Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Plan

1967 Ford Mustang Fastback restoration plan Anyone who owns a classic that needs 'some work' like ours does ends up asking the same question: will this be a rolling restoration or an honest tear-down and rebuild. Given the condition of our car, we chose Door #2. So, where to start? Well, all the advice I've read so far says to fix the worst first and work up from there. If the car needs paint or body work, this typically means metalwork is first - rust, accident damage, etc. Get a good solid body as a foundation and then start rebuilding the systems as needed. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out the perfect flow of disassembly and reassembly, and in the end I decided there is no single good answer - it just depends on what the car needs and what you can start with. I have a rough plan, and I'm sure it'll change as we go along, but it's important to have a map of where you're going so you don't end up redoing a bunch of work or missing some critical step. My advice here is take the time to get a plan before tearing it all apart. And for 67 and up owners, you need to get a Marti report.

Here's a rough list of what I know needs to be done:
Interior refresh - it's musty and smelly, and anything soft needs to be replaced.
Engine rebuild - the original owner mentioned some issues that need to be fixed since the last rebuild which was only a few hundred miles and thirty years ago.
Repaint - there's a lot of little body issues, and the paint is shot. There's a little rust under the hood in the usual spots, the apron overlaps and the battery tray...plus that little spot above the right rear wheel-well.
Suspension - all the springs and rubber bits in them are rotted away. A new GT suspension seems in order.
Brakes - they're seized and worn, and the master cylinder has one empty chamber. The disc/drum setup should stay, but it all needs to be overhauled.
Electrical - I don't trust wiring that's nearly 50 years old. There are plenty of OEM and aftermarket solutions to this problem. I'd hate to get this all mechanically put together and then spend all my days chasing bad grounds and weak connectors. Plus, at heart I'm an electrical guy. It's the one skill set I can bring to this party. The rest of this will have to learned along the way.

I'm going to tear it down and rebuild it. I'm going to find what's broken, worn, moldy, bent. and rusted. My intention is to clean and rebuild what we can if it's original to the car, and replace what can't be saved. Some systems will be upgraded for modern convenience, like the A/C and the electrical wiring, but others will stay period correct, like the suspension and the interior. I'd like to keep the 289 engine that came with it and the old top loader 4-speed transmission.  I'm not going for a concours restoration because I don't want to get hung up on date codes and bolt finishes - my OCD tendencies would keep me from ever getting anything done otherwise. I want to learn as much as I can about the car and how it's put together. I want to learn as many skills as I can along the way. I want the finished product to be safe, reliable, and fun while retaining the character of a classic 60's muscle car. I want to drive it and enjoy it. 

So,let's get started.

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