Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
May 9, 2012

Many of us have been around long enough in this hobby to remember when major Mustang shows were often rows of painstakingly detailed concours cars with just the right finish on all the bolts, nuts, brackets, and what not. You'd often find a gaggle of judges overlooking the car, clipboards in hand, to discuss the finite details of oil and phosphate versus bare metal. While we applaud those in the hobby who have the time, finances, and interest to detail a concours car, the majority of the hobby has swung towards driver cars and late-model Mustangs. I know some of you have been dragged into the 21st century kicking and screaming, but frankly, any interest in the Mustang hobby, be it modified cars or brand-new G.T. 500s, is good in our book. The last thing we want is for the Mustang hobby to die off with its elder generation.

That said, one thing we've not taken a hard look at in a long time (as far as our feeble minds can remember) is the task of detailing an engine compartment with an eye towards the restomod side of the hobby. Unlike a concours engine detailing job, where 95 percent of the time your engine bay will look identical to the Mustang parked next to you, the modified classes look at cleanliness and workmanship--there is no"correctness" to engine detailing with a modified car. Essentially, the engine detailing is left up to your imagination, budget, and even a theme, if your car has one.

We've seen countless vintage Mustangs with nice"driver" paintjobs, shiny wheels, and decent interiors at cruise nights and weekend shows, but often with their hoods left in the closed position. A quick poll of five different Mustang owners at a recent Saturday night cruise showed that four had their hoods down because they weren't proud of the way their engine bay looked (the fifth thought the car displayed better with the hood down but was willing to open the hood for anyone who asked).

We didn't have to search too hard for a similar story in the '66 Mustang coupe you see here. The owner has four Mustangs (the '66 and three late-models) and likes to cruise with the '66, but is quite ashamed of his engine bay (his words). After sitting down and discussing his desires and budget, we offered to roll up our sleeves and help, along with a few local club members, to turn his dingy engine bay into something to be proud of. Check out the work and the results and start making your plans to do the same. It'll put a smile on your face when you lift the hood at your next cruise in, we guarantee it!

What We Used

While this is by no means an exact list of what you have to use to dress up your engine compartment, we wanted to provide a list of the parts we used from Mustangs Unlimited; this way if you see something you like for your project in these photos, you'll know what to order.

Part Description Part Number
Ford Racing Valve Covers M6582E302R
Goodyear Hose Kit G5013
Chrome Master Cylinder Cap 216BRC
60-amp Chrome Alternator PM17078
March Pulleys (4-bolt crank MCH1625
Power Steering Pump Pulley MCH504
Chrome Thermostat Housing 1083662
Alternator Bolt Kit AMK447
Power Steering Dipstick (67-73) 73006C
Header Gaskets HM25
Chrome Dipstick and Tube 210218
Valve Cover Gaskets VS13264R
Chrome Monte Carlo Bar-Curved 65600
Chrome Shock Tower Brackets 518A018
Chrome Oil Breather-Push On M6766H302 (2
Adjustable Hood Bumpers 6763B (2
U-nut for Hood Bumpers 10052 (2)
Fender Bumper Kit HFB14
High Note Horn F2475
Low Note Horn F2476
Throttle Linkage Kit TL658A
Chrome Export Brace 160522

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30 It took a three-day weekend and three people working hand in hand, not to mention about a half-dozen trips to the local parts store and lots of paint, tape, and sand paper, but the end results speak for themselves. No longer is this owner ashamed of his engine bay and is ready to proudly pop the hood at his next cruise night.