In these uncertain times society as a whole faces life altering demands imposed by social distancing and imposed isolation.

That said, look on the bright side, as car people we have been well prepared for this solitary experience by the endless hours we have spent in our garage alone or with the same loyal friend or family member by our side.


Mustang Madness Revisited

Rich Varjan has accepted this unfortunate situation as an opportunity to sequester himself and his son Christopher in their garage with the 1969 Mustang that Varjan bought and raced in 1973. Last driven in the late 1970s, Varjan’s Mustang has suffered decades of neglect followed by spotty efforts over the last 15 years to bring it back to life. Now with few competing distractions, it appears the Mustang’s time has come.

Varjan a gregarious and genial bull of a man has been a “car guy” since his teen years growing up in Oradell, NJ. Today he operates European Exchange, a highly respected transmission repair and rebuilding business in Hackensack, NJ.

By the early 2000s Varjan’s Mustang sat literally as a sad shell of its once high performance self. Little remained of critical support structures. For “Collectible automobiles” class members it was the epitome of the “Buy It Or Bury It” question. In Varjan’s mind the choice was clear, scrap it or start from scratch with a tube chassis. As Varjan says, “Anyone in his right mind would have scrapped it. Still that Mustang meant so much to me, I decided to rebuild it.”

Varjan envisioned the resurrected Mustang returning to life in full out Pro-Street trim. While street legal, a Pro-Street car’s signature high performance engine and NHRA roll cage clearly screams track racing. His Mustang would not disappoint.

Stroked to 393 cu. in. with 13.5 to 1 compression, the Mustang’s original 351 cu in Windsor has been totally rebuilt. Dyno tested at over 600 horsepower, the stroked Windsor quietly sulked in a corner of the garage as it impatiently waited to be mated to the custom race tuned tube chassis Varjan had fabricated in the mid-2000s.

Having the awesome power delivered though a 6-speed Richmond transmission and 4.56 gears consummates a marriage made for quarter mile heaven. To get that power to the pavement, eighteen inch Budnik forged wheels wear Mickey Thompson Sportsman tires with the rears delivering plenty of bite courtesy of 18-inch tread width.

Much work still remains as Varjan attends to every detail with a jeweler’s eye and an artist’s hand. Surfaces that the public will never see benefit from focused attention. The bell housing enjoys a proper prepping prior to powder coating. The engine bay benefits from a routing plan with precision worthy of a Presidential motorcade.

While sparse, the interior shows well with premium seating and custom carpeted surfaces.

Sometimes luck does play a role. Earlier this year settling on the proper blue for the Mustang’s exterior consumed countless hours, numerous chips and frustrating tests. Then on a parts run to an Audi dealer, Varjan, upon entering the showroom, came face to face with a new Audi TT RS resplendent in the exact blue he wanted. Getting the Audi’s PPG paint code from the dealer concluded the color search.

In practicing the necessary precautions demanded of us all, Rich Varjan used the Covid-19 lockdown to bring his long stalled Mustang project up to speed.

Have you self quarantined with your collectible vehicle? Now that you have the time you always wished for to work on your car, what have you done?