers that it has already broiled a 911 Turbo and can fight Vipers and Camaros at will, he says its worth it, and its a far cry from his first ride, a Renault Fuego turbo. To make it even more formidable, Dave is anxious to bolt on a blower or supercharger, though he hasnt yet decided which one. The 9.0:1 compression will make either an easy addition.
Sharing garage space with the Mustang is a 69 Camaro awaiting a similar treatment. Painted Le Mans blue with rally stripes, the Camaro wears P295s in the back and has a Pro Street look to it. By the time Dave slides in a 383 stroker, that car just might be grumpier than the Mustang it rooms with. And wed take either one over a new Benz any day.