Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
October 1, 2006

Like most any project, half the fun is in the labor of cleaning, assembly, and getting dirty-the grunt work, if you will. Take a nasty, rusty, old hulk of a car and turn it into a gleaming ride you're proud of.

For some people, that's the only fun part, so they sell their project soon after completion only to begin anew with another salvage-yard find. Sitting at a cruise night or car show and being complimented on your finished work surely makes one proud as a peacock, but I'd hazard a guess that most of us would rather be back in the garage getting dirt under our fingernails, slinging wrenches, and making something old new again.

Here's where our Factory Five Roadster project differs (somewhat) from previous projects. While we are thoroughly enjoying our time in the garage assembling the project, for the most part there's very little getting dirty here. Everything that comes with the Roadster kit is brand-spanking new, and since this project is a "non-donor" build, 98 percent of the content is also brand-new, including the engine, trans, rear, gauges, and so on. There were a few donor items we had to clean up, such as the spindles, pedal box, and fuel-filler pipe, but it was nothing like the work on our recent project cars where we had to cut out rusty floorpans. Of course, if we were going the late-model Mustang donor route, we'd be getting a lot dirtier, but we find this "clean assembly" rather refreshing for a change.

Currently, the engine is built, the rear axle is built, the transmission just arrived, and there are a few more items en route as well. This means we'll soon spend a weekend installing the entire drivetrain (though you won't see that in the magazine for a while yet). To prepare the frame for the drivetrain, the non-stressed aluminum panels need to be installed, since many of the rivet locations can't be drilled or riveted with the drivetrain in place. All of the aluminum panels come with the Roadster and are laser cut. We simply have to mark the frame location on the panel, drill some holes, and get out our rivet gun.

Check out our progress in this month's installment, and don't forget to read our online Web diary where you can read about our weekly progress right from the garage.

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