Flame-Thrower: Greg Raymond’s PerTronix-Equipped 1965 Mustang

Every so often, in the middle of seeking out great content for you, the reader, we stumble upon a really awesome build that has been flying under the radar. Our friends at PerTronix have been keeping this one a secret from us for far too long. When we found out about it, we just had to share.

Greg Raymond is the owner of this fine Ford, and he’s also the marketing manager at PerTronix Performance Brands. You’re probably familiar with some of their brands, which include JBA Performance Exhaust, Doug’s Headers, PerTronix Ignition Products and many more.

Photography by Nicole James

Back in 1999, Greg began his work with one of the PerTronix brands in a part-time position, doing Product Catalog CD authoring for JBA Performance Exhaust. A couple of years later, he was brought into the marketing department, then sales, and eventually became the National Sales Manager. Not long after, in 2008, PerTronix Performance Products acquired JBA Exhaust, and Greg went with it. He’s been there ever since.

“Chasing Down the Camaro”

Greg bought the Mustang on January 9th of 1991, and he got it for a steal.

“In 1991, as a student at San Diego State University, I took on a part time job with Vons grocery stores at their San Diego-based distribution center,” he explained. “One of my fellow Teamsters, Joe Vega, had recovered the car after it had been stolen from the front of his home. The body had some damage and the car wouldn’t run. In his frustration, he offered it to me for $500! I had long been seeking a classic Mustang and didn’t hesitate to jump at the deal.”

Old photos from Greg's time at Carlsbad Raceway.

During his time as a student, he did a complete restoration on the Mustang on what he calls a “college student budget” and had it looking beautiful.

“It was a driver, but in amazing condition,” he told us. “It was a strong 289 2BBL car with a C4 automatic. The only thing I needed to do mechanically was replace the timing cover and water pump.”

But the shiny newness of the Mustang’s appearance would soon wear off. One summer weekend, a friend of Greg’s, Darren Stewart, invited him to bring the Mustang to the track. He accompanied Stewart with his Camaro Z28 to Carlsbad Raceway, and could only manage to turn out 13-second quarter-mile passes. Meanwhile, Stewart’s Camaro was diving down into the 11’s. It was then that Greg realized that he had a new goal: chase down the Camaro.

“Super Shops and Summit Racing became very familiar with my credit card number as I spent the next three years building the Mustang into a consistent and competitive quarter-mile racer,” he told us.

Eventually, the car would be equipped with an Art Carr racing transmission, high stall speed converter, and a balanced and blueprinted 302ci engine. He also decided on JBA long-tube headers, NOS nitrous oxide, and a 4BBL. The combination got the Mustang into the 12’s on the strip. Unfortunately, soon after in August of 2004, Carlsbad Raceway would cease operations and San Diego would become a quarter-mile-trackless domain.

That’s when the tables turned.

“I was faced with a big decision,” he told us. “Convert the car to an eighth-mile drag car, which I had very little interest in doing, or restore the car back to a street car. Selling it was out of the question.”

Powered by Ford With Aftermarket Help

And so, the transformation began in 2004. The car was disassembled in preparation for a more professional restoration with new sheet metal, paint, and interior upgrades.

The Mustang is powered by a 1972 Ford Mexican block (made in Mexico and said by some to be superior to its American-made counterparts) measuring 302 cubic inches with Shelby main caps. Its current cid is 314 with a 4.040 bore and a 3.000 stroke. It has been equipped with an Eagle crankshaft, Eagle SIR connecting rods, and Trick Flow Specialties forged pistons.

A Trick Flow Specialties Track Max Hydraulic Roller camshaft was chosen along with Trick Flow Specialties Twisted Wedge 11R 170 cylinder heads.

The engine and heads were built by Greg Smith out of Colorado Mustang in Aurora, Colorado, and all of the machine work was done by Wholesale Automotive Machine Inc. out of San Diego.

A Holley Blue Electric Fuel Pump delivers sustenance via a Holley Fuel Pressure regulator. A Holley intake manifold tops the engine.

Together, a Holley 174 supercharger with a Weiand 6891 aluminum 3.05-inch serpentine 10-groove supercharger pulley produce 10 pounds and 500 horsepower at the rear wheels. The combination was tuned by John at C&J Engineering out of Santa Fe Springs, California.

In all four corners sit 17-inch Centerline Polished Billet Star wheels wrapped in Goodyear Eagle GT rubber (215/45ZR17 in the front and 235/45ZR17 in the rear). Wilwood 4-piston disc brakes all around bring the stunner to a halt.

Of course, Greg knew the car should be lowered and the suspension needed rebuilding. He decided on KYB front and rear shocks/struts, as well as 1-inch drop Shelby springs in the front. A 1-inch front sway bar and ¾-inch rear sway bar were chosen, as well as a Shelby 1-inch A-arm drop up front. Steering happens manually, and steel weld-in subframe connectors keep the ’65 straight as an arrow.

A Ford 9-inch rearend was chosen with 3.55 gears. A Tremec T-56 6-speed transmission replaced the original automatic.

“At the last minute, we made the decision to install the Holley roots blower,” he said. “So, the engine was updated with the Trick Flow Specialties Twisted Wedge Heads, a Track Max cam, and forged pistons. The combination of the complete Trick Flow set up, which included pushrods, studs and rocker arms, helped us drop the compression ratio to just under 10:1 and increase the horsepower to 500 at the rear wheels, which was far more than we ever had at the track.”

“Wish I had this when I was racing at Carlsbad!” he told us.

Firing the Beast

Meanwhile, the majority of the Ignition system was installed on the car as part of PerTronix testing on the Digital HP this year. This includes the Digital HP CD Ignition Box with 3 digital rev limiters and multi-spark all the way to redline. It also includes a Flame-Thrower Mag Trigger Distributor, Flame-Thrower III chrome 45,000-volt Ignition Coil, and a set of their Flame-Thrower ceramic-booted 45-degree Ignition Wires. The combination creates the perfect package to consistently fire the new build.

Exhaust is handled by JBA Headers Competition-Ready headers with an H-Pipe and JBA chambered mufflers, as well as Doug’s electric cutouts.

But he didn’t need any convincing to run JBA long-tube headers (or any of the included PerTronix brand products) on his car – he was already enjoying the long tubes in the late ’90s, long before he worked for the company.

Greg admits that the thing he loves most about the Mustang is when he has an opportunity to open up the Doug’s electric cutouts.

“With a simple toggle of the switch, the Mustang is uncorked, and the sound is incredible. It’s built to be driven and we do quite a bit of that!” he says.

Striking Good Looks

When Greg purchased the Mustang, it was wrapped in a coat of Wimbledon White, but it has since been transformed to Gun Metal Metallic. Leo Marques of San Diego, California, performed and installed all of the body modifications which include shaved door handles, a new front valance, and billet grilles. Greg chose a 3-inch cowl induction hood, as well as a fiberglass rear bumper, Shelby GT350 front spoiler, and clear-smoke powdercoated emblems to complete the look.

Inside, the ’65 retains its original unmodified black bench seat. A billet bezel from JME Enterprises houses Auto Meter Phantom white face gauges. Greg also returned the factory AM radio to its original location, and added a standard camera case finished insert. TMI Products created a trunk finishing for a clean, modern touch.

“It’s not an over the top pro-touring build, but rather a very attainable build using a wide variety of aftermarket performance parts blended with subtle modifications and a clean restoration,” he explained. “Its monochromatic look is complemented by shaved door handles, clear smoked powdercoated emblems, and the fiberglass front valance and rear bumper. Restoration cues include maintaining the factory installed bench seat. There were only 17,116 bench seats installed of the 680,989 total Mustangs produced in 1965.”

With a simple toggle of the switch, the Mustang is uncorked, and the sound is incredible. It’s built to be driven and we do quite a bit of that! – Greg Raymond

Throughout the 28 years that Greg has called this Mustang his, it has seen two or three engine and transmission combinations and several paint jobs. The pictures you see here show how the Mustang has looked since 2005, but the engine build was only just completed in 2017.

“The car handles like a new car,” he told us. “The lowered stance and upgraded suspension and brakes are a big part of the feel. It’s amazing how refined the driving experience is. The 6-speed allows for very comfortable freeway driving at speed, and the blown 302 produces amazing low-end torque.”

Article Sources

About the author

Stephanie Davies

Stephanie Davies got her start in automotive media while studying at Rutgers University and eventually landed at Roush Performance outside of Detroit, where she now resides. She writes for various automotive outlets, works with rescue dogs, enjoys driving her Roush-charged Coyote-swapped 1992 Fox body Mustang race car, and is convinced that absolutely nothing in the world beats a sunny weekend at the track.
Read My Articles

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