One of our buddies here at the shop recently got his hands on a '641/2 Mustang convertible. Rangoon Red with a red interior--it's the sort of car many of us dream about each night. The red, combined with a white soft top, makes this one a real head-turner and, with a very early production number, the super-straight Mustang is a valuable car for sure. The original engine is a 200ci straight six, mated to a three-speed automatic transmission. We don't have anything against six-cylinder cars, but our friend is interested in V-8 power with a modern Overdrive transmission. He's been reading Mustang & Fords lately, so he's already interested in performance enhancement. If ever there were a car worth the effort needed to do a V-8 conversion, a red Mustang convertible certainly qualifies.
There are many great six-cylinder cars out there waiting for a V-8 upgrade, and it isn't hard to do. You'll need to rebuild the front end using a set of V-8 front spindles. New rear suspension should be done at the same time. New steering components including V-8 tie rods, pitman arm, and drag link will be needed. One phone call to CJ Pony Parts of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, got us going on all of our suspension and steering needs. The folks at CJ Pony Parts are Mustang experts and are involved in the hobby to the fullest extent.
Complete restorations go on all the time in their back shop, and they are so knowledgeable and were helpful to us on even the smallest details. The suspension and rear axle from the six-cylinder car have to go because neither will withstand even moderate V-8 use. We won't want to keep those four-lug wheels, and the 8-inch rearend we'll be using is equipped with five-lug axles, as were all early V-8 Mustangs. Also, for a V-8 with Overdrive, we're going to want 15-inch wheels. Because the four-lug drums are going away, this is the time to upgrade to a four-wheel disc-brake setup. Stainless Steel Brakes (SSB) supplied its excellent hardware for our project Pony, while Classic Tube provided a complete brake-line kit for the car. In this feature, we're going to show you much of what's needed to get a six-cylinder car ready for V-8 operation. Once the car is on the ground with five-lug wheels, we can begin to think about the new powerplant.
WHAT'S IT COST?SSB Front with aluminum calipers: $1,295SSB Rear: $900Line Kit: $159Front Suspension & steering: $960Rear Suspension: $175TOTAL: $3,489Extensive labor not included