Donald Farr
Former Editor, Mustang Monthly
October 1, 2004
Photos By: Mustang Monthly Archives

They're called bolt-ons because essentially they're simple to install. It's a bit of an automotive misnomer because in many cases there are a few more steps required, such as drilling holes in the right places or correctly wiring anything electrical. For some parts, bolts aren't even needed; we suppose you could call those parts screw-ons or even clip-ons. This month's cover car, a clone of a '67 Shelby GT500, was created primarily with bolt-on parts.

However they install, bolt-ons are designed to improve your vintage Mustang, whether they were originally factory options or accessories, or brand-new restomod-style parts from today's aftermarket manufacturers. Over the next few pages, we're taking a look at some of the more popular bolt-ons for '65-'73 Mustangs to give you some ideas for improving your ride.

PerTronix Ignitor

With the PerTronix Ignitor and Ignitor II electronic ignition conversion, 30 minutes is all it takes to eliminate the pesky points in vintage factory distributors. With the PerTronix ignition, there's no need for future adjustments. The PerTronix replaces the points with a shutter wheel and ignition module for maintenance-free operation. Both the Ignitor and Ignitor II also provide more voltage for improved performance. Contact: PerTronix, Dept. MM, 440 E. Arrow Highway, San Dimas, CA 91773; 909/599-5955; www.pertronix.com.

Steering Wheel

You can make a big change in your '65-'66 interior by replacing a standard steering wheel with either a reproduction of the factory Deluxe woodgrain wheel (available from most Mustang parts vendors), a Shelby wood wheel (Branda Shelby and Mustang Parts, Dept. MM, 1434 E. Pleasant Valley Blvd., Altoona, PA 16602; 814/942-1869; www.cobranda.com), or an aftermarket version from Grant (also available from most vendors). Factory-style wheels are a direct replacement, while aftermarket wheels like Grant come with needed adaptors.

Front Disc Brakes

It sounds crazy these days, but the majority of '65-'73 Mustangs came from the factory with drum brakes all around. Of course, front disc brakes were an option, and they were part of certain performance packages, but only a small percentage of Mustangs received them. Today, there are many choices for upgrading to front disc brakes, starting with adding factory-style discs (if you can find the parts) to going all the way up to heavy-duty racing versions. Whichever way you go, make sure you have stainless steel calipers, like those from Stainless Steel Brakes Corporation. SSBC offers complete front disc-brake conversion kits for early Mustangs, including six-cylinder cars, with everything included to upgrade from drums to discs. Contact: Stainless Steel Brakes Corporation, Dept. MM, 11470 Main St., Clarence, NY 14031; 800/448-7722; www.stainlesssteelbrakes.com.

Big Wheels

The hot restomod ticket these days is larger wheels and tires, particularly the 17-inch Bullitt versions from '01-'04 GTs or the Magnums found on '03-'04 Mach 1s. National Parts Depot offers an adapter kit for mounting the larger 17-inchers, with their original 245/45R-17 tires, on early Mustangs. Some front fenders may require modification of the wheel-opening radius for clearance. Contact: National Parts Depot, Dept. MM, 900 SW 38th Ave., Ocala, FL 34474; 352/874-7595-9000; www.npdlink.com; California store, 800/235-3445; Michigan store, 800/521-6104; North Carolina store, 800/368-6451.

Power-Brake Booster

Brakes have come a long way since 1965-1970. If you step out of your new Mustang GT and jump into your vintage Mustang, you feel like you're shoving your foot through the firewall to get it to stop. Since few vintage Mustangs were equipped with power brakes from the factory, it's been difficult to locate used parts for a proper conversion. But now Master Power offers a bolt-in booster that makes easy work of adding power to your brakes. Better yet, the booster is smaller than the factory piece, which is a big help when installing it on big-block '67-'70 cars. Contact: Master Power Brakes, Dept. MM, 100 Crosslake Park Rd., Mooresville, NC 28117; 888/351-8785; www.mpbrakes.com.

Hi-Po Manifolds

While tubular headers are certainly the way to go for maximum exhaust flow and power, they can be noisy and hot, plus they can cause problems with fitment, burnt spark-plug wires, and blown gaskets. A more factory-style option for 289s and 302s is the factory 289 Hi-Po manifold, as reproduced by California Pony Cars. The Hi-Po manifolds flow better than base 289/302 manifolds, yet they bolt up just like the originals for a factory appearance. California Pony Cars also offers the Hi-Po H-pipes, which connect the Hi-Po exhaust manifolds to factory-style dual exhausts. Contact: California Pony Cars, Dept. MM, 1906 Quaker Ridge Place, Ontario, CA 91761; 888/225-7669; www.calponycars.com.

Rally-Pac

One of the all-time most popular add-ons for '65-'66 Mustangs is the factory Rally-Pac, a combination tachometer/clock that mounts on the steering column. Originally offered as an option or from the Ford dealer accessory catalog, the Rally-Pac was offered in two styles: low-profile (pictured) for '64 1/2-'65 Mustangs with the Falcon-style speedometer, and high-profile for the five-dial instrumentation in '65 Mustangs with the GT Equipment Group and/or Décor interior and all '66 models. There were three different versions of each style: 6,000-rpm for six-cylinders, 6,000-rpm for V-8s, and 8,000-rpm for the 289 Hi-Po. Original Rally-Pacs are getting harder to find in good condition, and many are the out-of-production reproductions from Dallas Mustang. However, watch for a brand-new reproduction of the Rally-Pac from Scott Drake Mustang Parts. Contact: Scott Drake Mustang Parts, Dept. MM, 3101 Camino Del Sol, Oxnard, CA 93030; 805/988-9992; www.scottdrake.net.