1965 Mustang Resto Mod, “Testbed Terror”

1965 Mustang Testbed TerrorAs it turns out the Eleanor Shelby from the movie “Gone In 60 Seconds” was actually inspired by an earlier Mustang resto mod custom from California. We all know the story of how a fictional Shelby Mustang named Eleanor gave new life to the image of the classic Mustang fastback. The classic car market was indelibly affected when the movie “Gone In 60 Seconds” hit theaters in 2000 with Eleanor (a resto mod 1967 Shelby GT500) as its star. But seldom told is the story of the car that inspired Cinema Vehicle Services to build the Eleanor cars for the movie.

According to Ray Claridge, owner of Cinema Vehicle Services, a 1965 Mustang Resto Mod was used by the studio to teach Nicholas Cage and his stunt drivers how to drive Eleanor for the movie. You see, at the time, the term “resto mod” had not come into our vocabulary yet. One of the first real resto mods was this 1965 Mustang Fastback which you see pictured here. It was custom built by Terry Buch, an owner of Total Control Products located in Elk Grove, California, to resemble a Shelby, but with all modern technology. Cinema Vehicle Services was the company with which the studio contracted to build the 11 Eleanor cars for the movie “Gone In 60 Seconds.” Since Cinema Vehicle Services was still in the process of building the Eleanor cars, they hired TCP to trailer their 1965 Stang resto mod to the Bondurant track so that Cage and his stunt drivers Built 289 engine for the 1965 Mustang Testbed Terrorwould experience the exciting performance of a modern resto mod.

In the late 90’s classic car enthusiast Rocky Garcia owned a really sweet 1965 Ford Mustang 2+2 Fastback.  It was originally built on July 22, 1965 in San Jose, California.  The car was an A code which meant it had a 289 4-barrel V8. It also had a 4-speed transmission.  All of this information is found from the VIN number and vehicle data tag.  Garcia wanted to build a car that he could drive aggressively around a race track.  He had to find the right person to build his dream car. He found  TCP (Total Control Products) owner Terry Buch.  Terry was plain and simply put, “the man”!  His company’s slogan was “Yesterdays Classics, Todays Technology”. TCP researched and developed cutting edge technology.

While Cinema Vehicle Services was hard at work building 11 Eleanor’s for the movie they needed a test car for Nicholas Cage and the stunt men to practice with in preparation for “Eleanor”. Ray Claridge the owner of Cinema Vehicle Services called Terry Buch to see if he could use the 1965 Ford Mustang Fastback for training the movie drivers. Buch agreed to allow the Touchstone production company to use his ’65 Mustang Fastback to train Nicholas Cage and the stunt drivers to drive a resto mod with a racing style suspension. He was instructed to trailer the car from California to the world famous Bondurants Race Track. It would be there that Terry Buch would meet with Bob Bondurant, Mike McGovern (veteran driver), Nicholas Cage and all the stunt men. the 1965 Ford Mustang Fastback #34 was now a legend in the making. This Mustang was also raced at Laguna Seca as well and was circling the track with real Shelby’s.  You can see photos from Mustang Illustrated magazine of the black Mustang racing with Shelby’s if you seach the photos on the ad page.  The magazine article reads, “Want to know what it sounds like?  Just check the soon-to-be released remake of ‘Gone in 60 Seconds’ starring Nicholas Cage.” Rocky’s car was used for some of the soundtrack as well as driving scenes!  The magazine nicked named the car ‘Testbed Terror.”

This car has been SOLD.

See the story written about this car by Cars On Line in their most recent newsletter.

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3 Responses to 1965 Mustang Resto Mod, “Testbed Terror”

  1. Kevin Abrahamson December 25, 2013 at 7:33 am #

    The claim of being driven in movie scenes is rediculous
    The car is a black 1965 smallblock fastback
    NOT A Mineral Gray 1967 Shelby GT500
    I Own a copy of the movie and that car is NOT in it !!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Restomod classics January 2, 2015 at 8:57 am #

    The Restomod existed long before this movie came out. I started Restomod classics in 1996. The fact that this car is now being sold in Florida as a Shelby eleanor not only sounds ridiculous but it makes no sense. It’s just an a code fast back possibly driven by nick cage.

  3. Paul Wiltz April 28, 2015 at 1:59 pm #

    The 1965 fastback should have been used instead of the 67 ! 65 Was the First & in my opion was better looking …

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