For some it might be incomprehensible to modify a 1964 ½ Mustang. These are the cars that started the pony car lineage. As such they are rare and valuable, but not everyone is cut out to own a museum piece. Todd Bailey’s Blue Oval love affair began Down Under on the road course. There he watched an early Mustang rack up victories.
People love the car, especially after seeing the dyno sheets for each separate version of the various engines installed over time. — Todd Bailey, Car Owner
“I grew up in Australia in the ’60s. There was a very successful road racer from Sydney named Tom Geoghegan who imported a 1965 Mustang and he dominated road racing with that car,” Todd explained. “The most popular track in Sydney was Oran Park. I went to these races with my Dad and that is when Mustangs entered my life.”
Based on a Probe Industries kit, a 347 stroker built to support up to 12 pounds of boost is fitted with ported Trick Flow Twisted Wedge heads and a Ford Performance GT-40 intake manifold. Fed by 47 lb/hr injectors and breathing through Stainless Works Tri-Y headers, it puts down 402 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheels. (Photos courtesy of Todd Bailey)
He wouldn’t own a Mustang right away, however. Todd had to wait a while, but that didn’t mean he wouldn’t enjoy some fun Fords along the way. His dad picked up a full-size machine to haul the family, but it still had enough steam to put a smile on a young enthusiast’s face. In fact, Todd’s brother enjoyed it a little too much.
“Our first Ford was the Australian version of the Fairlane. It was built in Australia and was a stretched version of a Falcon, but it had a 289 and was nicely equipped,” Todd said. “Much more fun than the full size, larger, heavier Fairlanes sold in the U.S. My younger brother did manage to roll this car over several times when he lost control while driving in the Outback on a gravel road.”
A host of Auto Meter gauges mounted in and below the factory dash help Todd keep tabs on his restomod.
Years later his dad picked up a Raven Black Mustang coupe. The elder Bailey scored this very car back in 1980 in Arizona so it was still in great shape. Built on June 12, 1964, it was equipped with a modest 170-cube six-banger and a three-speed automatic transmission. It was not the most potent performer.
We currently see 402 horsepower and 420 lb-ft at the wheels. We could get bigger numbers, but it is difficult to put this power down on the road without running much wider and softer tires. — Todd Bailey, Car Owner
“The original car had only 72 horsepower and 120 lb-ft at the wheels, drum brakes, lousy handling, a three-speed trans, open rearend, etc,” Todd said.
While classic coupes don’t exude a muscular personality, they do make for great sleepers when a more modern engine resides under the hood.
Eventually he turned to Paul’s Automotive Engineering for a few upgrades, including a 200 cubic-inch six-banger and a period-correct, ball-drive Paxton supercharger. It also gained its current white paint job and T-5 five-speed manual transmission, but that was just the beginning.
We asked Todd if he ever hesitated to modify such an early classic, and he flatly said, “no.” Clearly Mustangs and performance are intertwined for him, and who are we to argue with the results.
“People love the car, especially after seeing the dyno sheets for each separate version of the various engines installed over time,” Todd said.
Those sheets revealed that the current combination delivers more than five times the car’s original output. As you see it here with the EFI 5.0-liter under the hood, this classic pony is a legitimate performer.
The American Racing wheels and supercharged badge are subtle hints that this first-gen machine is far more than a stocker.
“This is the third drivetrain in the car, hence the license plate ‘Bitza 3,’ meaning ‘bits of three cars.’ This also refers to the fact that three generations in my family have worked on this car together. The original 170-cube six-cylinder was replaced with a built 200 six, then the Paxton supercharger was added to that engine,” Todd said. “Next came the current 347 stroker which later had the Paxton put on it. At 6 pounds of boost — the engine is built to take 12 pounds — we currently see 402 horsepower and 420 lb-ft at the wheels. We could get bigger numbers, but it is difficult to put this power down on the road without running much wider and softer tires.”
While traction might be an issue, the well-rounded approach that Todd and the crew at Paul’s Automotive Engineering pursued resulted in a vintage Mustang with a far younger, more pleasant personality.
“The current car has disc brakes all around, a coilover front suspension, rack and pinion steering, five-speed trans and limited-slip Currie 8-inch rearend. This is a completely different car and is a joy to drive,” Todd said.
He certainly plans to keep enjoying this car for as long as he can, but Todd hopes that the car will remain a source of family enjoyment for years to come.
Todd Bailey fell in love with a road-racing Mustang as a youth, and today he is still living that boyhood dream behind the wheel of a 402-horsepower classic.
“This was my Dad’s car for many years. He also had a ’66 Mustang convertible that went to my brother,” Todd added. “I hope that one of my two children will want to keep it in the family when it is time for me to move on.”
And who wouldn’t want to inherit a classic sleeper with over 400 horsepower at the wheels. It might have been assembled from bits and pieces, but the result is cohesive performer that represents the Mustang lineage in fine fashion.