Growing up as a young, impressionable boy during the height of the muscle car wars, Peter Torinese took a liking to the fast and ferocious rides that were carousing his local neighborhood in Toms River, New Jersey. As soon as he was old enough to read instructions and handle model glue, he was building 1:24 scale mock-ups of his favorite cars, a hobby that he still enjoys to this day.
After marriage and retiring from the Marines in Bluffton, South Carolina, Peter started looking for a project car. He had owned a pair of Mustangs, an '84 hatchback and '73 hardtop, but this time he wanted something more, something powered by a Cobra Jet 351. With the profit from the sale of the '73, Peter took to the Internet and started hunting for a more potent pony. His search led him to a classic car dealership in Georgia and a '73 T-5 with a Cleveland between the fenders.
That's how Peter first learned about the T-5 exports, which could not use the Mustang name in Germany due to an existing copyright by a truck manufacturer. The fact that the T-5 had no Mustang badges didn't cause him to shy away; it actually made him more interested. After some negotiation, Peter drove the rare ride home without even a hiccup.
Peter immediately obtained a Marti Report, which verified the car's T-5 and heavily optioned status. There were originally 148 '71 T-5 hardtops made for export, with only 12 known to exist today in the U.S. Others are still overseas, with the majority in Germany. Due to the diligence of the First Mustang Club of Germany, many have been located and documented.
Peter's T-5 was born as a highly-optioned vehicle, starting life as a Grande in December 1972. It's still powered by the original Q-code 351 four-barrel engine. Originally painted Ivy Glow Metallic, somewhere along the line it was repainted in Medium Blue Metallic, then complemented with argent Mach 1 stripes and spoilers.
An original four-speed car, the T-5 is also equipped with power steering, "Selectaire" A/C, console, tilt steering, AM/FM stereo (now replaced with a modern CD unit), rear window defroster, power windows, power front disc brakes, and Competition Suspension. The original wheels and hubcaps were ditched a long time ago in favor of 14x6 forged aluminum versions with Grand Am GT Radials.
Some liberties were also taken in the engine compartment where a Holley 650 double-pumper sits on top of an Edelbrock Performer 351C intake. Other mods include a Mallory Highfire 6A Ignition System and Hooker headers that flow into dual Flowmaster mufflers.
Peter is thrilled to own this rare slice of Mustang history. At shows the locals always ask: "Where are the Mustang badges?" It's amazing how few, even knowledgeable, car guys know about the Ford export program to Germany.