(Editor’s note: During the month of May, the ClassicCars.com Journal is publishing a series of stories about buying your first, or perhaps your next, collector vehicle. Today, reader Rob Staple shares the story of buying a first collector car, described as a 1965 Ford Mustang GT350 tribute. If you have a story about your experience buying your first collector car that you’d like to share, please send it to us at email@example.com.)
I consider my experience lucky. It was a journey but I ended up getting a car that I’m happy with overall and haven’t had any major disappointments or nightmares.
The story begins with an attempt to purchase a 1965 Ford Mustang GT350 tribute on eBay, but the deal went sour and I ended up looking elsewhere. However, my search brought me to another eBay listing for a 1965 Mustang Fastback GT that was in good condition in Arizona.
I paid about $450 to have a professional inspector do an inspection of the car, which was money well spent. The car was rated fairly high as far as condition, however, two rear quarter panels had been changed and there was floor patchwork done with undercoating covering it so the inspector warned me about potential problems. I decided not to purchase the car for $48,000.
My next prospect was a 1965 Mustang K code GT that was beautiful in the pictures. I flew to Oklahoma City to see the car and was going to drive it back to Florida. I asked the seller questions about its roadworthiness and if there were any leaks. He assured me that there were no leaks, however when I arrived in Oklahoma City on that Sunday he informed me that there was a leak that he discovered and nobody was around to look at it since it was Sunday, so I ended up flying home and not buying that car.
My third experience was a resto-mod in Indiana that I went to go look at. It was a nice car from appearance, had air conditioning, power steering, power brakes, a 347 stroker engine, but the air conditioning drained the engine and made its stall and when I took a magnet to the car’s body panels it barely stuck to many of the areas behind the wheels, so the car was essentially putty.
Fast-forwarding to my final and purchased vehicle I found online at a dealership called Beverly Hills Car Club in Los Angeles. It sells vintage cars from rolling chassis all the way up to the concours level.
Mine was in the good condition category, a 1965 Mustang fastback A code in the original color in what was claimed to be mechanically sound condition. I asked for a video of the car the dealership sent me one of the car driving and running, plus additional pictures. I researched the dealership’s reputation and put my trust in the reviews and in their word. I negotiated the price with them and they removed the cost of shipping from the asking price, so I paid $35,000 for the car and $1,400 for the shipping to Florida.
Upon receipt of the car, I brought it to two qualified mechanics that I know. Both told me that the car was solid, there was nothing majorly wrong with the car although the clutch was at its end of life and there was some transmission and oil leaking, but very little.
I have since installed a McLeod Super Street Pro clutch. I have also had my transmission rebuilt with a Borg-Warner T-10 master rebuild kit. I installed a 1 1/8 inch sway bar on the front and traction bars among other things the car drives really good I’m planning on getting a rear sway bar next and installing new front end bushings ball joints and lower control arm.
The car handled very well at high speeds, no shaking or vibration, and I have since done many things to the car to enhance the suspension and my taste.
I have learned a lot, replaced some trim pieces on the trunk and under the hood, as well as inside of the interior and some other things the car needed like a defroster plenum which originally was just particle board falling apart and I got a new plastic one that I installed with new defrost hoses. The list goes on.
I have joined a classic Mustang group and really enjoy going to get-togethers and shows with my car. Although my car is not a show car — it’s rough around the edges — it gets a lot of attention because it’s mostly original and probably will be one of the few remaining cars that wasn’t either restored, tributed, resto-modded or cloned.
I like that my door handles have a patina, as do many of the other chrome parts. It adds to the character of the car in my opinion.
I have learned that my car has the original engine and the original transmission, which is also rare now for these cars. The paint is not perfect but I spent a great deal of time correcting it when I obtained the car. Thanks for giving me the opportunity of sharing my story.