Story and pictures contributed by Dale Mathers
This Mustang was originally a 289 C-code 65 Fastback, automatic and power steering - it was first imported into NZ around 1989/90 by Wilson Automotive Imports from New Plymouth. ( Wilson Automotive became well-known by making it on to Fair Go back then for taking people's deposits and not delivering the cars.) I am not sure who they imported this car for, but around the end of 1990 it came into the possession of John McKechnie of Remuera, Auckland who started the process of turning it into a pre-65 Mustang racecar. Pre-65 was in its early years back then and the cars had to remain relatively stock standard in body and trim which is a bit removed from what they are today.
The car was fitted with a roll cage, drivers side race seat and seat belts, and a very highly modified 289. The suspension was modified by Ken Hopper at Pinepak Racing. This car was still totally road legal and in the early 90's McKechnie drove it on a day to day basis, driving it out to Pukekohe Raceway, racing it in the pre-65 or classic class and then driving it home. He also raced it at Bay Park Raceway at one of the final closing meetings in 94 or early 95, so it has Bay Park stamped in its log book which makes it a little unique in today's history.
In April 1995 it was purchased by John Espagne or Tauranga - a wealthy kiwifruit farmer and property developer. Espagne being a keen follower of motor sport, raced this car at various Taupo and Capri Car Club race meetings - but nothing competitive. He used to drive the car around on the road and while testing it on a long stretch of road near his kiwifruit orchard he lost control on a corner at excessive speed. He took out about 20 metres of kiwifruit fencing and badly damaged the car and smashing every window in it. He survived the crash OK. While traveling in the USA in 1996, he purchased all the necessary parts to repair the car. The car was then brought to me in my Coastline Automotive Workshop for me to piece back together.
I then acquired the car myself at the end of 1997 by trading this Mustang and an E38 RT Valiant Charger on a 71 Boss Mustang that I owned. I sold the Valiant Charger the next day and used this Mustang as my own race car. I removed the highly modified engine as it had blown head gaskets and built a more sedate 289 engine for it, making about 300 hp. I also fitted a set of 16x8 Torque Thrust D's with Hoosier tires.
My first competition meeting was Easter Weekend 1998 at the Taupo Racetrack where I raced it in the Inter Marque Classics class. I qualified the car third on poll and managed to place the car in all the races that weekend either second or third. I then continued to race the car at various Club meetings and Corvette/Ford Club Days where I could take passengers for a ride. The car then got the nick-name "The Scud" after the scud missiles because of the way the car had to be driven. You had to fire it in to the corners, driving it a bit like a dirt track car. The car always performed well at these meetings.see car # 13 on this site) I sold this Mustang in October 1999 to Dean Cameron of Stratford and traded a 67 coupe of his on it. Dean has since spent considerable time tidying this car up, fitting new race seats, a new engine with 4 new IDA Weber carburetors, a close ratio top loader transmission, and Wilwood brakes all round.
Dean's first meeting in this car was in a New Plymouth street race event where he did very well (except the drivers door flew wide open and bent the door hinges!!).
Dean has continued to race this car at Manfeild Classic Car race meetings and still owns the car today.