Thursday, June 28, 2007

Jason's Mustang Restoration Project - Engine And Transmission(Part 3)

This is a set of photos showing the continuing work being done on
the engine and transmission.

January 19, 2002

Things finally seem to be moving along! The engine is beginning to look more like it's completed now, and the transmission is completely disassembeled and cleaned out.

The first two photos show the newly installed heater box in the engine bay and the gas filler tube with (most) of the correct screws in it now. The rest of the photos show the transmission and engine progress.

I am told that a thick layer of varnish ad built up in the transmission and that it took them days to scrape all of it out. What is shown here is many of the internal pieces of this original C-4 Automatic. I think most of it looks pretty good for such an old transmission.

I thought it would be good to put up some detailed pictures of some of the internals for people who don't get to see them very often.

It is obvious that somewhere along the line, someone tried to rebuild it as the fiber plates look almost new, and the modulator was missing the pin that is supposed to be in one end.

The engine is mostly re-assembled now, and the paint looks great. They did manage to get paint on a few places that shouldnt have it, but with the help of Bob Mannel's V8 book, they are going to clean it off of the places they need to (like the water connection on the front of the intake manifold.)

The 16th photo shows the Napa "correct" fuel pump next to the one that came off of the engine. Neither one appears to be the same as the pumps that we see in Mannel's book, so I guess I need to investigate that some more.

Hopefully, things should keep moving fast..

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Mustang Nightmares. They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

Thinking of buying a classic Mustang? Better read this first...

By Mark Logan,

June 29, 2002 - Last week, we received an e-mail message from Skip Novakovich asking if we could help him locate a particular classic car dealer in California. When we asked Skip why he wanted to find him, the story he told horrified us. It's an unforgettable lesson on how NOT to buy a classic Mustang, and how an unscrupulous car dealer taught Skip a VERY expensive lesson.

When Skip saw these pictures, he knew he had found exactly what he and his wife Shannon wanted, a red Mustang GT convertible, with the perfect option and color combination. More importantly, the price was right. It was a "recent restoration" selling for a couple of thousand less than others on the market.

Skip is not the sort of guy that rushes into anything, but he had been looking for a classic Mustang convertible for quite a while, and this one was looked like the perfect pony. Besides, it was a Mother's Day present for Shannon and the deadline was approaching.

The car was in California; close enough, but too far for a personal inspection. While he wasn't able to see it before he bought it, the dealer's "references" checked out, so he assumed everything was fine. Besides, he knew his lender was going to "inspect" the car before they approved the financing, so he trusted that they would do the due diligence to protect their investment, as well as his.

After a cursory kick-the-tires inspection, the lender gave the car a "thumbs up" and the loan was approved. Skip was excited, but a bit nervous as he sent a cashier's check for $18,000 to the car dealer. The dealer shipped the car, and ten days later it arrived at his home.

The first sign of trouble came immediately after the car was unloaded off the trailer. During shipment, large quantities of rust debris had shaken loose from under the dash and covered the passenger floor - a very bad sign. As Skip began to look over the car he had purchased, sight unseen, his heart sank. The more he looked, the worse the story became.

Problem after problem presented itself, the most severe being "Mustang cancer" (rust). The car was totally consumed by it making it literally unsafe to drive. The unibody is completely rusted through and in danger of collapsing. The frame rails were virtually dissolved, and the inner rocker assemblies had been stuffed with wads of newspaper and covered with Bondo and undercoating to hide the fraud. You could still read the date of the San Diego Union Tribune after it was removed from the rockers, March 24, 2000. But, that's just the beginning of this horror story.

Skip called the dealer that sold him the car to try to resolve the situation. After repeated messages, there was no contact. No returned calls . . . nothing. Later, he discovered that the dealer had apparently skipped town. No one can seem to find him, and messages left with the person that represented the seller go unanswered. This scam artist remains at large.
To the uninitiated, the first impression is a good one. From twenty feet, it's a beautiful classic Mustang. Then you begin to look at details, like the placement of the GT emblem on the front fenders; too high and too far aft to be original. And, the rocker stripes, don't they look a bit odd? There are many other telltale signs of problems that would have been uncovered in a comprehensive pre-purchase inspection. We'll cover them later in this article.

After Skip paid for and took delivery of the car, and found a litany of problems, he decided to have it inspected by a qualified restoration shop in the Tri-Cities, Washington area. He did some homework and located Harland Lippold, owner of Horse Heaven in Benton City, WA (509) 627-8264.

Harland has been in the Mustang restoration business for many years. When it comes to the classics, few people are as knowledgeable about Mustangs, and as conscience, as Harland. He has inspected, repaired, and restored many dozens of Mustangs and vintage Fords since 1979. He is two time President of the Pacific Northwest Mustang Club, and a concours show judge for 1964-1968 Mustangs in the Pacific Northwest Council of Mustang Clubs. In short, he knows his stuff.

What follows is Harland's analysis of this Mustang. It will give you an idea of what can go wrong with a purchase and turn Mustang dreams into nightmares.

Skip knows it now, but a pre-purchase inspection would have saved him $18,000.

The post-purchase inspection is reprinted with permission of Harland Lippold and Skip and Shannon Novakovich in the hope that others won't make the same mistake.

Inspection - 1966 Mustang convertible

VIN and Data Plate information

6F08A260284 76A U 27 17B 41 1 6

Structural Assessment

The unibody is not structurally sound and presents a real hazard of structural failure. The vehicle has been involved in a major accident resulting in extensive damage to the upper front sections of the unibody. Repairs of this damage were limited to what was necessary to re-attach sheet metal to the front of the car. All the aprons on the right side, and the cowl show clear wrinkling resulting from impact and straightening. The front apron braces, unique to convertibles, are missing. No sheet metal forward of the doors appears to be original except for left fender and cowl. Many fasteners are missing. Body fit and alignment is poor.

This Mustang is as rusted as any example I have ever seen. Those areas where the metal initially seems solid have been replaced or patched in a very shoddy fashion. They are attached tenuously to whatever could be found using body filler, cardboard, crumpled newspaper (San Diego Union Tribune, March 24, 2000), urethane insulating foam, and scraps of sheet metal. Many fasteners are missing entirely. Only immediately visible panels were replaced, and only in a fashion which covered up rust or accident damage. There was no attempt made to properly repair the structure of the unibody.

Rust has entirely consumed the inner and immediate rocker-panel structures; the cowl vent balloon floor, the bottoms of the left fender, both doors and rear wheel houses; the trunk floors, including the fuel tank mounting flanges; and the quarter panels, portions of which have been replaced. The fuel tank is held in place by 8 of the original 13 fasteners, which are threaded into the rusted flange.

The convertible top drain rails and top boot transition panel forward of the trunk lid are rusted badly. All floor pans have been cut out and replaced with flat sheet metal. The inner rocker assemblies have been stuffed with wadded newspaper and surfaced with body filler to disguise the absence of any metal there.

The entire undercarriage, including the wheel wells and trunk have been freshly coated with a variety of undercoatings in an effort to hide the various problems.

Operational Assessment

The car should not be driven. Aside from the things necessary to move the vehicle under its own power, very little is functional. The engine block was originally machined in January of 1967, making it clearly not the original. No other engine diagnostics were done in light of the obvious determination that this car will not be restored.

The engine bay is a collection of minimally valued, used aftermarket components which were sloppily assembled. Non-Ford items include the intake manifold, carburetor and radiator. Engine oil, transmission fluid and power steering fluid are leaking. Workmanship on the mechanical components is non-existent.

The wiring is heavily patched and spliced and not properly attached. Inoperative or missing electrical components include: neutral safety switch, horns, windshield washers, heater, radio, fog lamp switch (no running or instrument lights), glove box lamp, warning flashers (missing entirely), backup lamps (missing entirely), shift lever position indicator, interior courtesy lights, cigarette lighter. The headlight dimmer switch is inoperative since the floorboard where it should be located is rusted away. There are no working instruments other than the speedometer. Headlights cannot be aimed because the attaching parts are missing or damaged. The ignition switch has been drilled out and the damaged bezel re-used resulting the switch being upside down.

The heater assembly is badly rusted. The fresh air door on the passenger side is rusted off its hinges. The fresh air vent assembly on the drivers side is hanging loose under the dash, since the cowl to which it would mount is completely rusted away.

Steering and suspension components are in a similar state of maintenance. Power steering hoses are cracked, neoprene bushings and dust covers are rotten, and at least one tie-rod end is visibly bent, probably as a result of the front-end accident. The idler arm bushing is worn out and there is nearly an inch of free play in the toe-in.

The engine runs, but is not well tuned. While the vehicle was originally equipped with an automatic transmission as it is today, it has at some point been converted to a manual transmission. The clutch pedal remains in place attached to nothing. and hidden under the carpet. The hole for the clutch linkage is patched with a scrap of upholstery material.

Cosmetic Assessment

Of first note, Mr. Novakovich indicated that he purchased this vehicle described as a 1966 GT convertible. Aside from the improperly placed GT emblems on the fenders, improperly placed and sized stripes, incorrectly welded GT exhaust tips, and incorrectly wired fog lights, there is o GT equipment on the Mustang, and it was never a factory GT. While it is possible that the remaining components of the GT package (disk brakes, front sway bar, factory dual exhaust with resonators) had been removed, the factory reinforcements to the frame, relocated brake line brackets, and holes punched for the brake proportioning valve and fog lamp wiring are absent.

The vehicle is also equipped with furnishings from the deluxe interior. Again, this has all been added to the vehicle and the most expensive parts of this equipment group (wood grain steering wheel, stainless kick panel trim door courtesy lights) are absent. Those items appear to be damaged examples: the stainless door panel trim has been perforated with several extra screw holes rendering its value zero. The door panels themselves are aftermarket reproductions which were improperly installed and damaged in the process.

The factory air conditioner has been placed in the car but so improperly installed as to be obviously added, and many of the important components are either missing or damaged beyond the point of any value. The A/C does not appear to be operable.

A few key pieces are new, including the bumpers, styled steel wheels, fog light assembly and windshield header. Most other pieces are a collection of slightly blemished or otherwise second rate parts unsuitable for use on a restoration. The hood is an aftermarket reproduction, but the hood latch has been improperly installed resulting in a reverse dent in the front center. Fenders and doors are sloppily patched by gluing corrugated cardboard over them, then gluing carpet scraps along the bottom edges.

The paint on the car, while shiny and red, is a very low quality job. Red overspray is present on the glass and in most other areas. The paint job is consistent with a $189.95 service offered by budget shops like Earl Scheib or Maaco. The convertible top appears to be intact, but the top bows and mechanism are corroded badly. Pivot bushings and the latch assemblies are so loose as to render it impossible to make the top weather tight or to adjust it properly. The mounting holes for the staple strips are so rusted that large lag screws have been used to attach them.

It would be difficult to transfer the title and registration to this car to Washington State since only one undisturbed VIN is visible. The door data tag is attached using generic pop-rivets and thus is disqualified as a source of VIN. Removal of one or both fenders would be required before Washington State would issue a title, and they might require impound, or issue a "branded" title. Additionally, there is some evidence that the car may have previously been titled with a "salvage" title. There are two rivet holes drilled on the blank tab on the forward pinch weld of the cowl. This is a typical placement for a state issued VIN tag. There is little doubt that the VIN is authentic, however.


Practically or economically, this Mustang cannot be restored. I estimate, conservatively, that the cost to restore this Mustang would be well in excess of $40,000. Such a restoration would take at least two years if performed by my business. Since a comparable (to the finished product) Mustang would have a market value of $25,000 to $30,000, it would be much more practical to simply purchase one.

Safely, this Mustang cannot be driven. In its current condition, this Mustang is reputably marketable only as parts and should sell for roughly $1,200-$1,500.

The lesson here is obvious. Have any car you plan to purchase inspected by a qualified, independent, 3rd party mechanic BEFORE any money changes hands. Ask us about how to get one inspected

If you would like more information, or think you can help us find the con artist that sold him the car, please contact us for Skip's phone number.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

1964 Ford Mustang Convertible - Iacocca's Mustang

By Jim Smart
Photography: Jim Smart
Mustang Monthly, April 2007

Lee Iacocca Never Owned A New Mustang, But His Wife Gave Him A '64-1/2 Convertible As A Birthday Surprise In 1974

At 82 years old, Lee Iacocca is a seasoned individual with a firm handshake and solid conviction, as whet-stoned sharp as he was when he sold Henry Ford II on the idea to build a sporty, four-place automobile that would become an American icon.

The Mustang was a tough sell for Lee, who finally convinced Mr. Ford that the car was a good idea because hundreds of thousands of baby boomers were coming of age and they wanted sportier cars than Ford's stodgy lineup. After widening the prototype a pinch to satisfy Henry, Lee sent the Mustang to market where it became a phenomenal overnight success and changed the public's perception of Ford Motor Company forever.

Amazingly, Lee never owned a new Mustang, which is ironic considering his role in the car's runaway success. Instead, he did exactly what he was supposed to when he was a Ford executive-drive and evaluate all kinds of automobiles. When he wasn't doing that, a driver picked him up at his Bloomfield Hills home outside of Detroit for the ride to and from Ford World Headquarters across town in Dearborn.

When Lee turned 50 in 1974, his wife, Mary, presented him with a Caspian Blue '6411/42 Mustang convertible, which was located and crafted by Lee's friend, Hank Carlini. The car was like new, freshly repainted and trimmed with custom pinstriping that included a horse's head at the leading edge. Hank originally penned the name "Iacocca" in this location, but Lee had him change it to a horse's head. Because Hank liked the Interior Décor Group, he fitted the car with all the "Pony Interior" trimmings, as conceived by late Ford-stylist Damon Woods.

On July 14, 2006, Bob Fria, from the Mustang Owners Club of California, and I rolled up to Lee's iron gate. I saw his Mustang convertible at MOCC's Mustangs In The Park show a few weeks earlier. It was the first-and probably the only-Mustang show he would ever bring it to because it now belongs to his daughter, Lia. The car is significant not only for what it is-a Mustang-but also for what it means.

The Iacocca Mustang is about as you might expect for one of the oldest restorations out there. Virtually unchanged from 1974 when Mary presented it to Lee, it's a Dearborn-built, F-code 260 convertible assembled in June 1964 and delivered new to DSO 73, Salt Lake City. It's unknown where Hank found the car or how it wound up in Detroit.

The Mustang is now garage-kept and driven rarely. Before it arrived at Mustangs In The Park in June 2006, it had no brakes and had to be repaired before being driven to the show. Had you been cruising Southern California's 405 freeway that day, you would've seen the Iacocca family cruising along with the top down in the California haze.

Although the thought may have crossed your mind-and ours-Lee's Mustang isn't for sale and never will be.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Jason's Mustang Restoration Project(Part 2)

Leaving For 2nd Phase

This is a set of photos showing the first time I ever towed the car by myself. The trailer was borrowed, but the pickup truck is mine!

These pictures give new meaning to the term "Trailer Queen"

October 27, 2001

Check out this awesome trailer that my friend Greg let me use! I didnt know it was a flatbed until he brought it over. It even has its own brakes!

I figued it would just be a 2 wheel dolly...

Well, the stang is now off to my dad's place of employment where they will pull the engine and the transmisison out.

They will send the motor to one guy, and the transmission to another for rebuilding.

The 6th photo shows the car waiting outside of Petterson's, where my dad works. It is funny to see it out amongst other cars for a change...

Then, Larry from the Body / Mustang shop (SLS) will pick up the car there and bring it to the media blaster to clean the white paint, rust, and dirt off of the engine bay.

Once it is blasted, it will go back to SLS to replace the battery tray with the correct 65 version, have a new windshield installed, fix the brakes, replace the fuel tank and fuel line, and paint the engine bay black again.

When SLS is done with it, it will go back to my dad's place to have the engine and transmisison re-installed, and hopefully a new exhaust system.

I also took a couple of pictures of the interior while I had some good sunlight. Those shots really show the quality of the floor repairs and the new dash stuff nicely.

Once this is all done, maybe, just maybe, I will be able to drive it home under its own power for the first time!

I will cross my fingers...

Removing Motor

This is a set of photos showing the results of pulling the motor and the transmission.

November 1, 2001

Well, now the motor is out. They also took out the transmission, and stripped all the sheet metal off of the motor to prepare it for the trip to the motor rebuilders.

They tell me that the driver side exhaust manifold has a big piece broken off, so finding another one will be my next project I guess.

2nd Body Shop Trip

This is a set of photos showing the progress on the engine bay, brakes, and fuel tank.

November 16, 2001

I got a call today that the car was back from the blaster, and that the brakes were installed. So I went over to take some pictures. Larry also told me that the hood was sent through the blasting process too just to see how bad it really was. Finally, the new fuel tank has been installed temporarily just so that it can be driven!

As you can see, the whole front end of the car looks great! The darker metal around the master cylinder is just wet with brake fluid.

Also, note that the car now has the correct battery tray apron!

The 8th picture is great because it finally shows the entire list of codes on the firewall that were hidden before.

The entire list reads: C322 76A M 86 PT BL. As far as I understand it, the codes mean the following: C322 = an order number of some kind, 76A = Convertible with standard interior, M = color code for Wimbledon White, 86 = Black Vinyl interior with black trim, PT = Power Top, BL = Backup Lights.

And just as I thought, the hood is pretty much swiss cheese. The last photo shows one spot where the rust came all the way through to the top of the hood.

Motor Is Rebuilt

This is a set of photos showing the newly rebuilt motor and the preparation of all the parts needed to put it back together again.

November 17, 2001

Today, I went to go look at the motor which is already back from the rebuilder's.

The block looks fantastic!

I also took the opportunity to load all the accessories and extra parts into the truck and bring them back to my dad's place for the coming re-installation.

Many of these pictures just show the pieces that I have been working on to clean up.

More From The 2nd Body Shop Trip

This is a set of photos showing the completion of the engine bay, and the work in progress to re-install the windshield.

There are also a number of photos showing cars belonging to other SLS customers!

November 26, 2001

Today, I went to go see the newly painted engine bay. We are only waiting to get in all of the parts for the windshield, and the car will be ready to go back to get the engine re-installed!

While I was there, I decided to take some snapshots of some of the other cars that were in the shop.

In order they are a 70 Convertible with original pink paint and 16k orig miles!, a 66 vert with a cool red paint job, a rusty old 64.5 vert that is just being started on, and a totally rust free 73 vert in the paint booth!

Hurry Up And Wait

This is a set of photos showing the small projects and parts collecting that I am working on while I wait for the engine to be re-installed.

December 11, 2001

This update is being done because I am stuck without my car, waiting for the engine to be re-installed.

The first 4 pictures show various engine parts being repainted. The next 4 pics show what the car actually looks like now.

Finally, the last few pics show some of the parts that I have purchased or fixed in my garage while I have been waiting... Check out the awesome air cleaner!

Some Progress

This is a set of photos showing more of the work being done to prepare for for the engine to be re-installed.

January 12, 2002

Well, in an attempt to move things along, I have decided to go to the shop where they are working on (or not working on) the engine.

I figure if they see me in there working on it every weekend, maybe they will get sick of seeing me and start their work too!

These pictures show a before and after on the wire harness installation, the fuel tank filler tube install, some pictures of the rear end with working taillights, and some shots of the old and new carburetor together.

I moved the air cleaner stud and the dashpot over to the new carb.

I have been told that work on the transmission and the engine re-assembly will begin this coming week. We'll see!

P.S. - That 2nd picture is the Shelby that has been hiding under the boxes at the body shop I go to. Larry says he is planning on restoring it, and is currently collecting original parts for it. Much of the hard to find unique Shelby stuff is still on the car.

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