Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
December 7, 2006
Photos By: Steve Turner
Our Project Real Street's interior is among the best looking and most fully functional of any Real Street car in competition today, but that's what magazine cars are supposed to be like. You'd be hard-pressed to find a competitive Real Street car with the A/C, stereo components, full sound deadening, and more that we left or installed on this car. The finished results are awesome, but I certainly hope Editor Turner's next project car comes with a black interior already in it!

Our Project Real Street wasn't a pretty sight when ex-editor Rob Kinnan-heading back to Cali to work with the NMRA-handed over the keys and the title to Editor Turner. Faded white paint (in three shades) and a ratted-out red interior just wouldn't cut the mustard for a project car. We handled the painting of the Real Street project in the August issue ("Real Pretty," p. 166). With the paint job done, we can start putting our Real Street back together, hopefully in time for Bowling Green.

We've been working on the little things, including brake lines, wiring, lighting, and so on. But the big item to tackle is the interior. As usual, Editor Turner couldn't make it easy for yours truly, as he wanted yet another black interior similar to the one in his purple '89 notch (at least his '98 Cobra came factory that way and I didn't have to deal with that one!). Trying to locate black interior parts-especially for a coupe with manual windows-can be daunting, but we struck oil with the large selection at All Mustang Performance's salvage division. After speaking by phone with the company's knowledgeable staff, we not only had most everything we'd need to convert to the black interior for Goth king Turner, but we also ordered the small, beat-your-head-against-the-wall parts needed for the V-8 swap.

With the main Ford pieces out of the way, it was time to pick up the phone for some aftermarket enhancements to add to our black interior. Editor Turner has always been jealous of the Cobra Daytona seats in my LX with matching Schroth harness belts, so I had to set up the Real Street car in a similar fashion to keep my job. The Cobra Daytona seats and adjusters are from Sube Sports, the U.S. importer of Cobra seating, while the Schroth Profi-III harness belts are from HMS Motorsport, the U.S. distributor for Schroth.

It will be much easier to install the Interactive Systems EFI harness and EEC IV processor now before the dash assembly goes in. This also goes for any auxiliary gauge or switch wiring. The cleaner you can make it, the easier it will be to work on in the future.

Rounding out the interior is a plethora of Auto Meter Phantom instrumentation, KS Reproductions white-face gauge overlays from CJ Pony Parts, Auto Custom Carpets embroidered floormats and carpet, and a Grant Evolution GT wheel with yellow accents. It's almost too nice for a "race car," but we all know that after its tour of duty, Editor Turner is just going to baby it around town like his other Mustangs. Right, Mike?

Horse Sense: The Johnny Cash theme seems to be popular with Fox Mustang owners. All three of Editor Turner's Mustangs have black interiors. But finding black interior trim parts can be difficult for such items as rear quarter-panels and manual-window door assemblies. Sometimes it's simply better to paint the panels using a high-quality interior trim paint, such as the ones from Metro Mustang [(404) 767-3378], which we've used in the past with great success.

Before we get to the door panels, we first install new rubber glass runs and wipers from Latemodel Restoration Supply. The old seals were dry-rotted, and we knew we'd have a better paint job with the seals out. The wiper is simply riveted into place on the door-skin lip as shown here.

The window-run seal is trickier to install, but it isn't something a bit of patience and time can't tackle. Begin at the upper rear corner of the door frame, as shown here, and then carefully work the seal into the glass run channel. Some silicone spray might help get the seal into place. Notice the door-opening seal is already installed on the body.

The first items to be installed of our black interior stash from All Mustang are the door panels. Because we're dealing with used parts, we spent the extra few bucks on all-new door-panel retaining clips to keep everything tight and quiet.

As Kinnan was a cheapskate, he didn't bother to look for a better car with power windows. So we're stuck trying to find black door panels for a manual-window car. This is your basic needle-in-a-haystack story. We decided to use power-window door panels, thinking there wasn't any difference. We found out the hard way there is indeed a difference-the armrest is positioned further back on the panel. After cutting a hole in a perfectly good door panel for the window crank, it hits the armrest. We'll think of something, but it would have been easier if Kinnan had found a car with power windows. Thanks, Rob!