Ex-Claude Saffer 1965 Mustang notchback racer 
© Steve Francis, Wolfgang Kohrn - December 29th, 2009, last update December 9th, 2011


The Saffer notchback on the Sept 1975 cover of the SCCA Washington DC Region newsletter "The Straightpipe".

All pictures Steve Francis except where noted.



1989 during Larry Merricks ownership











































Photos above: Shown in it's early livery when Saffer ran the car.

"This early 1965 Mustang came out of the Dearborn plant as a D-code 289 4V powered black with red interior notchback. Claude Saffer purchased the car in 1969 and ran it as a street car for four years before preparing it to SCCA A/Sedan specs in 1973-74.  
Saffer's first race was an SCCA Regional at Summit Point in May of 1974. Saffer ran the black #23 Mustang for a number of years in A/S and GT1 before changing the color scheme to red/yellow/blue just before selling in 1984.

1989 during Larry Merricks ownership

I purchased the car from Larry Merricks in 1991 after Merricks had moved into a more modern and competitive GT1 car. The notchback had a Boss 302 engine, Toploader 4 spd, 9 inch full floater rear end, Watts link , 4-wheel disc brakes and large flares. The front spring towers were still intact however the front inner fender aprons and factory radiator support panel had been removed.

My goal was to bring the notchback back to an earlier A/S T/A spec. 
I sourced NOS front sheet metal, qtr panels and removed the entire roll cage so as to fabricate a style more to my liking. I saved the original main hoop and custom bent the remaining cage. All sheet metal was put back to early A/Sedan Trans Am spec  and the engine was out for rebuild when I advertised the car for sale."

Engine removal: Color scheme as Howard Mahoney Jr ran the car. Photo is taken during Steve Francis ownership. 

Move from PA to CT during Steve Francis ownership. Removal of flares has started

Roll cage removed. New hood, fenders, qtrs and valence. Floater rear cleaned and primed. Main Street Motorsport CT shop

Original main hoop of cage is trimmed, welded back in and cage tubing being added. Mains Street Motorsport CT shop.


Bodywork continues. Original roll cage is out. Main Street Motorsport shop.

Ford 9 inch and Saffer built Watts link. Main Street Motorsport CT shop.

Roll cage finished. Main Street Motorsport

Owner chain :
- Claude Saffer 1974-84. SCCA A/S and GT1 as car #23

- Howard Mahoney  Jr. 1984-89. SCCA GT1 as car #23 and #12

- Larry Merricks 1989-1991. SCCA GT1 and T/A as car #12

- Steve Francis 1991-1999. Sold mid-stream of restoration back to early A/S spec.

- Jim Peterman 1999-2011. Finished restoration and  vintage raced.

Photo courtesy Matt Litwin

- Cliff Ryan 2011 -  now

Cliff Ryan from UK plans to leave it in the US for racing at certain tracks.
All actual 2011 pictures courtesy Cliff Ryan

It will appear  in the Lime Rock and Watkins Glen vintage races in Sept. 2011 

"We won three 1st in class @ the Vintage Grand Prix at Watkins Glen in September." Cliff

Nov. 2011, HSR Int. historic meeting, 1st and 2nd. in class races.


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