Sam Anderson challenged himself to build a 733-horsepower classic Mustang
By Steve Turner
Photos courtesy of Sam Anderson
If you have built more than one project car, you always want to push the next one to a higher plane than the last. That was definitely the case for Sam Anderson, who set out to see just what kind of build he was capable of creating. As you can see, he was capable of fusing two iconic Mustangs into one project-car masterpiece.
Obviously, the basis for Sam’s latest build was the 1965 Mustang you see here. An undeniable classic, this Mustang is still revered for its style, but not so much its performance. In the annals of Mustang performance there are a few milestone moments in the Mustang history books, but the car that started the horsepower heyday we are still living in today was the 2003 Cobra.
“I wasn't really a big fan of older classics until I moved here to North Carolina and met a friend with a real nice ’69 Camaro,” Sam confessed. “That’s when I decided I wanted to build a badass hot rod. I had just the car in mind. A friend of mine in Wisconsin, where I'm from, had this ’65 fastback we actually tinkered with back in high school. It had been sitting ever since in his back yard, so I made a deal with him for it.”
Known as the Terminator, the Special Vehicle Team’s 390-horsepower brute offered features that Mustang fans had craved for years—a supercharger, a six-speed manual transmission and an independent rear suspension. When Sam started setting forth the challenge for his classic Mustang project, it was the supercharged Four-Valve 4.6 and that T-56 six-speed manual transmission that fit the bill for modernizing the drivetrain of his ’65 ’Stang.
“When I finally got the ’65 down south to start working on it, I had an ’03 Cobra as my current toy, and I knew it would be a perfect combo,” Sam said. “It is so hard to beat the reliability and driveability of the DOHC platform.”
The blending of two Mustang eras in one car is no small task. Dropping in a wide modular like the Four-Valve 4.6 means cutting out the shock towers and installing a Mustang II-style front suspension. Sam turned to Rod & Custom Motorsports for the company’s full Mustang II front suspension to facilitate the swap.
“The most challenging part really was trying to stay motivated,” he explained. “This build took a good bit of time and seeing such slow progress made it easy to get discouraged.”
Sam was definitely up to the hardware challenge. However, he wasn’t just swapping in a stock Terminator engine. He put together a 284-cube engine with a blower-friendly 9.3:1 compression ratio. It wears custom cams and Fox Lake-ported heads and is topped with a VMP Performance Gen2 TVS supercharger. In short, it’s a stout combo that was in need of a custom calibration to allow it to run strong in a classic Mustang.
For that calibration, Sam turned to tuning ace Dan Desio of Pro Dyno in Fort Mill, South Carolina. You can watch it run on the dyno, after Dan did his thing, right here…
“Dan did a great job with the tuning,” Sam enthused. “The driveability turned out even better than I expected with all the mods. Some cams seem to get tricky in this area and Dan nailed it.”
After Dan worked his magic with the SCT Performance software, Sam’s project belted out an impressive 733 horsepower and 640 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheels. It produces those results with the VMP blower cranking out 18.5 pounds of boost, which has to be a blast in a lightweight classic Mustang.
“After a few suspension tweaks and a shock change, it drives really well,” he said. “It was something I was nervous about during the whole build. I thought all this work and it will probably drive and ride like crap, but that's not the case. It’s really a blast to drive.”
After finishing an epic build like this, Sam just plans to enjoy the fruits of his labors—at least until he gets the itch for another challenge.
“It’s too early to think of the future plans for this car, but anything is possible!” he added.
Sam Anderson is a fabricator from Mooresville, North Carolina, who challenged himself to create this stunning, Terminator-powered 1965 Mustang. It wears a striking Sherwin Williams Sonic Blue over Snow White Pearl paint scheme.
The VMP TVS-blown Four-Valve under the hood looks just as good as the outside of the car as it follows the same white and Sonic Blue theme. A Howe aluminum radiator paired with a Lincoln Mark VIII electric fan keep the 733-horsepower Terminator engine cool.
In back this 733-horsepower machine rolls on True Forged wheels wrapped in massive 345/30-18 BFGoodrich tires. Sam built the custom exhaust from the stepped headers to the X-pipe to the tailpipes, but the mufflers are off-the-shelf Magnaflows.
Inside Sam upgraded his fastback with a custom rear-seat delete and a six-point roll cage painted in Sonic Blue to tie with the car’s two-tone paint job.
Sam’s dash is full of Auto Meter and Aeroforce gauges that report on every facet of the car’s performance.
The Mod List
Block: Teksid 4.6-liter aluminum, bored .020-inch over
Crankshaft: Stock Terminator forged
Rods: Manley H-beam
Pistons: L&M-spec Diamond custom w/ L&M-spec Total Seal rings
Camshafts: Bullet Racing Cams custom spec’d by Sam Anderson and Ed Schaider
Cylinder Heads: Terminator Four-Valve w/ Fox Lake Stage 3 porting and Brian Tooley Racing valve springs
Intake: Stock Terminator intercooled lower
Power Adder: VMP Gen2 2.3-liter TVS supercharger w/ GT500 monoblade throttle body, SCT BA2600 mass air meter, JLT Performance cold-air intake, 3.2-inch blower pulley and custom caged 4-pound lower pulley by Claude Allen
Fuel System: Two Walbro 255-lph fuel pumps w/ -8 fuel lines, Fore Innovations fuel rail, Injector Dynamics ID1000 fuel injectors and Fore Innovations fuel-pressure regulator
Exhaust: Custom stepped 1.625x1.75x 3-inch long-tube headers by Sam Anderson w/ custom oval X-pipe, Magnaflow mufflers and stainless steel tailpipes
Transmission: Tremec T-56 w/ 26-spline input shaft, an MGW shifter, a McLeod RXT clutch and a stock 2003 Cobra driveshaft
Rearend: Shortened 9-inch w/ Eaton Tru-Trac differential, 3.89 gears and Moser axles
Engine Management: Stock 2003 Cobra PCM w/ Ron Francis Telvorek panel
and custom SCT calibration by Dan Desio at Pro Dyno
Ignition: Stock Terminator
K-member: R&C Mustang II coilover dual A-arm suspension
A-arms: R&C Mustang II
Shocks: Bilstein coilovers
Brakes: Wilwood 13-inch w/ six-piston calipers
Wheels: True Forged Formulas, 17-inch
Tires: BFGoodrich, 215/45-17
Brakes: Wilwood 12-inch w/ four-piston calipers
Wheels: True Forged Formula, 18-inch
Tires: BFGoodrich, 345/30-18