Mark Bremier is a fun guy who loves cars. The '65 Mustang you see burning the hides on our cover really isn't Mark's doing. In fact, he got this classic Mustang in a partial trade with the former owner of another car. "I guess this car would run you $25,000 to $30,000 if you bought it outright," Mark told us. But we understand our readers aren't typically people who just go out and buy ready-made, high-performance restomods. Our readers, like most of us at Mustang & Fords, prefer to build their own cars. We will add that many of us cannot afford a $25,000 to $30,000 ride either. We're lucky if we can pull it off for under $15,000 and have something to feel proud of. As enthusiasts, we have to be resourceful and creative.
We found this '67 hardtop...
We found this '67 hardtop in Southern California, price unknown. Just because it's a California car doesn't mean it is rust-free. There are a lot of Mustangs on the California coast that live in salty air. Many of them can be as rusty as those we find in the salt belt.
We wanted to dissect Mark's Mustang hardtop, and see what we could actually build this car for. We're going to look it over, and figure out what we could build this car for in real-world dollars and time without breaking the bank. follow along with us as we show you how to build a wicked ride.
You can get into a rust-free classic Mustang for $200 to $7,000. This is where you have to invest your time in the search for a terrific bargain. They are still out there. Think of it as a treasure hunt.
Begin your plan with a no-nonsense, low-buck ride, such as a '65-'68 Mustang hardtop. These days, you can even aim for a '69-'70 hardtop because we've seen some really bitchin' things done with these otherwise lackluster rides. Mustang hardtops tend to be plentiful and cheap, regardless of vintage. One example is our own Project KISS, a derelict '68 Mustang hardtop we found in Long Beach, California, for $200. Another example is an Emberglo '66 Mustang hardtop a friend of ours snapped up in Burbank for $1,000. the original owner just didn't want it anymore.
Do the bodywork yourself and...
Do the bodywork yourself and save a bunch of money. You can still get a high-end-looking paint job by doing the grunt work yourself. If you don't get it right the first time, try it again.
Great finds are still out there. You just have to beat the bushes for them and be patient. Ideally, you will find a V-8 car for your particular project, but don't let a six-cylinder deter you. Six-cylinder Mustangs are generally the cheapest. Those sixes, and their weak suspensions, can easily be replaced with a V-8 and five-lug suspensions.
Don't err on the side of cheap and pick up a crumbling rust bucket you will have to invest thousands in for sheetmetal replacement and bodywork. Spend more and get a rust-free body you can get right to work on. If you live in the salt belt, and you find a rust-free car in Arizona or California, spend the money on the car and shipping. It will still wind up costing you less than the rust repair. Plus, you can get right down to car building without having to wait for time-consuming bodywork.
The trick to making a $1,500...
The trick to making a $1,500 paint job look like a $10,000 paint job is the guidecoat and blocking. Work the surface until it is perfect. When you guidecoat and block-sand the surface, you find all the flaws.
If you have the patience and perseverance, search for a good rust-and-damage-free body without the over-inflated purchase price found in the collector publications. Cruise the used car lots. Check the classifieds every week. Drive up and down side streets looking for the neglected classic someone wants to get rid of for a song. Remember, not everyone sees vintage Fords the same way we do. Some see an old Ford as just that-an old Ford. They don't see the classic side nor the value; those are the ones you have to watch for.
Mark Bremier's '65 Mustang hardtop has a few mild, yet complex, body modifications wrapped up in the 10-second package. Mild, run-of-the-mill modifications are a front valance from Tony Branda Mustang & Shelby Parts and a fiberglass decklid from Mustang Depot. These are easy bolt-ons that make a huge difference in the car's appearance. The former owner extended the rear wheel lips to accommodate the larger tires and wheels in back. This is costly and not always necessary. Consider alternative wheel sizing and offset instead.