Dave Stribling
September 8, 2017

N.O.S. Versus Repro Versus Used

I just got my first Mustang, a 1967, and I need some sheetmetal parts. Are N.O.S. parts really worth the asking price?

Jason (name withheld)
Via the internet A lot of things have changed over the past 10 years or so on New Old Stock parts, especially in exterior sheetmetal. Which of these types of parts are right for your car may vary. Here’s my take on parts, and how you decide which is right for your car.

1. N.O.S.: This is the best choice in MOST cases, but sometimes they are not necessarily the cheapest. They may still fit better than some aftermarket panels. One fellow builder put it this way: “Ford Panels may not fit, but they fit wrong the same every time.” You may also hear about red oxide and EDP coating, too. The earlier parts are red oxide, and the later ones are Electrophoretically Deposited Paint (EDP)—or E-coat. Builders prefer the earlier panels, although, most of the EDP panels are as good as the earlier ones. I have had some very last-of-the-run panels that had lost a little of the crispness on some of the lines because the stamping dies simply were wearing out. Just remember, Ford hasn’t made some of these parts for 25 years or more, and the ones that are left are generally last of the run and picked over pretty good. Certain panels have a lot of shelf rash and other damage from being hauled from swap meet to swap meet. If an N.O.S. panel needs help, it may be too costly to repair versus using a good used panel.

2. Used original: Depending on the price, an original used panel or one that needs work might be a better solution. It is still a Ford panel and has the best possible chance of fitting right. A couple of notes about used panels. They have been on a car that has been driven and beat around, which stretches and tweaks the panel. As a result, they become more difficult to install without some massaging. A panel that needs minor rust repair versus an N.O.S. one might be worthwhile to use, depending on how much the repair will cost. Remember, labor never gets cheaper, so it may cost more to repair a used panel than to buy a new one.

3. Aftermarket: The panels are getting better in the hobby, which helps. I still avoid some panels, because making horrible panels fit can cost more than buying the N.O.S. panel. Case in point, back when 1965-1966 fenders were available, a fellow builder’s customer decided to buy the really cheap fenders for his convertible. The headlight buckets were off a half inch, and they weren’t the same side to side. By the time they got done making those cheap fenders fit, the customer could have bought N.O.S. ones from Ford and saved money. To this day, I still see those really cheap fenders walking out the doors, when someone buys solely based on price. If you are going aftermarket, in most cases, you get what you pay for. Cheaper is not better.

Shelby Carb Spacer

Which carb spacer do I need for my 1968 Shelby G.T. 350? It is an early car, so it came with the cast-iron intake. I have the S7MS aluminum intake, and I want to run the Holley carburetor, as per the recall. My question is what intake manifold spacer do I run? Do I run the 1-inch spacer used on the Autolite carb?

Steve Schonegg
Indianapolis, Indiana

The 1968 G.T. 350 used a thin 3/8-inch carburetor spacer, similar to the 1969-1970 Boss 302, due to its aluminum hi-rise manifold. If you are running the Holley and aluminum manifold, you need to run this spacer. They don’t reproduce this version of the spacer, and so they are rare. The part number, if you can find one, is C8AE-9A589-F (it was not listed in the final issue of Ford Text and Illustrations). If you can’t find one, they did reproduce the Boss 302 version, which has a curved PCV tube. Although, the G.T. 350 PCV tube is straight, you can trim it at the curve. When it is installed, nobody will know the difference.

This is an original (broken) Boss 302 intake spacer. The hi-rise aluminum manifolds used this 3/8-inch spacer along with the Holley carburetor. The 1968 Shelby G.T.350 version has a straight PCV outlet, but is curved on the Boss.