This car turns even the youngest generation’s head.

BG ‘ponies up’ in magnificent black Mustang

Car: 1965 Ford Mustang GT

Drive: Cruisin’ through Caloundra, Queensland


There’s a youngster riding on his dad’s shoulders as they follow mum pushing a stroller across the pedestrian crossing. 

He’s all of about 18 months, maybe two-years-old ‘max’ and has a ‘hoodie’ pulled over his head, but there’s no mistaking where his focus is – it’s fixed on me and a gleaming black car, stopped to give way to this young family. 

All the way across the road he cranes his neck to keep tabs on us and, when I ease the car away and glance into the rear-view mirror, there he is watching until we’ve driven out of sight.  

For all of his tender age, something obviously told the youngster that this particular car is special. Such is the pulling power of Ford’s legendary Ford Mustang.

Just as it might have also turned his grandfather’s head some 50 years ago, the original and iconic American muscle car still has what it takes. In spades. 

Come on a drive aboard a 1965 GT model, one of two classic Mustangs owned at the time by an enthusiast with blue oval eyes, Russell Simpson.

I’m following in the wheel tracks of his 1968 Coupe as we enjoy a long-weekend cruise, north to south, along Caloundra’s picturesque beachfront – Dicky, Moffat, Shelly, Kings and Golden.

To say Russell was eagerly awaiting the arrival of his GT from the US would be an understatement. He tracked the every move of the car’s seaborne journey, plotting its path on his PC.

 “I could see when it left Long Beach (in California), then the ship sailed to South Korea,” he said.

“There, it was transhipped and the new ship called in other Asian ports on its way south.

“Finally, it goes past here (Caloundra) – I watched it sail by – and you think, ‘At last!’, but then the ship heads on to Melbourne before finally arriving in Brisbane.”

The wait was well worth it. Russell has in his grasp the car he always wanted from the time he saw, as a youngster growing up in Melbourne, one of Ian ‘Pete’ Geoghegan’s race versions in awe-inspiring action at Sandown Park raceway.

Now, back to our drive which started with a turn of the ignition key at Pelican Waters.

Ensconced behind a handsome, drilled-spoke wood-rimmed steering wheel, I follow Russ’ succinct instruction to simply pump the accelerator three times and the 289 cubic-inch V8 would fire up first time.

So it did and quickly settled into a throbbing idle. While the oil pressure builds and water temperature heats, I take the time to survey the Mustang’s interior.

There’s a handsome bank of instruments flanking the large speedo – to the left, fuel and oil gauges; to the right, amp meter and water temperature gauges. 

Importantly, an auxiliary tachometer is located prominently to the bottom left of the speedo.

The gearshift is on the right (the car is in its original left-hand-drive configuration) and angled so that it falls conveniently to hand. 

Already the pleated bucket seat has moulded comfortably to my shape.

Black leather and rubber abounds, accentuated by splashes of chrome everywhere and there’s that indescribable smell that only well-maintained, older cars give off.

‘Lootenant’ Frank Bullitt would be right at home, I think to myself. 

Classic Pony Car 7
Owner Russell Simpson with his pair of black ponies.


Reverse gear on the 4-spd manual box is engaged by pulling the lever up and down to the left and the Mustang burbles out of the garage into the street and we’re on our way. 

I’ve driven enough classic cars to appreciate that they interact vastly different with their driver to that of modern machinery.

Steering feel, with no power assistance, is way different; throttle, clutch and brake pedal travel usually longer and differently weighted; gearbox throws are also longer and there are fewer gears to invoke.

And the brakes, being pre-ABS, respond best to progressive application.

Drive with this appreciation and attitude and you and the classic bond nicely. So it is with the GT.

Negotiating Caloundra’s many roundabouts, the tiller feels a little numb on initial turn-in and it’s easy to over-compensate by winding on too much lock. But, in very little time I’m used to it and accepting that this is the ‘norm’. 

Along and over the hilly back streets, the Mustang glides along happily in 2nd gear, but it wasn’t always so.

When Russ imported the car, it was prone to stalling and running roughly.

A switch to a Holley 570 four-barrel carburettor and complete new exhaust system proved the cure, making the car way more tractable. 

Out of the confines of town and on to the open road raises ‘the question’ – how does it go? The answer is emphatic as it is instantaneous. 

The car’s optional Hi-Po engine – up 71hp (52kW) on the standard 200hp (147kW) engine – driving through 3.5:1 differential gearing, responds with enthusiasm as I roll the throttle on and work through the gears.

Estimated time 0-100km/h is about 7.0 secs, though our forward momentum feels faster.

Legal maximum speed of 110km/h quickly attained, I ease off on to a steady throttle and the Mustang settles into cruise mode with 3400 rpm showing on the tacho.

The Koni suspension and rubber sized close to the original on 14-inch alloy wheels make for a compliant ride far more satisfying than the floaty offering of some American cars I’ve driven. And there’s an overall impression of tautness of body and capable dynamics. 

This is one impressive drive and one that I don’t want to stop. But, back to where we came in.

Interest-wise, the goggle-eyed youngster on his dad’s shoulders was only the proverbial tip of the iceberg. Wherever we went, people of all ages, male and female, turned and stared and many nodded with a smile or gave the thumbs up.

Camera phones were raised in salute. And why not?

Going by my experience, an original Ford Mustang –  especially one as good as this – deserves to be celebrated in style.  


1965 Ford Mustang GT

Price: N/A

Engine: 4.7-litre Hi-Po V8

Power: 199kW

Torque: 423Nm

Transmission: 4-spd manual

Weight: N/A

Drive: Rear-wheel.

0-100km/h: 7.0 secs (estimated) 


CHECKOUT:  Besotted by the Cotswolds and a gorgeous Alfa

CHECKOUT:  Double shot in Renault’s pocket rocket

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *