Jim Smart
August 7, 2005

Improve Your Comfort
Until 1970, Mustangs weren't much on seating comfort. A favorite of ours is the '69-'73 high-back bucket seat with the knitted vinyl upholstery in the Mach 1. For those with '65-'69 vanilla rides, there are the strap-on bucket seats that are hard as a rock. We've seen all kinds of innovations in classic Mustangs designed to make the ride better, including late-model Mustang bucket seats with the rear seat upholstered to match. Plenty of aftermarket bucket seats are available from Recaro, Procar, TMI Industries, and others.

TMI Industries recently introduced its Sports Seats, which convert stock Mustang bucket seats to ones with big side bolsters, heavier padding, and headrests. This comfortable seat kit, which keeps your Mustang stock in appearance while offering improved comfort and safety, is available from Virginia Classic Mustang.

Sound Off
Mustangs restored for regular street use need an entertainment element onboard to help pass the time on the freeway. Custom Autosound, of course, has a multitude of options for those who want to keep a relatively stock demeanor. There are in-dash stereo systems that fit right in place of that old AM radio. If you want to keep the original AM radio and don't want unscrupulous types to know you have something better, Custom Autosound's Secret Audio is a groovy mod no one can see but you. It consists of a hidden control panel and a remote control you can hide almost anywhere.

Our best advice is to have a sound system that's largely hidden. Hobbyists do a pretty good job hiding their sound systems--for security reasons and to keep a stock appearance.

Hardened By LifeIf you're building a powertrain for regular use, don't forget the things that will make it a world-beater. For example:

  • Stainless steel valves and hardened exhaust valve seats for use with today's unleaded fuels
  • Screw-in oil gallery plugs and brass freeze plugs
  • Synthetic engine oils like Mobil 1 or Royal Purple
  • Don't cut corners with oil and air filters; use only the best, like K&N, Wix, Motorcraft, and Fram's Wear Guard
  • If you're starting from scratch, use a late-model 5.0L block with the one-piece rear main seal to keep oil spots off the driveway
  • Go with a finned, cast-aluminum transmission pan for improved cooling and less chance of leakage
  • If possible, increase the number of clutches in your transmission build for improved power transmission and less slippage
  • Opt for a high-performance torque converter with furnace-brazed internals for durability. Be sure to choose the right stall speed. Mild street drivers need a stall speed of 1,800-2,400 rpm.

Quiet Please
If you're old enough, you remember the stark difference between cruising at 70 mph and trying to hold a conversation in a '65 Mustang and the ultra-quiet environment of a '94-'05 Mustang, where conversations can be held in normal speaking tones. The newer Mustangs are quieter inside because aerodynamics has improved hundredfold in 40 years. Mustang bodies are cleaner aerodynamically, with a slippery shape and no driprails, stainless trim, door handles, vent windows, sloppy fit, and other factors that really clutter up the slipstream.

But wait--there's more. Inside, Ford has improved the Mustang interior with new types of sound-deadening materials that shut out road noise significantly. There isn't much you can do about the sloppy aerodynamics of classic Mustangs, but there is a lot you can do about body boom. The aftermarket offers all kinds of sound-deadening kits that not only shut out noise, but heat and cold too. When you restore the interior, begin at the steel floorpan and wheelhouses by laying down sound-deadening.

Dual Exhausts
V-8 Mustangs take on a more sporty persona with dual exhausts, but remember this: bridge both sides with an H-pipe to achieve a balance between cylinder banks. Otherwise, your dual exhaust system will sound more like a popgun.

If you like your Mustang loud and obnoxious, understand that the steady din of loud exhaust-system resonance will destroy your hearing and annoy others. A throaty burble makes a more lasting impression--let's turn down the volume out there.