1965 Fastback Pulling a Tire
All aluminum SBF 331

'The Ripper' - 1965 Retro 'R' Mustang Fastback

'The  Ripper' started out life as a mild mannered A-Code Mustang Fastback. 4 Speed, Drum Brakes, no frills car. I purchased the car from a fellow in Monterey California and drove it home. It was in very clean semi-restored condition but lacked anything good other then the upgraded 9" in the back. It had a 302 motor that was pretty stock and bad brakes, and all the stuff you hate about a 60's car. On the ride home on Interstate 5 I quickly found out that Mustang seats without seat belts don't mix.  My initial idea behind the car was a streetable Mustang cruiser with a nice motor, some rims, brakes and be done.

After couple of weeks working on the car it's path drastically changed...

The simple car project turned into a complete gutting of the car, removal of everything not welded together. Then the special speckle paint treatment I have become known for. The car was blasted and repainted at some point so paint was still clean and I removed all tar and good and rolled a few coats of Rustoleum paint (not spray paint). The a couple of coats of Satin Black, again rolled on, then finally spraying Trunk Speckle paint and sealer over the thick Rustoleum. While not Zolotone, it has ended up being very durable.

Suspension and many parts fitted over the ensuing months. Finally to the track, but first with some help from a friend The Ripper receives it's infamous Black stripe the night before. The car was San Francisco 49's Red and Gold. Well the Gold had to go and since most of the plastic body parts were black AND I had a can of flat BBQ black paint we laid it down with some blue tape and fish paper. Looked GREAT! This is the trademark RIPPER color scheme...

The original motor was a tired 302 with a set of headers. That's got to go. Initially went with a FPS 347 Stroker motor but after a few issues I finally upgraded to the full aluminum block from Ford Racing. Motor built, lasted a few track runs, then dropped a valve. After looking at quality of components used in the build it was time to upgrade since the motor was obviously going to be run a lot harder on the track then a 'street hot rod'. In it's current incarnation the motor makes good power to about 7200 RPM and other then over-revving violently holds together well. See what happens to a motor that did not survive here in the HALL OF SHAME. Transmission was another spot of problems. Since the cars original plan was for the street a Tremec TKO was in order. Good street gearbox, but on the track at higher RPM always seemed to be fighting the synchros (and yes the clutch was releasing properly...). Ended up seeing a lot of NASCAR parts showing up on Ebay. The T101A's were plentiful and I figured I would call up TexRacing to find out more about them. After a conversation they said they sell used rebuild T101A's and can have any ratio and all sorts of other stuff all for the same price of an Epay job. SOLD. If you don't know what a T101A shifts like, imagine that you can pull the handle and no matter what it shifts. It makes a big clunk, but it always shifts. The only way to botch a shift is by extreme operator error. It sounds cool too...

I typically run Royal Purple racing or Shell Rotella T6 synthetic oil and water and water-wetter only in the cooling system. With a powerful 289 engine like this and the summer heat at Willow Springs you need all the cooling you can get.

More of the details are below.


Global West Upper and Lower control arms
Global West Strut Rods
Global West 6 Piston Front Brake Kit and related spindles, rotors, hats, etc
Wilwood 9" Dynalite Rear Brake Kit, old style with Go-Kart parking brake
Global West Rear Cat 5 Spring with pressed in spherical ends
Global West Del-A-Lum Rear Shakles
Koni Shocks on all 4 Corners

The Motor - Small Block Ford

Ford Racing R302 Aluminum Block
TEA Ported Canfield Heads, Titanium Valves, T&D Shaft Rockers
Ross Racing Pistons
Oliver Billet Rods
Scat Forged Crank
Armondo Racing Pan
MSD Distributor and 6D Ignition System
Racemate Waterpump Alternator
Edelbrock Victor Manifold
DamnBest 358 Open Track Carb with modifications

Transmission and Driveline

4 Speed Custom Ratio Gforce Transmission T101A
Hurst Competition Plus Shifter
Tilton Light weight Flywheel
Tilton Magnesium Bellhousing
Tilton Cerametallic 2 Disk Clutch and Housing
John's Mustang Hydraulic Clutch Master  
Coleman Racing Aluminum Driveshaft with 1350 U-Joints
Strange Engineering Aluminum Carrier with Strange gears and clutch pack locking differential
Strange Engineering Axles
Compomotive 3 piece Halibrand Style


Cooling Fluidyne Radiator - 69 Camaro
Oil Cooling - Fluidyne 2 Pass
Global West Sub-frame connectors
Autopower Roll Bar - Welded In
Shelby R-Model Cowl Support
Shelby R-Model Rear Window
TCP Chassis Bracing along with Stock Export Brace
Safecraft Halon Fire Supression System
Fuelsafe 22 Gallon Aluminum Cell

Other Stuff

R-Model Gage Panel and Moon Racing Gauges (the older Autometer versions)
Custom Wiring with a few parts of the stock harness left
MOMO Racing Buckets with Harness and Sub belts
Odyssey PC680 Battery Rear Mount in Aluminum Box
Custom Stepped Headers
Flowmaster Hushpower 3" Racing Mufflers

Some Pictures Of The Ripper

Below is a small collection of pictures of The Ripper. Look in the Photo section for more detailed pictures.
The Ripper at Willow Springs Raceway
Aluminum SBF Ready to Drop In
The Rippers SBF in place
Front Brakes
The Ripper getting ready for a run
3" Stainless Pipes and Flowmaster Hush Power mufflers
The GForce T101A Transmission in the 'Coffin'
The Ripper's Fluidyne Radiators - Before and After

Willow Springs - Big Track

This is an early photo of The Ripper at Willow Springs. You can still see the GOLD stripes on the roof and see the open quarter window before it got the trademark stainless wire mesh.

The Ripper's Engine

The top pictures shows the engine fresh back from the Builder and Dyno run. It's about to be tossed into the car. Then stuffed into the engine compartment. This build the MSD coil was moved to the inner shock tower as the old coil was mounted on the head.

The Ripper's Cooling System

The intial cooling system was a Fluidyne Mustang racing radiator. It proved to be very good for a while, but as heat and horsepower moves up it was time to replace with a larger side tank version. The new version is a large Fluidyne radiator for a 1969 Chevy Camaro. It has similar tabs for mounting and with a little modifications to the front radiator area (to open it up) was an easy swap. Cooling problems gone.

T101A Transmission

Here is a picture of the T101A Transmission. Case is magnesium with teflon coating (blue). It came with a Hurst Competition Plus Shifter and stock style shift rods to keep things tight to the transmission as the Mustang has a small transmission tunnel. The job to fit the transmission did require some hacking to the tunnel as well as fabricating a new transmission mount from an old stock one. The tall boy breather midship in the transmission also landed right in an area transmission tunnel that had a support. All little things that were fixed after a few test fitments. See the Projects sections for some of the hack work. This was hands down one of the best upgrades for the car!

The Ripper's Exhaust Pipes

The original exhaust system was poorly done. At some point I had an opportunity to try an upgrade with a Flowmaster 'D' Pipe and some of their new Hushpower mufflers. The car gets his name from the way it sounds and the previous exhaust was a Dr. Gas X pipe with 3" Hooker Aero-chambers (straight through model). The car's exhaust sound was a ripping sound that was very distinct at 7500rpm down the straights. This exhaust still has a lot of that sound but is munch deeper sound, almost like a big block, and pipes are stainless, which is a huge plus.

The Ripper's Front Brakes

This is a shot of the front brake after I had broken the wheel off the car during an unplanned off road trip. This is fitted with Wilwood Superlite 6's and 12.19" rotors. The rotor pictured is the wrong size (11.75") that I used to fit the assembly back together so I could put a wheel on it and get the car home. Brakes were later upgraded with lighter rotors and hub for a few lbs of weight savings per size.

The Ripper On The Trailer

Loaded and ready to hit the track. You can see the more recent painted roof and just make out the rear quater window that has the stainless steel mesh. Towing with my 2003 Powerstroke 7.3L Diesel Excursion and older Featherlite aluminum trailer.
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