Donald Farr
Former Editor, Mustang Monthly
April 1, 2005

These days, there are two ways to obtain a concours Mustang: buy one already restored (and show-proven) or have one restored. More than likely, you'll enlist the talent of a restoration shop, which can handle everything from farming out the media-blasting and paint to replacing rusty floorpans and bolting everything back together. Or, if your mechanical abilities allow, you can restore the Mustang yourself, farming out only the parts you can't or don't have the equipment to handle. Either way, unless someone gave you the car or you're restoring a rare and desirable model, don't be surprised if the cost of the restoration exceeds the actual value of the Mustang.

But, hey, it's your hobby-better than spending all that money on tee times.

Daily Driver Survival KitPerTronix ignition: No points, no problem. This easy-to-install electronic ignition kit eliminates skipping, hard starting, and no starting caused by worn-out ignition points.

Larger radiator: Nothing's more frustrating more than an overheating Mustang. Larger-than-stock radiators are offered by all Mustang parts vendors. Three-row factory-style radiators are a big improvement, but the aluminum versions are even better.

High-flow fan: Continuing the cooling theme, dump that chump factory four-blade fan and replace it with either a flex-type fan or an electric version. Flex-types with the clutch hub conserve horsepower at higher engine speeds, while electric fans require no horsepower to run at all.

Coolant: Use a quality brand and check the level frequently. Never use just water.

Hoses: Inspect them often, and make sure the lower hose has a spring inside for support. At higher engine speeds, lower hoses can collapse and cut off coolant flow to the radiator.

Heater core: Unless it's relatively new, it's going to blow at some point, so be prepared for leaking coolant on the passenger-side floor. In a pinch, you can cut one of the heater hoses and bypass the heater core by looping the hose from the outlet to the inlet on the water pump.

Brake lights: Check the brake-light switch for proper operation and adjustment. You'd be surprised how many don't operate or engage properly. The last thing you need is an F-150 pickup in your trunk.

Ball-joint grease: Unless you have a boom-box stereo to hide the annoying squeaks, you'll want to keep the ball joints greased. Lubrication also prolongs ball-joint life.

Battery cables: They're cheap, so replace old ones. Otherwise, make sure the connections at the battery terminals are clean. Most no-start problems can be traced to a bad connection between the terminals and the cables.

Battery: If it's over 4 years old, replace it.

Air filter: Change it often, or clean it often if you have one of the cleanable performance versions. An open-element housing, as used on the 289 High-Performance, breathes better and allows you to inspect the condition at a glance.

Tool kit: Be ready for anything, because if it's an old Mustang, anything could happen.

Insurance: Make sure it's adequate and paid up.

Restomod Must-HavesThere are a lot of restomod modifications, but you can't have a true Mustang restomod without these upgrades:

Rack-and-pinion steering: Got to have it for modern steering feel and performance.

Disc brakes: Fronts are good, four-wheel is better.

Power brakes: Master Power has booster kits that fit most '65-'70 Mustangs.

Sixteen-inch or larger wheels: Take your pick of a million choices, but Torq-Thrust IIs remain a favorite.

Electronic ignition: From PerTronix to aftermarket systems from MSD or Mallory.

Fuel-injection: Might as well drop in a complete late-model 5.0.

Overdrive transmission: Late-model AOD for automatics, T5 five-speed or T56 six-speed for the shift-it-yourself crowd.

Suspension kit: Modern handling is the goal.

Comfy seats: We really like the new Classic Sport seats from TMI Products.