Dick East



In the 1970's I was trying to buy a 1965 Mustang GT convertible. I found a lot of them but never could make a deal. Either they were happy with their car or they had heard someday they would be a classic and wanted too much money. I finally decided if I wanted the car the only way was to build it, so I bought a 65 convert in Santa Barbara for $850 and a 65 GT coupe in the valley for $750.


My intension was to take all of the GT stuff out of the coupe and put it in the convert. The first thing I did was to sand the convert to bare metal and prime it, then take all the fog lights, rear valance including the twin exhaust, speedometer cluster, upholstery etc out of the coupe.


Then one day parked in front of my house was the car I own now, I saw it had a power top mine didn't have so I waited for the owner and bought it for about $900. So now I had 2 65 convertibles, one 65 GT coupe and two 65 coupes that both my sons had wrecked so I had lots of spare parts. I sold the first convert for $1100


I started working on the second convert and found a lot of rust causing me to sandblast everything by taking everything out including all seats, door panels, dash. Hood, deck lid so I could get at what needed repair. I primed it and put it back together so I could drive it. I put the GT MUSTANG letters in by drilling new holes, new holes for the emblem /installed the new speedometer cluster, valance ,fog lights and got ready to put the GT exhaust in when a friend of mine gave me a book on the mustang. For the first time I checked he serial no. and the data plate and found out no Gt was made until much later. I am not a purest but I thought this car made March 19 1964 was real early so out came all of the GT stuff and back in the coupe. The hardest part was redrilling the original holes. I sold the GT coupe after I put it all back original.


I started on the upholstery and found the right material at a shop in Burbank so I bough enough to do the interior. I signed up at an upholstery class at San Fernando high school so I could use the walking foot sewing machine but the instructor made me reupholster a chair before he would allow me to start on the car. I used my old seat covers for patterns and it turned out very good. The rear seat is still in the car but I had to replace the front because of a tear. I had bought a convertible top so my next step was to drive the car to the instructor to show off the upholstery and to get his advise on installing the top.


On my way home on the freeway I heard a snap and the engine stopped, I coasted to the off ramp, called my wife and towed it home. I had a new job keeping me busy so it sat in the garage the next ten years. The only thing I did to it was to pull the the distributor and the rod turning the oil pump. As I suspected the rod had twisted and broken because of all the sand in the oil pump as a result of all of the sandblasting I had done.


After ten years I got some time so I started on it again, pulled the engine and took it apart, had a machine shop do the valves, rebore, align bore, new freeze plugs, new piston and rings and balance all moving parts. Then I brought all the parts home and put the engine back together. When I miked it I found out it was a 260 not a 289 so I was careful they just bored it so it stayed under 289 ci.


I still had not joined the Mustang owners club so the next thing I did was a big mistake. I Sandblasted the firewall and all of the engine compartment and painted it gloss black instead of the flat black it is supposed to be, I painted the engine the proper blue though The next step was painting, I bought the proper Wimbledon white, rented a spray booth and shot it one weekend. The next step was the top, I still had the top material I bought ten years before, made the spacers I read about in an instruction book, bought a tacker and did it. Luckily I had a friend who knew more than I did.


So now I am pretty proud of my car, it looks good, drives good, and I have put more work and sweat in it than any car I have owned.