Friday, July 13, 2007

1965 M1stang Convertible - A New Tale For An Old Horse

A Two-Seater Mustang For The 21st Century

By Joe Greeves

When you look at the Mustang convertible in these photos, you notice there's something different but you can't quite put your finger on it. The problem is compounded because there are no people in the picture to give it scale. This small, two-seat roadster is not what it appears. The M1stang is actually a combination of reproduction '65 Mustang sheetmetal married to a late-model Mazda Miata chassis. Now before you write angry letters to the editor asking him if the title of the magazine has been changed to Mustang Hybrid and Fords, let us explain.

Bill Carnes of St. Augustine, Florida, has been a lifelong fan of the Blue Oval. His automotive-bodywork credentials began with repairing Cobras (originals, not replicas) that were damaged during their trans-Atlantic voyage from England. As a career bodyman, Carnes has restored dozens of cars over the years, with first-year Mustangs being one of his favorites. While Ford says itproduced more than 417,000 cars in that amazing first year, they willprobably not comment on the number remaining. Rust-prevention techniques were not nearly as sophisticated in the early '60s as they are today, and many of those cars, if not lost forever, require major bodywork to restore them. Restoring strength to the unibody not only demands technical expertise, but also lots of time and money. When you're done, you have a very expensive car with 40-year-old technology.

In his attempt to create a happy ending for this story, Carnes explored ways of creating the best of both worlds. Several aftermarket companies reproduce vintage-Ford sheetmetal, so the exterior rebuild was possible. Combining the classic tin with a modern Mazda Miata chassis was the real stroke of genius. Amazingly, the scale of both cars is close. After the Miata sheetmetal was removed, Carnes trimmed the Mustang fenders and doors on the edges where the changes wouldn't be noticed. The steel trunk is full-size and the hood is fiberglass. There are no alterations to the chassis, and the conversion process is so vehicle-friendly that no fluids need to be drained from the car or sensors disconnected. Only the battery is removed for safety.

The finished conversion has all the style of the original '65 with all the agility, reliability, and creature comforts of a modern Miata, such as air-conditioning, airbags, four-wheel disc brakes, and a fully independent suspension. The transformation is so nicely crafted that after reviewing the package, Carnes was awarded user status from Ford, with full authorization to build the cars. With a perfected vehicle and Ford's blessings, all he needed was money to proceed.

Enter John Schoeller, a former computer graphics technician, now retired and returning to his first love, restoring cars and antique motorcycles. His dream for decades has been to build a personal car of his own. He saw the ads for the M1stang and it was love at first sight. Before long, he and Carnes were partners, and now they produce a car about every four weeks, beginning with a new demo for Carnes and this Poppy Red dream car for Schoeller.

The cars are being built in St. Augustine (Carnes) or Englishtown, New Jersey (Schoeller). The price for the M1stang conversion is $12,999 installed on your Miata. All Miatas built since 1990 will work, but the team recommends '94 and later because of the increased engine size (1.6L to 1.8L), along with larger disk brakes and a stronger rearend. Cars from '94 through '97 are probably the best buys and can be purchased somewhere between $3,000 and $7,000, depending on condition. Mileage does not seem to adversely affect the cars. Carnes' has 160,000 miles on his white and blue demo car and just completed a 6,500-mile trip across the United States with his daughter. The car had no problems, used no oil, and is untouched mechanically except for a timing belt.

What is the car like to drive? Schoeller and his wife, Debbie (as enthusiastic about the car as her husband), drive their M1stang everywhere and especially love to participate in Mustang shows. On countless occasions, Mustang owners have approached Schoeller, intrigued by the look of the car, and often say how they would love to add a set of those rollbars to their convertibles. Schoeller pauses for a moment, smiles, then says, "Wouldn't that make it difficult for you to get into your back seat?" Usually there is a long pause while the Mustang owner takes a second glance at the two-seat roadster, and then the barrage of questions begins. Find the answers to your questions at

The Details
'65 M1stang
Owner: John Schoeller, Englishtown, NJ

1.8L inline four-cylinder
Dual overhead cam
16 valves/four valves per cylinder
3.27-inch bore, 3.35-inch stroke
Multipoint fuel injection
Jackson Racing supercharger
Approx. 180 hp

Five-speed manual
4.30 gears

Dual-tip GT system

Front: Independent double-wishbone, racing springs, sway bar
Rear: Independent double-wishbone, racing springs, sway bar

Front: Stock 10-inch disc
Rear: Stock 9.9-inch disc
Power assist with ABS

Front: Stock Miata seven-spoke aluminum, 14x6
Rear: Stock Miata seven-spoke aluminum, 14x6

Front: Coker Classic red stripe, P185/60R14
Rear: Coker Classic red stripe, P185/60R14

Stock Miata black cloth, air conditioning, power windows, factory AM/FM cassette stereo, driver and passenger airbags, full instrumentation, intermittent wipers, console, chrome dress-up items, chrome rollbar

'65 Mustang sheetmetal panels, custom fitted and welded to Mazda Miata substructureDuPont red basecoat/clearcoat paint by Stacon Collision, St. Augustine, FL

Friday, July 6, 2007

David's Ford Mustang: "The Boss"

The Ford BOSS 302 Mustang, built for model years 1969 and 1970, is named for its engine, a special purpose race engine.

In the 1960's, Ford was heavily involved in racing. The catch phrase was, "Win on Sunday, sell on Monday." In 1966 and 1967, Ford, with the help of Carroll Shelby and his Shelby-American company, raced Mustangs and won the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Trans-American (Trans-Am) Sedan Racing series.

General Motors' Chevrolet division introduced their Camaro Z/28 to compete with the Mustang in the 1967 model year. Not only did Camaro compete on the street and in the sales showrooms, it competed in the Trans-Am series as well. In 1968, Camaro won the series championship. It was a dismal year for the Mustang. Mustang's failure to win the 1968 championship was blamed on a new engine known as the "Tunnel-Port." For 1969, Ford had to do something to win back the Trans-Am championship.

Actually, something was already being done even before the 1968 Trans-Am race season started. Ford was in the process of developing a new 351 cubic inch engine known as the "Cleveland" for 1970. It was so named because it would be produced at the Cleveland engine plant instead of the Windsor engine plant. Someone in Engine Engineering came up with the idea of putting the Cleveland heads on the Tunnel-Port block. It was tested and the results were good enough to continue development of the new 302 cubic engine as the Tunnel-Port started to show its shortcomings.

One part of the SCCA rules stated the manufacturers had to sell what they raced. It was Larry Shinoda, a former GM stylist, now working at Ford who created the car's unique styling and came up with the name BOSS 302 for the car and engine that would go into production so Ford could race it in 1969 and 1970. The BOSS 302 was offered in the 1969 and 1970 Mustang and the Mercury Cougar Eliminator as well. The Eliminator was also styled by Larry Shinoda.

Ford came close but didn't win the Trans-Am title for 1969 with the BOSS 302 Mustang. The BOSS 302 Mustang did win the Trans-Am championship in 1970 and entered the history books.

I purchased this Boss 302 from my older brother in April of 1982 when I was 19. I knew the car was different but didn't know the whole story. Luckily, for me and the car, I didn't do any permanent damage to it in my younger years. After sitting in aircraft hangers, barns and back yards for around 17 years I was finally able to do the car justice.

I started the restoration in May of 2001, it took 2 years and 9 months. All work was done by me, the only out side service I paid for was the media blasting, engine machine shop work (I did the engine assembly) and after I rebuilt the differential I had a local race shop set up gears.

Hope you enjoy the photos.

If you don't want to know the truth about your car don't have it media blasted.

After months of sheet metal and body work it's ready for paint.

I took each piece of the rear axle down to my basement and assembled it over the winter, then in the spring I had a hell of a time getting it out of the house.

I did have enough sense to build the engine in the garage.



Optional Fold Down Rear Seat

The "space saver" spare tire was standard equipment for the Boss 302. The "tire inflator" bottle mounts on a bracket under the spare.

Nashville Tn., 40th anniversary of the Mustang

This is only the 19641/2 through 1979 cars...

16 Boss 302s line up for a photo at Nashville, I'm number 4 from the left

Tulsa, June 2004. It looked like we were going to get rained out, but the sky cleared, the sun came out and it turned out to be a beautiful day.

Kansas Speedway, Goodguys Midwest Nats Sept. 2004. Even at a slow 70 mph (event officials kept the speed down) on the speedway it was still a rush.

Carlisle, Pa. June 2005, 1st Boss Nationals.

This was a historic event. Never before has there been so many Boss powered cars gathered in one location.

1969/1970 Boss 302s, 1969/1970 Boss 429s, 1971 Boss 351s and 1969/1970 Cougar Eliminators, they were all there at the Boss Nationals.

Legendary race cars, # 16 driven by George Follmer. Fast Eddy's Boss 429 powered Maverick.

The black and gold 1969 Boss 302 built for Smokey Yunick. Taska Ford's 1969 "Super" Boss 429.

Quarterhorse, 1 of 2 built. I've heard stories about the Quarterhorse but never seen one until the Boss Nationals. The Quarterhorse is a 1971 Mustang. The body shell is a 1970 and it has Shelby like styling, it's powered by a Boss 429.

September 2006 - On my way to Birmingham Al. for the 30th anniversary of the Mustang Club of America I had the opportunity to take my Boss 302 back to the dealership that sold it new on January 12th 1970, Vogler Ford in Carbondale Ill. They built a new store at a different location but still own the original property. The original building was built in 1928 and in 1929 the dealership opened for business.

I couldn't pass up the put the photo op with a Grabber Orange 2007 GT.