I purchased my dream car in the summer of 2005. It’s a 1967 Mustang 2+2 Fastback, a stock numbers-matching, rust-free California car. The exterior was painted a few years ago so the car looked really nice. That is until you raised the hood. You know how it is; when your friends and co-workers are checking out your new ride, and almost everyone says “raise the hood.” The normal reaction was a look of disappointment and let down.
I began collecting parts and doing research soon after purchasing it for my winter project of restoring the engine bay. The after-market industry has so many choices today that deciding what you want is never as easy as you anticipated. My initial plans were to restore back to like-new showroom condition; but I couldn’t resist adding a little performance and a little chrome bling.
I started my project during the holidays because I had time off work. I stripped everything under the hood down to the block. Taking time and care to label everything so that putting it back would be simpler. The next step was to pick a warm day, push the car out of the garage and wash the fire wall and inner fenders. To do this requires ensuring that nothing gets inside the engine and lots of degreaser and elbow grease. Once you’ve cleaned everything, it’s time to let it dry thoroughly and tape off the rest of the car leaving nothing but the engine bay exposed. There is a lot of prep work involved that takes time. Do it right the first time, you do not want to have to do this again.
After everything is painted, the real work begins. I put the engine back together first and installed a new camshaft and all the necessary parts that go with it. Everything else is external. Paint all brackets, replace or polish the visible bolts. Replace items such as the water pump, fuel pump and sending units. These are relatively inexpensive and while you have them off put on new ones; it will save time and money down the road. I installed a new aluminum intake and carburetor from Holley, vintage aluminum valve covers from Ford Racing and the standard 289HP chrome air cleaner. The little things like wiring harness tie downs and decal can all be purchased aftermarket.
I owe a lot of thanks to my friends at the auto parts chain stores. They have most of the parts you need and a loaner tool program for those specialty tools required to do the engine work. Knowledge is everything, and I got a lot of help from my new Internet friends at Mustang Steve’s. I’m 48 years old and had not turned wrenches like this in 25 years. I proudly raise the hood now when asked.
– John Stone