First Ford Mustang Production Car - On the Road Again
Thanks to Volunteers at The Henry Ford, Mustang No. 1 Is up and Running Again
Collum cringed at Gunlock's recommendation. "We didn't want to get the engine running, then have transmission fluid leak all over the ground," Gunlock said. "So we decided to disassemble and inspect the C4 and install new seals at the same time. That led to another issue. We couldn't get the transmission out from the bottom without cutting the original exhaust, so we made the decision to remove the engine and transmission from the top as an assembly."
Joe Boulton, a Dearborn Proving Grounds Transmission Garage supervisor, was called in to refurbish the C4. He found modest residue in the pan, the result of mild clutch wear and 37 years of fluid settling. Although the rubber seals were still pliable, he located new seals at a local parts store and installed them in the C4.
With the engine on a stand, the oil pan was removed to make sure there were no internal problems as a result of the pan damage. Thankfully, everything looked sound, so the oil-pickup screen was cleaned and a new oil-pump shaft installed before the pan was put back into place.
At this point, the temptation was to freshen up the engine and engine compartment. However, as Collum pointed out, the museum's mission is "to preserve, not restore," so the engine was simply cleaned as preparation for its reinstallation. The water pump didn't turn smoothly, so it was pulled to reveal heavy corrosion. An exact replacement pump, PN C40E-8505-A, was located and installed.
The generator was in perfect working condition, although the team had to read up on the old practice of "polarizing" the generator because no one was old enough to remember the procedure. The starter failed a routine bench test, so it was torn down and reassembled twice before it mysteriously started working. New points and plugs were installed and the carburetor was rebuilt.
Noting body damage repairs on the right front fender and left rear quarter, the team requested assistance from Ford's Global Paint Engineering engineers, who used an electronic paint-thickness gauge to find the anticipated .006-.008-inch paint thickness. Gunlock explains, "Because cars were not painted by robots in those days, it was expected, and found on Mustang No. 1, that the paint was a little thicker on horizontal surfaces, somewhat thinner on the sides, and thinnest on the lower sides where it was harder to reach with a spray gun." The paint engineers determined that Mustang No. 1 retains 90 percent of its original paint.
"The body fit is marginal by today's standards," Gunlock says. "The hood is high on one rear corner, and clearances to the fenders are not uniform. We agonized over fixing it, but Malcolm studied old pictures and determined it was always that way. Those old pictures even allowed Malcolm to confirm that the now repaired dent in the front fender was there in 1966 when Tucker traded the car back to Ford."
Not wanting to dismount the original tires from their rims, they located another set of rims and fitted them with reproduction 6.95x14 BFGs from Coker Tire. "The car will not drive again on its original tires," Gunlock explains, "but they will be reinstalled when the car goes on permanent display."