Donald Farr
Former Editor, Mustang Monthly
April 1, 2005

Of course, restomod also means comfort and convenience, and there are a number of ways to add to both. For seats, we've seen everything from late-model Mustang buckets to aftermarket racing-types. If it feels good and fits, put it in. Brand new are the Classic Sport seats from TMI Products for '65-'66 Mustangs. They look like the popular Pony seats and fit the factory bucket-seat frame, but the foam is contoured for comfort and fit. If you prefer to stick with the factory seats, leather upholstery is available as a luxurious upgrade.

RestorodA few years ago, this wasn't even a category in the Mustang world. It's a step beyond restomod, incorporating street-rod influences into the classic looks of older Mustangs. With the emergence of eBay's FastForward Fastback by street-rod builder Troy Trepanier and the fantastic pair of wild creations from the Ring brothers, the Mustang is quickly becoming fodder for this growing automotive trend. In fact, the GT-R roadster from Mike and Jim Ring was one of five finalists for the coveted Street Rod of the Year award from Goodguys.

Building a restorod requires skill and creativity. It isn't something for the rookie or hobby mechanic, unless he has the money to commission a build from someone like Trepanier or the Ring brothers. Like street rods, the goal is to build something different, not a copy of something that's already been done. But the rewards can be great, with possibilities of magazine articles, Best of Show awards, and maybe even a spot on a TV show.

The difference between restomod and restorod is in the sheetmetal. With a restorod, the builder can take more liberties with the shape of the car by opening up the grille, reshaping the instrument panel, cutting out the shock towers for a 4.6 Cobra engine, and adding larger fender flares for bigger wheels and tires.

Concours ShowFor many early Mustang owners, the challenge comes from making an old Mustang look just like it rolled off the showroom floor. Satisfaction is achieved by subjecting the car to expert judges at Mustang Club of America national shows, where every little scratch or incorrect hose clamp deducts points from the Mustang's total score. For some, part of the fun is the chase for correct parts, like N.O.S. shocks, tires, and wheels, all of which are becoming harder to find with every passing day. Then you've got to have the correct finishes for bolts and brackets, date-coded belts and windshield, the right paint daubs for the driveshaft and other components, and just the right amount of overspray on the undercarriage. All that and the money to get them; and more than likely you can't or won't drive the car, which also means you'll need a trailer and an F-250 diesel to pull it with.

But when a concours Mustang is restored just right, it's a thing of beauty and a snapshot of what the car was like when it was brand new.

When it comes to concours shows, the days of polishing the alternator and slapping some flat-black paint on the undercarriage are over. This is serious business, with owners shelling out thousands of dollars for rare N.O.S. parts, and tens of thousands of dollars for a rotisserie restoration from a restorer who specializes in concours Mustangs. High-performance Mustangs, like Shelbys, Bosses, and Cobra Jets, are particularly popular subjects for concours restoration. But their rare parts, including the emissions equipment that original buyers tossed in the trash almost immediately, are among the most expensive restoration parts-if you can find them.

Even if you're lucky enough to find an extremely low-mileage Mustang, you're saddled with the responsibility of preserving the car.