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Discussion Starter #1
Hey Guys,

First off, let me make it clear that I'm not a classic mustang expert or a mechanic, but I am an enthusiast who knows his way around a car. I currently drive an 08 Roush but I am looking for the project car of my dreams. I envision a car that needs quite a bit of TLC that can be the centerpiece of my garage and a source of something to do for several years. I wanted some suggestions on how to select a car and what things to look for/avoid. I understand the whole idea behind a resto-car is to fix it up but I don't want to inadvertantly purchase a heap that has no chance of ever seeing the road again. The only real major thing I can think of to avoid would be a frame that has been cracked, stressed, rusted, etc. Are there any other things I should look for? How much should I be willing to spend and for what condition? :scratchchin...these are the things I need your help on! :bigthumbsup Thanks in advance guys.
 

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I have restored three Mustangs...66 and 68 Coupe, and a 69 ragtop. We started with cars that were driveable and had straight frames. Each body style has their strengths and weaknesses. You need to decide on what body design you like first and then go from there. Most 65-66 cars came with manual drum brakes is an example. Are you wanting to do a restoration, restomod, or something in middle?
 

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Since this will be my first restoration job, I want to keep things simple and avoid the verts. I'd like to maybe find a 65-66 Coupe. As far as the restoration, I'd like to retain the basic looks of the car but pack it with as much modern technology and comfort as I can afford. So I guess I'd be doing a resto-mod. Ideally I'd like a car that could actually be considered a practical daily driver.
 

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That's my philosophy and I prefer 66s. I know them blindfolded. Do you want an auto or standard tranny? Vintage block or late-model block? EFI or carb? BTW, the 87-93 GT seats look great in the 66 and will give you fold-down rear seats. Tell me your ideas of what you want on your car and I can help you build a package and plan of attack. I did find a 66 in your area using autotrader classic for a search. You can also check with vintage Mustang clubs for a good candidate.
 

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Choose wisely grasshopper. Keep in mind that a car that just needs a "little work" will cost you more up front, but that could be advantageous in this economy. The "cheap" ones will cost you more later, but also are more fun to restore/restomod, etc. My '66 started out as a cheaper alternative to the Vette I was doing, but 4 decades of neglect and some rather odd decisions by previous owners have more than doubled my expectations financially.

The best bet is to honestly assess your abilities, mechanical and $. Think of a number that is the most you would want to spend on the project and then find a balance of all these: initial cost of vehicle, cost of parts for repairs I know I can do, parts and labor for repairs I thought I could do, and the cost of doing things I'm pretty sure I won't be able to do on my own. Being honest at this initial planning stage is my best advice.

Because my pockets are not so deep, I'm planning on learning skills with my 66 that I haven't yet acquired. Still, it's costing me more than I had thought at the outstart. BTW, if you think my emphasis on $ is a little much, this ain't the hobby for you. A disproportionate percentage of projects get permanently sidelined because of a lack of money planning.

I guess the best idea is go into it knowing what you want, restoration, hot rod, restomod, rat rod...all are different and will take you down different roads (so to speak!). Then make a budget that you won't be able to keep. Or just go out there and do it - I'm sure there are many whose advice would be those very words. :no:



 

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Since this will be my first restoration job, I want to keep things simple and avoid the verts. I'd like to maybe find a 65-66 Coupe. As far as the restoration, I'd like to retain the basic looks of the car but pack it with as much modern technology and comfort as I can afford. So I guess I'd be doing a resto-mod. Ideally I'd like a car that could actually be considered a practical daily driver.
OK, seeing what your plans are I'll point out this, since you have plans to mod this car and add newer stuff then if a car you're looking at has bad interior, or it's missing then it won't bother you much. Same with a missing drivetrain or non-running vehicle if you're planning on installing a newer drivetrain. These "incomplete" cars would be cheaper than a correct, restored vehicle that you would take apart anyhow.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Wow. It never ceases to amaze me how much advice/information I can get from this website! To answer your concerns '66 Stang, yes I have considered the $ factor. I've also heard the horror stories of stangs sitting in pieces because the costs just got too high. My starting budget at the moment is around $15,000-$20,000, and I know that I might eventually put much more than that in this car, but I'm not expecting, or even hoping, that this car will be finished really quickly. I think the fun of it is having something to tinker with.

Mustangman, my idea for the car is that as long as it runs reliably (289) and has a straight frame with minimal rust, I can deal with it. If the interior is falling apart or non-existant that's fine. I want to redo the interior anyway, mind you, I do want it to resemble the original pony interior. Kind of a modern twist on a retro classic. Basically I want people to look at the car from the outside and say, "wow, its a restored classic with the original pony interior," ...then when they get closer they notice the nav system in the dash! :hihi:
 

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Sounds good:bigthumbsup I do like the subtle look.
FYI, there is a company that makes aftermarket pony interior upholstery to fit the 87-93 GT seats. There is another option where original looking seat upholstery is made to fit custom front seat foam that gives a lot of extra support. If you ever do any roadtrips, I highly suggest you update your seating. I used to drive mine all over Texas was usuallly saddle sore when I got out of the car.
PS
Everybody used to think mine was a standard restoration.
 

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i just bought mine a month ago. i got a 66 in baytown texas for 4000 body decent, good floorboards,decent running 289,and mostly new interior and what was not new the new pieces were in the trunk. but i bought it for the same purpose. mine is already gutted the interior is out and the motor and trans i pulled in favor of a 421. im reundercoating the car now. i prefer the 64-66 myself.i just like having the first body style and it is a very light car.
 

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I just got out of the 80's mustangs to do something different. I was also finding out that the 80's mustangs had NO value...and after sinking in 10-15k into a car that I got $2800 back for, I was looking for something that would at least hold it's own more if I was to ever sell it.

Since I have three kids 5 and under, I have a strict budget of nothing.

This FORCES me to be very resourceful.

I found a 66 that was someones daily driver, till it had electrical issues. He asked me to drop the drivetrain into his girls 66 coupe. I told him i'd do it for free and just to sign over the title to the 66. he agreed.

1. Free 66 coupe

Then I had a buddy with an 80's mustang he could no longer keep, and $500 later I had a ford racing crate motor and fresh t5, along with a fox mustang I gave to some teenagers.

To date, I've got less than $1500 into a 66 coupe...which has a fresh suspension (prior owner)...a late model 5.0 roller crate engine, and a t5 5 speed, along with a junkyard electronic duraspark ignit. next goes in an explorer 8.8..but that will cost me only $150 for the rear, and a little more for a driveshaft

I've found that if you're resourceful, pick the right car from the start, and do ALL Of your own work then you can build it on the cheap.

I could build 2-3 66 coupes for the 20 grand you speak of :)

My suggestion is to focus soley on the body. You're doing a restomod. There won't be a bolt unturned in the end. Why pay for crap that will wind up in the scrap heap?? Try and find a car without absolutely no rust, no body damage, and a good interior is a +.

Pick up a wrecked 87+ fox 5.0 mustang...and you'll have your drivetrain.
 

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I would echo what v-8 only said. the biggest cost and the thing that will sink most projects is rust in the body. you can find a decent rust free body and pay a bit more than for a rusted body but be way ahead in the long run. you need to pay particular attention to the cowl vent section if you have rusty floors in the front seat section be sure to check the cowl thouroghly also the bottoms of the doors, and in the front and rear frame rail section as well as the trunk drop offs. these areas usually mean there is more rust in hidden areas that will bite you.


I am sure you meant the frame rails when you spoke about the frame but just so there is no confusion for other people who might read this, these cars are a unibody construction so there is no frame and the body panels are integral to the frame rails to provide strength to the chassis. so rust is not just cosmetic it takes strength from the whole car.


most of the time the engine and transmission will need rebuilt anyway so they are not that important in a restomod project, the same goes for the suspension. most interiors on 40 year old cars are going to be replaced or at least upgraded eventially and that is not a large cost. you should try at least though to find a car with the rear seat because unless someone has recently started making them, they are not available aftermarket.
a 65 or 66 mustang is probably the cheapest to restore because most everything else is available. the 67 and 68 are probably next if you want a budget restoration unless you find a good cheap example that is pretty complete the 69 and later cars are probably not your best bet. good luck
 

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The cost of the restoration will depend the most on your ability to do the work yourself and how creative you can be. You can get complete interior kits for under $400 and its not hard to install at all. I replace the carpet, upholstery, headliner ect. on my 68 by myself when I was 17 with no prior experience and it all looked great. I've also welded in new quarter skins which only cost $200 to do both sides.

A couple years ago I got tired of the crappy handling, and performance so I decided to do a restomod, pro touring type build. I bought a $600 96 Mark VIII for a donor car and stripped both cars down to just the shell. For about $250-300 I built a full custom frame, floor, and front clip that allowed me to use all the suspension and drive train from the Mark VIII. So for under $1000 I ended up with all the goodies of a modern car such as fuel injection, power rack and pinion steering, 4 wheel disc brakes, independent rear suspension.....

I'm in college and only get to work on the car for a little while during the summers so its not finished yet but I hope to have it driveable this summer. I'm headed back to my parents this weekend to start back up on it.


 
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