Blown 363-cube Windsor-powered 1965 Mustang coupe

Ryan Finlay’s journey with this 1965 Mustang began when he was 15, having saved up every spare dollar he had to buy his dream machine – his very first car. Of course, back then it was quite some way from the blown 770rwhp behemoth it is today.

First published in the November 2022 issue of Street Machine

The colour is BMW Hyper Blue, pinched from a 2005 Mini. It was first painted back in 2008, but was given an unplanned respray last year after Ryan’s young son decided to have a crack at painting the car himself!

“I obviously wanted a V8, but given I was going on my P-plates soon, my dad wasn’t a big fan of that idea, so I got a six-cylinder instead,” Ryan says.

Now 33, Ryan has since added another five Mustangs and a few classic Falcons to his arsenal. But his first car is still the crown jewel. “I’ve obviously always loved my Mustangs, and even though we’ve sold off a few cars recently, this is one I could definitely never get rid of,” he says. “I’m taking it to the grave.”

Part of Ryan’s original vision for the blown combo was to have a Bug Catcher, but once he dropped the engine in, he realised it’d sit well above the roof if he followed through with that!

After a few years of ownership, Ryan upgraded to a V8, naturally. But that donk met its maker at the track, so he slotted an angry 347-cube Windsor in its place. Street Machine featured the Mustang in this guise in the Young Guns section of the December 2010 issue.

Unfortunately, that 347 later suffered a death at the hands of a child in a bizarre garage mishap. As it turns out, Ryan’s four-year-old son William has a passion for cars just as strong as his dad’s, but his eagerness to get involved with Dad’s car led to certain members of the piston community getting upset. “I was working on the carby because it was running a bit rough from sitting, and I left William to play in the car when I went to get a drink,” says Ryan. “In that time he’d somehow managed to get one of the carby nuts down into the engine, which ended up destroying two pistons.”

The Mustang sits on a set of 18in Boyd Junkyard Dog wheels – 18x7s in the front, and 18x8s wrapped in 235 street rubber out back

As painful as that was, it gave Ryan the perfect excuse to step it up a notch for the Mustang’s new mill. “I’d already been collecting parts for the blown engine, because it’s something I’d always dreamed about having in this car,” he says. “I figured this was the opportunity to make that happen.”

A Dart SHP Ford 302 Windsor block was built up by Troy Dunstan from Arundel Cylinder Heads, all built to suit the old-school, Roots-style 6/71 blower.

Ryan admits there may be easier ways to make 770rwhp these days, but no turbo or nitrous can ever top the cool factor of a Roots-style 6/71 blower sticking out of the bonnet

Capacity was punched out to 363 cubes with a Scat forged crank, H-beam rods and DSS Racing pistons. The lumpy stick is a Comp Cams unit, and topping off the long block is a beefy pair of AFR cylinder heads.

A custom-made manifold with four-inch spacing sits atop the Windsor, making a home for the big and beautiful blower. Ryan opted for an old-school carby set-up rather than EFI, so keeping the whole combo fed with air and E85 is a pair of ethanol-friendly AED double-pumper 750s.

Black is best when it comes to the Mustang’s cockpit, with Ryan opting for a largely factory-spec interior. No doubt most people would be surprised when they pop their head in and see the manual shifter – no Powerglides here!

“I went with carbies because I thought it’d be cheaper and simpler, but by the time I priced up the carbies and fuel system, it was about as much as an EFI kit!” he laughs.

On 12 pounds of boost, the Mustang made 769rwhp, and, believe it or not, Ryan still really only intends for this to be a street car. “I’m not overly interested in taking it racing all the time; I get much more enjoyment out of going on cruises and using it on the street,” he says. “It is a pretty wild thing to drive if you aren’t careful, but I just love it and it gets plenty of attention – sometimes too much!”

One of the reasons we imagine it’d be a handful is because, unlike most blown builds of this level, Ryan’s ’Stang has three pedals, with a TKO-600 five-speed manual to shift those 770 horses through. “It already had that gearbox in it from the last engine, and I get more enjoyment out of it on the street going through the gears,” he says. “Plus, it’s originally a manual car, so I couldn’t make it auto!”

The striking Hyper Blue paint was lifted from the new-age Mini colour charts, and while it was the same colour when we last featured it in 2010, it’s had a blow-over since because of another unfortunate incident with Ryan’s car-loving son. “That was back when William was two, and he saw me painting another Falcon at home, and thought while I was gone he’d have a crack at painting the Mustang with a can of guide coat he found,” says Ryan. “It was all over the car, inside and out, so I had an interesting call with Shannons, and then Geoff Luck from GC Restoration was tasked with repainting it.”

Ryan and the Mustang first graced our pages in the December 2010 issue’s Young Gun feature. As you can see, there have been some changes in the years since – most notably the metal mountain now sprouting through the bonnet

Ryan has been enjoying the car in its current form for just under a year, including a recent whoopsie in a rare stab at the drag strip. “I took it racing for some fun, and with the slicks on the back, it ended up bending the saddles for the rear leaf springs, so it looks like I’m up for a rear end,” he laughs. Given the Mustang still has the original 8.5-inch diff in it, Ryan plans to upgrade to a proper nine-inch shortly.

“Other than that, I’ll probably just enjoy it for a while with my son, who’s battling aggressive T-cell leukaemia,” Ryan says. “The chemo is pretty rough on him, so we try and make the most of the time we have outside the treatments and get him smiling again, and this car is a big part of that. He loves it just as much as I do.”

Ryan with his four-year-old son, William, who is locked in a fierce battle with aggressive leukaemia. But that hasn’t stopped him asking Dad which Mustang from the collection will be his one day!


Paint: BMW Hyper Blue
Brand: 363ci Dart Windsor
Induction: Custom manifold
Carbies: Twin AED 750
Blower: Roots-style 6/71
Heads: AFR
Camshaft: Comp Cams
Conrods: Scat H-beam
Pistons: DSS Racing Pistons
Crank: Scat
Oil pump: High-volume
Fuel system: Aeromotive Phantom pumps
Exhaust: JBA headers, 3in system
Ignition: MSD dizzy and 6AL
Gearbox: TKO-600 five-speed manual
Clutch: NPC twin-plate TKO-600 five-speed manual
Diff: 8.5in, 3.8:1 gears
Springs: Standard
Shocks: Koni
Brakes: XY discs (f), XF discs (r)
Rims: Boyd Coddington Junkyard Dog; 18×7 (f), 18×8 (r)
Rubber: Wanli S-1063 (f), Accelera 235/40R18 (r)

Geoff Luck at GC Restoration; Troy Dunstan at Arundel Cylinder Heads; Shaun Power for all the free advice on the build; Race Car Engineering.


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