Jim Smart
August 24, 2009

If you're going to farm out an entire restoration, shop nationwide. Be prepared to shop your Mustang hundreds of miles away to get the best work from someone you trust. Investigate restoration shops like you would a doctor because there's a lot at stake. Check references, and not just references a shop gives you. Know how long a restoration shop has been in business and who their customers are. Glazier-Nolan Mustang Barn in Souderton, Pennsylvania, for example, has been restoring classic Mustangs since the 1970s. A family owned and operated business with a wholesome spirit and solid integrity, Glazier-Nolan Mustang Barn was founded by Fred Glazier, who has owned his Rangoon Red '64 1/2 Mustang hardtop since new. Not only is he one of the originals, he has never lost the passion.

Incorrect Engine Color
We see this all the time-the '71 351C engine painted '64 1/2 Robin's Egg 260 Blue. Or, the exact opposite-a '64 1/2 260 engine painted '66-up Ford Corporate Blue. Make sure you have the right blue while the engine is on the stand.

Not Sticking To A Budget and Realistic Timeline
Are you faced with a tight budget and limited resources? Be ready for a long-term restoration project where you can take things one phase at a time. Begin your restoration where there's the most bang for the buck- the engine compartment. Chris Burns of Santa Barbara Musclecars says you can have the most striking car out there, but if the engine bay doesn't measure up, you've wasted your time. "I think what bugs me most is where people choose to save money," Chris adds. "Mismatched hardware is toward the top. AMK Products does such a good job with hardware kits there is no excuse for hardware store fasteners when AMK looks so much better."

The main thing is to stay close to what you have budgeted and not get in a hurry when cash and credit limits get tight. Throw a car cover on it and be patient enough to wait for a better day financially. Good policy is to live within your means.

Forgetting To Give It A Brake
Your Mustang's hydraulic brake system requires extraordinary care in the interest of safety. Leaks and ruptures can be dangerous. When you install new brake lines, make sure lines are squarely mated to dust- and dirt-free fittings before tightening them up. Tighten fittings firmly, then loosen and do it again. Do not overtighten, which can distort the line. Loosening and tightening a second time seats the flare for leak-free performance. Stainless steel lines mandate even more patience and care. Tighten and loosen to seat the flare. Then tighten until there's no more budge. Because stainless is very hard, it does not seat as easily. In fact, we discourage its use because it is both hard to bend and flare. It is also more likely to leak.

Fitting Body Panels Before Paint
If you're doing a full-scale restoration, the best time to fit-check body panels is when they're in self-etching primer/sealer. Of course, a fit-check should happen before you disassemble the car. John Murphy drills small pilot holes in fenders and door hinges, underneath the bolt washers, before the car comes apart. This works provided the car hasn't suffered serious body damage. If your Mustang is already apart and you didn't do this, get everything properly fitted first, then go with John's pilot hole approach, drilling a 1/8-inch pilot hole beneath each bolt head washer. This will enable a perfect fit when it's time for reassembly.

Not Taking Time Off To Decompress
Okay, enough lecturing. Do you know what a restoration's greatest enemy is? Burnout and emotional exhaustion. From time to time, step away from your Mustang project and do something else you enjoy. Dr. John Craft, car builder and automotive historian, suggests getting away from it all to a place that allows you to escape and recharge. John likes to head to the Marti Gras in New Orleans, giving a little something back to one of America's greatest treasures, which in turn gave a little something back to John.

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