1965 Ford Mustang Side View
Eric English
November 26, 2015

Technically speaking, Chuck Wolf is not the original owner of this intriguing 1965 GT fastback, and yet you’d be splitting hairs if you believe it matters. Some 50 years after the fact, we honor well-preserved original owner cars for their unique history—all the more when it’s a great survivor like this 1965. In this case, Chuck’s father, Melvin, was the original owner, but Chuck has been pulling the strings since before day one.

Chuck was a college freshman when his dad decided it was time for a new car. It was early 1965 and the elder Wolf didn’t like to leave his Cadillac parked near his shoe store in downtown Seattle while he was at work. Chuck eagerly promoted the idea of a new GTO, but Dad was having nothing of it. Instead, he was interested in a bare bones, economical Mustang hardtop—something young Chuck was conversely having nothing of.

After some back and forth negotiations, father and son came to a nice compromise, as you can see here. “To be honest, when the Mustang first debuted, I didn’t think much of it” explains Chuck. “The shape just didn’t do much for me, but then it was a different story when the fastback came out a few months later.” Even better, by the time the Wolfs were ready to order their new Mustang in May of 1965, the GT package had just made its debut. “Dad was good about letting me spec the car out mostly the way I wanted it. If it had been up to him, it would’ve been a white coupe with a six-cylinder and three-speed.” Instead, Chuck’s efforts resulted in a Poppy Red GT fastback with redline tires, console, four-speed, and limited slip. “Dad thought the extra gear in the four-speed was a waste, but he agreed to order it if I paid the difference—$188 to be exact. Chuck was aware that the GT Equipment Group mandated a four-barrel V-8 and disc brakes, thus it was a major coup for him to convince his dad on that one.

Chuck grew up in Seattle but had close relatives in the Los Angeles area where he spent part of each summer. They in turn introduced him to a friend, who Chuck began to date. In June of 1965, Chuck was slated to take this girl to her senior prom in L.A., and what better transport than a hot new Mustang? Problem was, the Seattle dealer the Wolfs ordered the car through couldn’t assure it would be delivered in time for Chuck to drive to SoCal for the prom. The family ruled out delivery to a Los Angeles dealer once they learned they’d have to pay sales tax in both Washington and California, so in the end, the new Mustang was delivered to Las Vegas, a relatively short drive from L.A. “I remember driving to Vegas with my parents to pick up the car,” says Chuck. “When we arrived, it was being prominently displayed high on an outside raised deck. I was thrilled!” Chuck recalls the dealer telling him the break-in procedure should limit speeds to below 70 mph, with frequent variation of rpm. “On that 300-mile drive to L.A., I followed his instructions to the letter.”

This 1967 photo was taken on a trip to Los Angeles to visit girlfriend Adair Teller (pictured), whom Chuck remains friends with to this day. Note the presence of E-T mags, Sun tach, and traction bars.

Chuck’s Mustang is brand new in this June 1965 picture, as he prepares for an evening at his girlfriend’s senior prom.

While the new Mustang often did serve Melvin’s five-mile commuting needs, it was Chuck’s car for all intents and purposes. “I didn’t upgrade beyond the standard hubcaps because I intended to put mags on it right away.” Those mags are the very 14x6 E-Ts on the car today. “I went through several sets of redlines into the early ’70s, then I couldn’t get them anymore. That’s when I went with the Goodyear Polyglas.” Those 45-year old tires look fantastic in our opinion, and the D70-14 size isn’t reproduced, so you’re looking at some pretty unique rubber, a remnant of another era.

In typical day-two fashion, several other goodies were quickly installed to satisfy a young Chuck, including a Sun tachometer, traction bars, and an aftermarket steering wheel. A light-duty trailer hitch allowed Chuck to haul around the 15-foot ski boat he tinkered with during the early years, and the hitch remains in place. “I also painted the air cleaner and valve covers black, as the gold didn’t look tough to me. That was the look I was after, which is why the mags have never had center caps installed on them.”

The engine compartment has never been detailed, and reveals the black paint Chuck applied to the air cleaner and valve covers in 1965, as well as evidence of a single valvejob (blue painted heads) in the late ’70s. Very few items under the hood have ever been replaced, reflective of just 112,000 original miles.

Chuck’s fastback has ridden on these very E-T mags since 1965. In addition to the original printed materials, the original boxes are still in Chuck’s garage.

Through the years, it’s obvious that Chuck took exceedingly good car of the GT. The paint is completely original, save for a small quarter-panel repair that occurred in the mid ’70s, and the interior is 100 percent original beyond the aforementioned steering wheel. The underhood view is admittedly less pristine, but echoes Chuck’s comments that even well cared for cars seldom sported a detailed engine back in the day. Blue paint on the heads is a giveaway of a valvejob done in the late ’70s, and a shop’s overzealous use of a steam cleaner unfortunately did a number on the black inner fender paint. “It’s why I don’t lift the hood at shows” Chuck says.

It was at just such a show that we stumbled upon Chuck’s great car and interesting story. We’re impressed by the preservation that Chuck says is the result of frequent waxing, regular wipe downs, garage parking, and modest miles since being retired from daily duty in 1974—112,000 in total. We’re also impressed by the foresight Chuck had so long ago, in ordering a car that has stood the test of time. Given a reasonable budget, few of us could have done any better than a brilliantly colored four-speed GT fastback. And that tough look Chuck sought from the cap-less five-spoke mags? It’s just as tough looking today!

Yes, the license plates and tabs are original and unrestored.

This original sales brochure gives insight to what Chuck dreamed of versus what he ended up with. Most of the checked boxes ended up getting ordered, while a handful is crossed out, including the 271hp Hi-Po 289 V-8.

The paperwork on the car is interesting to review. The original sales order from Seattle Ford dealer Smith-Gandy Inc., is dated 5-24-65, and indicates an out-the-door price of $3,264.84, with delivery to Gaudin Motors in Las Vegas.