Rolling stock does not have...
Rolling stock does not have to cost you a fortune. We're talking 16- and 17-inch wheels that look sharp for less money. You don't have to have high-end wheels and name-brand tires to crack a 10-second quarter-mile. Opt for speed-rated tires from Pep Boys that cost considerably less than the big names out there.
We like the two-tone finish on Mark's Mustang-extremes of light and dark with black and Hugger Orange to mimic the Harley-Davidson colors that sets the car apart from others. But it also costs more than a more traditional paint job. The fender flares and cowl vent deletion add to the cost of building the car and aren't mandatory. Mustangs have a nice, clean look as they came off the assembly line. Paint color and color combinations can make all the difference without costing a fortune.
Paint and body are always huge concerns when it comes to cost. That's why beginning with a solid, rust-free body is so important to saving money. We spoke with Allan Shepley at Mustang Central about the cost of paint and body, with the understanding they would be starting with a rust-free body. Allan explained that you never know what you're going to find when you tackle a car body. The truth comes when you get down to the bare steel. That's why you have to thoroughly inspect a body before buying. Look for accident damage and sloppy repair. Search for rust. Small rust bubbles in the paint normally mean huge problems and expense beneath the surface.
What does bodywork and paint cost? Bodywork doesn't cost much more than the materials involved if you do the grunt work yourself. If you can do the preparation yourself, you can save thousands of dollars. Take your Ford to Maaco, Earl Sheib, or 1-Day Paint & Body, and have them do the final prep work (guide coat and block sanding) and painting. Realistically, if you do the prep work yourself, you can get into a nice paint job for under $1,500. Color sand and rub it out yourself.
Mark went with Centerline Sabre 17-inch wheels on his ride. These wheels really bring out the Hugger Orange and black PPG basecoat/clearcoat finish. The Sabres are priced at $250 each. Falken tires from Discount Tire tipped the financial scales at approximately $100 each. This means you can get into good-looking tires and wheels for under $1,500. truthfully, you can get into even better deals on tires and wheels for under $1,000, depending on size. you can purchase a nice set of used wheels, then clean them up for your Mustang. Snap up an old set of 15-inch Cragars, Keystones, Magnums, or styled steel wheels, and you can press them back into service for less than $500 a set. Be more conservative with wheel size, save a bunch of money, and still look sharp.
Brakes And Suspension
It's nice when you can afford...
It's nice when you can afford those high-end binders from Baer and Wilwood. However, for the rest of us there's Stainless Steel Brakes and Mustangs Plus. You can fit your steed with factory front disc brakes that will stop you just fine. For hard braking, step up to carbon metallic brake pads. Extra-wide rear drum brakes designed for the Fairlane station wagon offer plenty of stopping power. You can get these guys from Mustangs Plus.
On Mark's Mustang, a Rod & Custom Motorsports front end was installed, which does not come cheap. This is a great front suspension system, but the cost of buying the system and getting it installed is expensive. Mustang Central would charge us $3,000 to install the Rod & Custom Motorsports front end. That, along with the cost of the front-end itself, would blast us past the $15,000 mark.
Instead opt for a front suspension system from Dallas Mustang and new steering gear from Flaming River-all of it for under $1,100. A Rod & Custom Motorsports front disc brake kit can be had for another $400. You can either live with your Mustang's rear drum brakes, or pop for a set of rear disc brakes for $600. Based on what we know about good rear drum brakes, you don't necessarily need the rear disc brakes, at least not right away. Shelby-style underride traction bars are a nice add-on for around $300. Staggered rear shocks also help traction issues using off-the-shelf Ford parts that don't cost much.
Getting a rigid platform doesn't have to cost a bundle either. Subframe connectors from Mustangs Plus can be had for approximately $150. Torque boxes are also cheap at approximately $70 each, especially when you consider the rigidity gained from this installation. If you can weld in the torque boxes yourself, you save even more. These are nice, constructive mods that will tighten up your act for less than $300.
Mustangs Plus' Grab-A-Track...
Mustangs Plus' Grab-A-Track suspension is a great bargain because it is so affordable. Opt for a set of 620 coils, polyurethane bushings, and a 1-inch front sway bar, and you're ready to rock-without spending a fortune. When your budget permits, step up to Global West or Total Control suspension components.