The recipe was not a Ford patent, but Henry Ford made it a staple of Blue Oval when another American motoring legend debuted – and took over the country once more. The year was 1964: Henry Ford was not the company’s founder, but his grandson – aptly distinguished by ‘the Second’ appellative – and he didn’t think twice when applying the Model T sales recipe to the Mustang.
It worked in a similar manner – the pony car became an instant success. Less than a year and a half after the April 14, 1964, initial sale, the Mustang production surpassed the one-millionth-unit mark. For clarification, the car debuted on April 17, 1964, at the New York World Fair, but the first example was actually sold by a Canadian dealer three days before the official premiere.
Nowadays, a classic first-generation Ford Mustang is anything but rare – with notable exceptions, of course, like the Bosses of ’69 and ’70 or the Shelbys of the sixties. Still, there’s something hypnotic about an old Mustang, an unexplainable attraction that just doesn’t fade away with time. No matter how ordinary, everyday, mainstream, or average-Joe-looking and equipped a Mustang may be, it will always draw some attention to itself.
And when said Mustang is a junkyard find with one cylinder bank in the crusher, you can bet a full tank of gas that someone will at least notice. Sometimes, the spotter is also an avid gearhead addicted to anything old, moldy, crushable, and rusty, and a salvage operation is almost guaranteed.
Even more interesting is that he is a Mopar guy through and through, yet he didn’t pass the chance to turn a wrench on this too-far-gone pony car. The car is quite intriguing, to be honest, as it has more holes in the body than Bonnie and Clyde after their final encounter with the Texas Rangers, and yet some panels are in pretty good shape. The trunk lid and the front left fender strongly contrast the roof and its oxidation-derived direct and permanent ventilation above the right back seat.
However, the critical aspect of this Mustang is filled with great news – and riddles: the powertrain refused to die, and more importantly, it turns freely. The emblematic 289 CID V8 (4.7-liter) motor needs some help to get going once again; the two-barrel carburetor (not the original two-barrel Autolite, but a 2V Holley) is leaking – courtesy of crusty accelerator pump diaphragm.
Naturally, the new wheels don’t fit, and the YouTuber must cut the rear wheel arches to keep the rubber away from the fender. Perhaps the baseball bat/metal pipe trick could have done the job just fine and spared the car from shedding even more metal than it already has done. A solid round bar shoved between the tire and the fender will give a nice and even rounded edge.
The seized brakes probably sent this Mustang on permanent retirement in 2004, with no one to look after it. At some point in its life, the car underwent some cosmetic upgrades, with fake hood and side scoops, custom rocker arm covers, and interior.
This particular example had the low-key 289 – pompously christened ‘Challenger V-8’ by Ford (hyphen included), with the two-barrel giving a modest 200 hp (203 PS) and 282 lb-ft (382 Nm) from the 9.3:1 compression ratio. The same engine, fed through a four-barrel carb and with the compression increased to 10:1, yielded an output of 225 hp and 305 lb-ft (228 PS, 414 Nm), called the Challenger Special.
Of course, the most famous 289 Ford V8 of them all would arguably be the high-revving HiPo Cobra version (High Power), rated at 271 horses and 312 lb-ft (275 PS / 423 Nm), thanks to its 10.5:1 compression ratio. And lastly, the 289 was the foundation on which Shelby American built the notorious GT350 Mustangs. With a 715 CFM 4-BBL Holley carburetor, the 289 would output 306 bhp (310 PS) at 6,000 RPM and 329 lb-ft (446 Nm) at 4,200 rpm. Period literature identified this engine as the "Cobra hi-riser" due to its high-riser intake manifold.
Although the Rustang found by Dylan McCool sits at the base of the power stats food chain, the 289 in it doesn’t give in as quickly as the body did. Amazingly, after two days of work, the plagued Mustang runs again – and it even attempts to do a donut, in lack of a better display of performance. Despite its disappointing apparel – to the point that viewers suggest it be scraped, save for the engine, tranny, and rear – the YouTuber is not yet convinced that a complete makeover would be an utter waste of money and time.