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Classic Mustangs Tech Forum

Technical discussions specific to 1964-1967, 1968-1970, and 1971-1973 Classic Mustang. Discuss all tech related to in-line six cylinder and V8 powered Vintage Mustangs here.

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Unread 03-23-2008   #1 (permalink)
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Default Restoration Cost?

How much on average do you guys think it would cost to restore a late 1960's mustang coupe? Without the engine included in the restoration price? I will pretty much be restoring all the exterior and interior objects..Such as fenders, Seats, Dash, Hood, Bumper, Inner wells, Thats all i can think of off the top of my head. But ya pretty much everything on the car...Some of this wont need to be replaces just weld a new piece of sheet metal where the rust is starting..And i will be getting this mustang for about 700 dollars.

Do you even really think its worth restoring? Im not looking to make money off this, just don't wanna spent 20 grand restoring it when i could buy a nice mustang and just drop a 6-7k engine in it and spend 18k..

My prices may be off a bit in the last paragraph but you get what I'm saying..Wow sorry its so long
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Unread 03-23-2008   #2 (permalink)
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idk maby around 10 grand if ur replacing everything...i mean try not to find a rust bucket that needs work. and that will shave of a couple of grand...really i'd try to find a project mustang that is half completed....or like just started...My stang has been owned by 2 ppl b4 me and they both tried to fix it so now i have a half done stang! lol
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Unread 03-23-2008   #3 (permalink)
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Depends on how far (perfect?) you want to take the car.

I would say the above quote of 10 grand is on the low side. Parts are one thing but labor is even more expensive than parts.

I've never fully added up my costs, just because I REALLY don't want to know, but I'll say I've got more than 10k in mine and I've done most of the work myself plus it wasn't a rust bucket to start with. I did restore many of the parts back to factory or near factory looks. I also chased down some parts that were missing or had been changed to aftermarket. Then there were many parts that were worn out or damaged.

It is almost always cheaper to get a car that has been restored before.
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Hopefully a 1969 convertible or Sportsroof (non Mach or Boss) for next Mustang project

Trying to find my father's 1973 Mustang Grande he bought brand new. 3F04F126773 last known registration and title was in New Jersey, 1982.
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Unread 03-23-2008   #4 (permalink)
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Hello. If this is going to be the first car that you've restored, then abandon any hope of making a nickel on it. You will definitely lose your shirt. 100%, for sure, no doubt about it. People that are very, very good at this don't make money on every car, and no hobbyist has ever done anything other than get waaaaay upside-down on their first full restoration. You're starting with a car, if it costs 700 bucks, that will need at least twice what you are talking about. The paint and body work alone will eat up that 10 grand in a hurry, and that's without even talking about all of the electrical problems, the suspension and brake 'issues', motor, tranny, rear end, etc.... Total restorations are real expensive. There is absolutely no possibility of you doing anything other than lose your shirt if you are thinking about buying a car, restoring it and then selling it. Personally, I've never lost money on a car, but I also never sold my first one. I still have it in my attic. I also had a brother that was in his late 20s when I was 13, and, at least as far as I've been able to determine, he knows everything, and thought it was really funny to watch me make all of the mistakes that you are about to, and then explain how I should have done that to avoid shocking myself or busting up my knuckles or something. But, even with someone who was as good as anybody, and better than most, standing right there to explain how things really need to be done, access to every conceivable tool for free, a location to do all of the work rent-free, I still would have lost money on that car. It sure was pretty when I got finished , though.
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Unread 03-24-2008   #5 (permalink)
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Alright thanks to everyone that responded. As far as labor goes this will all be done with my dad and I. This will be my first restoration of a mustang, Also my dads first restoration of a mustang. But my dad has restored a 1977 gmc pickup and a 1972 camero ( not sure what year really just know its a early 70's).

But i think i will look for a better mustang with minimal body damage.
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Unread 03-24-2008   #6 (permalink)
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Its spelled camaro.I did a frame off on a 65 impala ss when i was 17 i lost count after i went over the 20 grand mark but it had a lot of rust and frame rot.
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Unread 03-24-2008   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hilltop View Post
Alright thanks to everyone that responded. As far as labor goes this will all be done with my dad and I. This will be my first restoration of a mustang, Also my dads first restoration of a mustang. But my dad has restored a 1977 gmc pickup and a 1972 camero ( not sure what year really just know its a early 70's).

But i think i will look for a better mustang with minimal body damage.

It's good you'll be doing the work yourself, otherwise it will add up fast with labor charges if you have to farm the work out. Doing a Mustang won't be much different than a full size GM truck or Camaro with parts availability and the theory of metal work and replacement. The only thing you're father might find surprising is how weaker the Mustang's front end is than a Camaro's, "cheaper" construction by Ford.

Definitely find the most solid Mustang you can in your price range, it will save you in the long run.
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Hopefully a 1969 convertible or Sportsroof (non Mach or Boss) for next Mustang project

Trying to find my father's 1973 Mustang Grande he bought brand new. 3F04F126773 last known registration and title was in New Jersey, 1982.
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Unread 03-24-2008   #8 (permalink)
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Default restoration costs

Depends on how bad "bad" is.
My 65 coupe six automatic was a true rust bucket. No floors, no fenders, bad quarters, door skins, torque box, you name it, it had rust holes through it. It had even been on fire. We patched the firewall and core support and used new body parts for everything else. The only good original part was the wiper fluid bag, but the cap was missing from that! We put 12 grand in it, including a Jasper remanfactured long block. The other parts are mostly from NPD in Michigan and K.A.R. in Columbus, Ohio. We didn't get fancy and kept the stock base interior. Since I work with my brother in a restoration shop this figure does not include labor. You could expect to pay 4 to 5 grand for labor if somebody does it for you. That's what we would charge.

But, remember, at that price you are getting a NEW 65 Mustang. I drive mine every day. I couldn't buy a 2008 that cheap!

Harry
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Unread 03-26-2008   #9 (permalink)
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I feel like Jay H above when he said he never added it all up because he REALLY didn't want to know. I am afraid to add it all up I just stick my head in the sand. lol.

Body work, fixing rust, etc, I've spent somewhere north of 4,000 on that, and the paint job will be about 2000 more, so lets say I'm at the point of at least 6000 just to have a rolling painted rust free body. So if you take AnYTHING from that, then understand a rust free project car is worth it's weight in gold practically.

Engine and transmission, I bought my neighbors 85 Cougar for $300 after a fire destroyed the wiring harness in the car. It had a Ford replacement motor with only about 4,000 miles on it, so in my mind I got a basically new 302 engine. I am also using the AOD trans from the Cougar, but thats original not rebuilt so I might have some problems down the road. I changed the 302 over from throttle body injection to carburetor, and along with the brackets and oil pan, etc, I am under $1000 for engine and trans.

Suspension & steering, I didn't reuse anything, but I did find quite a few good deals on ebay. New springs, upper & lower control arms, new bushings, new spring saddles, V8 steering linkage, Granada disk brakes, new calipers, new rotors, rear springs used V8 leaf springs, 1957 Fairlane 9 inch rear. Probably around $1000 so far on the steering and suspension, but I still need to upgrade the rear end to disk brakes and I still need to complete the brake system (new lines, new hoses, new master cylinder). So lets estimate $1500 by the time I'm done.

Interior has not been touch yet, although I did get a full set of seats for $120. I'll need to have those recovered, need to have headliner put in, new door panels, dashpad, carpet, etc. Most of my catalogs have "interior kits" for like $400 so I'll probably go that route. I am hoping that $1000 will take care of the interior and electrical (I have a set of gauges picked out already).

As you can see from above thats already $9500 total, and I have not addressed weatherstripping, chrome trim (windshield, rear window, bumpers, side emblems, hood lettering, taillights, etc), exhaust setup, wheels & tires, or sound system. It's depressing to think of how much the total will be, because this is easily going to go over 12000 but in the end if we had to sell it would probably sell for 7,000 or something like that, which is about it for a nice restomod coupe.

Good luck in your project but if you are doing this to make a profit you're in the wrong business. If you are doing it to have a car you love made the exact way you want it, then definitely jump right in!!
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Unread 04-23-2008   #10 (permalink)
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I've been restoring my 68 coupe for 6 years now. I used to say feeding my 4 kids was why it's still stripped down in the garage, but the true/honest reason is the S197. ;-) But seriously, it's more fun if 1) You aren't in a hurry; and 2) You don't keep track of the costs; 3) You do most of the work yourself.

I recommend getting it media blasted and primed. It seems like a huge expense, around $1500, but in the long run, it gives you a base to start with. I don't recommend attempting your own body work AND doing the initial stripping yourself too. Most likely, you'll get worn out and discouraged quickly that way. Choose your battles wisely. After the body/paint is done, it's incredibly fun working on the rest of the car. I've got brand new front/rear suspension, 4-wheel disc brakes, wheels, the works, ready to go in soon!
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Unread 04-23-2008   #11 (permalink)
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The car guys I hang out with avoid the subject. You do it for the love, not the investment. AND, divorce at retirement age is a bad thing.
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Unread 04-23-2008   #12 (permalink)
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All I can say is this....

1) Do as much of it yourself as you can. Body work is not that hard, get a good book and try some. If you don't like it you can always bail on the body work and have someone else do it. Personally I enjoy the body work as much as the "fun" stuff like engine and interior (which sometimes aren't that fun). The engine work, electrical, and interior are the same way...not nearly as hard as they seem if you take your time and get good advice (whether from a book, forums like this, or from friends/family).

2) I plan on taking 4-5 years at least to finish my ground up resto/mod. I may only spend $250-$500/month and I don't feel rushed, but that adds up to $15,000-$30,000 over 5 years! It also keeps the wife OK with the project since I am not breaking the bank right out of the chute. If you want a car you can drive or show right now...get a loan and buy one that's done or really close. I am just choosing to spend my "car payment" on fixing the one I have. You will be surprised how much you can get done on $500 a month and how quickly it starts taking shape.

3) If you do it yourself and do it like you want to, you will end up with...a better than brand new '60s Mustang...and a car that you won't make any money on but also one that is worth more to YOU than anyone could ever pay you. I bought my '68 back when I was 18 (I'm 38 now). It has never been anywhere close to a "show car" and won't be for some time, but I plan on having my kids, grandkids, and hopefully great-grandkids having a chance to drive it! Unless it means saving a life...I will NEVER sell it.
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Unread 04-23-2008   #13 (permalink)
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I'm two years into restoring my 1967 coupe, which takes up half of my garage. I got the body done at no cost on a barter deal, and now I'm working on the engine. I expect to spend $300 - $500 per month for the next two years. I really like that comment above about the cost being comparable to a car payment and when you're done you have a "new" mustang for less cost than a car out of the show room.

My wife frequently tells me that the day I die is the day she puts it up for sale.

I tell my wife that if I finish it before I die, it will be her best way of finding another husband!
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Unread 04-23-2008   #14 (permalink)
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The other thing is I may go 3-5 months just doing prep work for something "big" I need to buy (suspension, brake conversion, etc) and not spend anywhere near what I budgeted for those months. I still set that money aside. When the prep work is done I've got $2,000-$3,000 built up to buy the "big ticket" item. I'm early on in the project right now but it's all set-up work to redo the front suspension and brakes. I probably won't spend more than $100/month on supplies until August or September, but when I'm ready I'll be able to buy all the suspension and brake kits at once. Then it will take me a while to install them. By that time I will have more saved up. Shampoo...rinse...repeat!

It's the only way I can throw down a few grand at once to get the stuff I want.
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Unread 04-23-2008   #15 (permalink)
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I originally planned on just a quick few problem areas to get the car drivable again, and then I'd take it to shows, little by little do things to it, but every time I'd replace a part here or there, I'd find even more work that needed to be done. So I wasted about 2 years just dinking around, not realizing what really needed to be done. I then spent another year just trying to figure out how to strip it, and realized I'm no good at body work. So, it really helps to plan up front what you want out of the restoration. I'm torn between building it for competition or just show.
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