Jim Smart
February 1, 2000
Photos By: Mustang & Fords Archives

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The dollar doesn’t go as far as it used to, especially when you’re building a classic Mustang or Ford restomod. Sometimes we have to be creative whenever cash is tight and the desire for a nice interior overwhelms practicality. This is where we, the penny-pinching restomod experts at Mustang & Fords, come in. Like most of you, we’re working stiffs who have to watch our household budgets closely.

The majority of your car’s interior restoration doesn’t have to be expensive. Door panels can often be saved and restored, especially if the vinyl is undamaged. You can rechrome the trim using chrome spray paint (we’re not kidding) or perhaps a monochrome look using the body or interior color. Some items, like seat upholstery, have to be sourced new since you probably won’t find a complete, 35-year-old interior in good condition at a salvage yard. So you’ll want to include a new upholstery kit and seat foam in your budget.

But saving money doesn’t have to be humbling. If you do it right, your work can come out looking high-style. The key is proper judgment and good craftsmanship. Know when not to waste your time on a piece--and know when to recognize a rose among the thorns. If you’re new to all this, take heart because you have a lot of company out there. We all had to try it a first time. Then, slowly, we learned how to do it successfully. Most importantly, have fun while you’re learning the ropes.

Shop Wisely

The greatest bargains on new parts and accessories can be found with our advertisers. Are we biased? You bet. But we know a good deal when we see one. New Mustang parts and accessories are the best bargain going because there isn’t a more popular marque. We can’t say the same thing for Fairlanes, Falcons, Galaxies, and Marauders because new parts aren’t always available for these nameplates. What’s more, because new parts for those cars are likely produced in fewer quantities, they tend to cost more. Advertisers who specialize in non-Mustang vintage Fords understand the passion you have for a non-Mustang collectible. As a result, they understand what it takes to successfully restore one. If you’re on a budget, these people can often guide you in the right direction with good advice, and quality reproduction and new-old-stock parts.

To get started, check out any or all of the assorted sidebars below.