The Box of Learning and some notes on Perspective

I was clearing out space in the garage and cleaning up a bit when I came across my Box of Learning -  really just a collection of all the metal I've had to cut out of the car and patch. I thought it would be interesting in the sense of 'full disclosure' to show a little bit to future and aspiring amature restorers (such as myself) an idea of what can be lurking beneath the surface of that 'clean, rust-free' example they came across on Craigslist. Even in the case of my particular car, which was remarkably complete and mostly rust-free, there is still plenty of work hiding under the surface.

This is what it looked like in Brett's backyard before I trailered it home.

Here's what is in the Box of Learning - all the rotten metal patches I've pulled off the car so far in my restoration efforts. What's funny is that I know where each little piece came from and what was involved in getting it fixed. Little concentrations of corrosion from a fender, a frame rail, a floor pan, a toe board, a strut rod mount. Most of those stories have already been told here. Anyone who's had an actual 'rusty' Mustang would openly scoff at this paltry collection of patches. Some folks out there are doing serious frame and structure work on their cars due only to rust.

Don't forget the bent floor support...

And this one - which, to be fair, is really six different pieces. 
I guess this counts as structural as well,

I still have the radiator support and the passenger side quarter panel (!) to go. And I would bet there is still some hidden rust hiding in the car, just waiting to be discovered.  

So here's the lesson - any car you get from this vintage will have some issues like this. Much like people, some of these issues are visible right away, others only after you live with them for a while. The more you dig, the more you'll find.  But hopefully, all the time and effort will pay off in the end.

I'm throwing away all the metal from the Box of Learning. It's really just a tetanus shot waiting to happen. However, I'm still considering putting the shock tower assembly in the yard, called something deep and philosophical like "Untitled #3" and see if anyone bites on my approach to Art. Who knows, maybe I can sell it for enough to get that disc brake upgrade package I've been eyeing...


Scott M. said…
What do you use to strip that paint down to bare metal? I just read about aircraft stripper, so was just wondering. I've got a 67 coupe, I'm in the same spot you are, have to replace the whole front clip on both sides and I'm a beginner as well. Great blog, very informative.
Adam said…
I haven't tired aircraft stripper yet, but I know it requires a lot of care to make sure it's all removed and neutralized before you can prime or paint on the surface. I'm a sander myself - I use the 3M strip-it discs on small areas, and a Makita sander on the big areas. There's more details over on my earlier post on tools (