When I saw my first Mustang I was instantly hooked… —René Pilat
Chasing a dream, especially one of the classic-car variety, can be a daunting task. Add to the mix that you live on the other side of the planet, and you’ll begin to appreciate the lengths René Pilat of southern Australia has taken to secure his.
“My parents had V8 cars when I was a kid, so I always loved the sound a V8 makes so when I saw my first Mustang I was instantly hooked,” René explained. “I loved the fact they weren’t a really big car as many in the ’70s were. The ’65-’66 Mustang had an elegance to them as well as the muscle which for me was the best of both worlds.”
Aussie René Pilat’s K-code Mustang GT fastback is a rare sight in any country.
While many first-generation Mustangs have always been available in the states, finding a suitable (and bank account-friendly) example in country kept René’s dream at arm’s length for a bit longer.
“My first car ended up being a 1973 TC Ford Cortina with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder and manual trans. It was reliable and fun to drive,” said René, who backs off slightly when describing its appearance. “It was resprayed in a Brown color with fancy gold pin stripping down the doors and up to the rear window. At the time I thought it looked fantastic. Today though, I have to wonder what the hell I was thinking.”
An Aussie-built Ford Cortina similar to this one gave René his first taste of the open road.
Holding on to his Mustang dream, René flirted with a few possible purchases over the years and came tantalizingly close in 2002 before finally closing a deal on a familiar car in 2006.
“I was in contact with the owner back in 2002 but the timing wasn’t right and I couldn’t buy the car.” he begins. “Fast forward to 2006, my wife of a couple of years knew how much I loved the ’65-’66 K-code Mustangs, so at her insistence I started looking at K-codes again only to find the K-code I had looked at in 2002!”
“The car had been re-bought by the previous owner which this time I was able to purchase,” he added.
René believes that although it took a bit longer to call the Mustang his own that the car was meant to be his.
After a four-year detour, René finally took delivery of this Rangoon Red ’65 HiPo Mustang GT.
The most important lesson learned says René is to do your homework before buying.
“There are so many cars that sold that aren’t what they are advertised to be” says René, who enlisted the help of the HiPo Mustang Registry before purchasing. “I joined the forums, asked a lot of questions and was amazed at how helpful everyone was. There’s just so much knowledge on that forum and the thing is they’re happy to help and it doesn’t cost a thing.”
Packing Ford’s venerable, K-code HiPo powerplant, René’s ’65 Mustang GT is sure to create plenty of buzz Down Under.
There’s a beauty to the classics that makes them instantly recognizable. — René Pilat
Currently Rene’s Mustang is on a restricted registration, “so I can only drive it 90 days a year.” René said. “I take it out when the mood strikes me, you know when you get those perfect day where you can have the windows down, just drive and listen to the sound of that engine. It’s very cathartic.”
With regard to comfort and driveability, René says it’s difficult to compare the classics to a modern car, but for the absolute joy of driving, the feeling you get when you drive a classic, modern cars can’t replicate.
“There’s a beauty to the classics that makes them instantly recognizable,” he said, and with one of the finest examples of the original muscle Mustang down under, you can bet this HiPo is hard to miss.
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