So, you’ve been thinking about taking on a classic Mustang restoration project – good for you! What’s not to love about a beautifully restored classic Mustang? Most people have differing opinions of what a “restored” classic is. To some, it just comes down to some new carpeting and a good paint job. To others, it’s restoring it down to the very last nuts and bolts. Either way, the following classic Mustang restoration tips for Ford enthusiasts will help everyone, from novices to newbies.
Classic Mustang Restoration Tips
Before you take on a classic Mustang restoration project, do your homework. Figure out what you want the end the final product to be – a show car, restomod, daily or occasional drive, etc.
Next, determine your budget and how much of the work are you planning on doing yourself, versus farming out. Are you going to install aftermarket or EOM parts? Are you planning to strip the entire car? The more you do your homework before starting your project, the fewer regrets, you’ll have when you’ve completed it.
Take Tons of Pictures
Thanks to today’s cell phones, it’s easier than ever to take pictures so take tons of pictures of your classic Mustang, including the engine compartment, front suspension, and rear suspension, etc. Concentrate on trouble areas like the rocker panels, front frame rails, front floor pans, torque boxes and rear frame rails. Make a list of any obvious problems as well as things that are in good shape. Then, sit down at your computer with your list, prioritize what needs to be done and do some research to discover the best ways to proceed.
Use High-Quality Materials
When it comes to choosing your tools, classic parts and materials like paint, adhesives and even sandpaper, always invest in high-quality options. If you try to cut corners here, you’ll probably end up having to go through the restoration process all over again. This also includes using the best auto parts store (restoration focused would be helpful) in your area. Not only will they carry quality parts, but they’ll also have a wealth of knowledge that will come in handy.
One Bolt at a Time
One of the most important things to do is to not rush the process and make a note of the location of each nut, bolt, and part (pictures come in handy here too) of each section as you work on it.
You’ll Love this Tip About Seats
Here’s something you may not realize – you can purchase the original material that was used for your classic Mustang’s seats. There are companies out there, like TMI products, that can manufacture upholstery out of the original factory vinyl.
Painting the Exterior
Removing the paint is one of the first steps in the restoration process after the body has been stripped. The best way to remove paint from the exterior is soft media blasting or sanding. Glass beads, plastic or walnut shells are some of the best to use because they don’t peen metal and they run cooler. Dry-ice blasting is another option, but it is typically more expensive.
Painting the Interior – Stripper or Thinner?
Lacquer thinner will work a lot better than paint stripper on your classic Mustang’s interior because it does a more efficient job removing the paint. Then, you can start the priming/painting process. An important thing to remember is to not go heavy on the paint because it could end up covering the grain.
It’s All About the Details
Great classic Mustang restorations are a result of paying close attention to all the little details. A great example would be to grind any ragged edges smooth when preparing surfaces for primer and paint. You’ll be amazed when you see the difference.
If you’re planning on driving your classic Mustang every day and aren’t concerned about originality, you may want to consider installing 3-point shoulder and lap belts for safety purposes. There are several resources online where you can purchase these seat belts for classic Mustang restorations (some might need minor modifications).
Seek Out Like-minded Professionals
Have fun with your classic restoration project and seek out like-minded enthusiasts and professionals by going to car shows, joining a classic Mustang/Car club, etc.
When you’re ready for a classic Mustang restoration, call me today.