You can't go wrong with a classic Mustang, especially a '72 with a stock 302. When it comes time for a teardown, though, it's the perfect time to add a bit more power to that stock engine. That's what forum user Papashaps wants to do — his '72 is in the shop for some body work and a new paint job, and he's wondering what he can do to improve the power of his Mustang without breaking the bank.

The Car

For being a '72, it's awesome to see that his Mustang still has its original 302 engine that runs pretty well. In the decades since it rolled off the assembly line, there have been only 83,000 miles put on the engine. It needs a teardown and gasket replacement because the original gaskets are old and leaky, but he's wondering what he can do to get a little bit of power out of this classic engine without taking out a mortgage on his house or emptying his saving's account.

Boring the engine to .30 over isn't a solution simply because of the sheer cost of getting the engine machined, so what are the other options available to this classic Mustang owner? Should he look into replacing the carburetor with a 4-barrel performance carb, or do a valve and ring job to improve engine compression?

The Options

Redoing the intake and replacing the carburetor are popular choices for adding some decent power without breaking the bank. Holley or Edelbrock carbs are both good options. Replacement headers are also an option and don't cost a ton of money to procure, especially if you're dealing with an older engine.

A ring and pinion replacement for the rear end might not sound like a power booster, but it can improve handling and power transfer to the rear tires, which increases overall power.

Replacement intake manifolds are cheap to obtain and easy to install. Many users also recommend a cam rebuild, but that will depend on how much Papashaps is willing to spend on his rebuild because they're not terribly cheap.

The fluids that this 'Stang owner chooses after his teardown will also have an impact on the power that’s generated by the engine. Synthetic oil can prevent undue engine wear, and coolant additives can help the engine's cooling systems work more efficiently . With 80,000+ miles on the odometer, Papashaps could even stand to replace the radiator to make the whole engine run smoothly.

Papashaps can do plenty of things to trick out his Mustang without breaking the bank. The trick is to find the right parts for the right prices — thankfully, the 302 Mustang is easy to get parts for. Even if you can't find them online, there are probably more than a few 302 engines gathering rust in your local junkyards. It might just take a bit of hunting to find a good option that you can recover if you're handy with a wrench.