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How To Start A First Mustang Vintage Ford Project
Finding That First Project Mustang or Vintage Ford
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We want you to be happy youve made the decision to get into the vintage Mustang or Ford hobby. If you have lots of money, it wont be too difficult to go out and find yourself a nice and completed car. However, those of us with limited funds must be a little more careful of how our money is spent. If youre careful in your selection of a project car, youre in for a lot of fun. If youre not careful, you could be in for a big headache and lots of discouragement.
Common sense and patience will be your guide to a certain extent, but there are some things you should keep in mind during your search. Even if your interest is in a car other than a Mustang, most of the following tips still apply to your Fairlane or Falcon selection.
Of all of the American cars out there, the Mustang is one of the best for your entrance into the vintage-car hobby. They are numerous, for the most part relatively inexpensive, and easy to work on. The timeless good looks and performance potential of the Mustang make them ever popular, so there is a wide variety of clubs and other sources where you can turn for help. Having a wide and dedicated base of enthusiasts means there is an ever-increasing number of reproduction parts available. Using these parts can save you a bundle over N.O.S. parts for a non-concours restoration. Lets look at what it takes to find a good car, and some of the things youll need to look out for during the course of your search.
RUST NEVER SLEEPS
The first basic truth in finding a nice Mustang to fix up is that rust is your number-one enemy. Try to find a car from one of the dry Western states like California, Nevada, or Arizona. Avoid places where the roads are salted in the wintertime like New England or the Midwest.
Certain spots rust on all Mustangs, it seems, even those from Arizona. Small rust bubbles are likely to appear at the lower front edge of the doors and along the upper edge of the rocker molding. Small amounts of rainwater become trapped there when drain holes become plugged with debris. After 35 years its not unusual to find a small amount of rust in these areas.
Although patch panels and floorpans are sold to repair rusty Mustangs, the amount of labor required to make these repairs can be very costly. Youd be better off spending this money up front on a more expensive car with little or no rust. If rust damage is not repaired properly or eliminated, it will come back to haunt you a few years down the line. Also, there is always the possibility of rust you cant see or detect. For example, Midwestern cars often have lots of rust in front of the windshield beneath the cowl. Rust in that area is hard to detect and difficult to repair. In one of these cars, the next time it rains youll have wet feet. If one area on a car is badly rusted, chances are theres more rust elsewhere that you might not see.