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Awesome build thread! I have been spending several hours over the last few days reading through. Lots of ideas on how I can spend more money, but that is part of the forums.

Alan
 

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Discussion Starter #202
I appreciate all of the support from everyone. Trying to schedule an appointment to pick everything up so that I can move forward with my convertible build and restoration. I have used the year to advance my skills and knowledge by starting another build thread working on my 65 Fastback. It too will be a Coyote powered restomod with very similar suspension and performance upgrades. However, I currently plan on installing the Heidts IRS with mini tubs into the Fastback. You could say, the plan is to build twins, one convertible and the other a fastback.

#1965mustangbeast - Mustang Fastback Coyote Restomod Build

https://forums.vintage-mustang.com/build-forum/1147768-1965mustangbeast-mustang-fastback-coyote-restomod-build.html



 

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I appreciate all of the support from everyone. Trying to schedule an appointment to pick everything up so that I can move forward with my convertible build and restoration. I have used the year to advance my skills and knowledge by starting another build thread working on my 65 Fastback. It too will be a Coyote powered restomod with very similar suspension and performance upgrades. However, I currently plan on installing the Heidts IRS with mini tubs into the Fastback. You could say, the plan is to build twins, one convertible and the other a fastback.
They will be a fun pair!
With the mini tubs many perform the frame notch to gain the extra inch. Just have the Heidts IRS kit on hand to ensure you leave the frame portion intact to accommodate the rear crossmember saddles. I chose to just forgoe the notch and leave the frame alone installing the tub about an inch out from the forward section of the frame and flush with the aft section. You could easily facilitate the frame notch with the IRS by modifying the aft section of the IRS saddles incorporating the actual mini tub frame notch etc. in the end however given my actual measurements you only gain about an inch of tire space.

I’ve been following both of your threads from the beginning and have benefitted from both.
Happy Holidays and best of luck with the convertible / body saga.
 

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Discussion Starter #204 (Edited)
Unfortunately, I don’t have much to report regarding progress on my convertible Mustang, but I will post a brief update. Since December 2018 I have made multiple requests to schedule an appointment to pick up my car from R3 via phone, registered mail, and emails. After my last inspection, I instructed them to stop all work since I think the best way forward is to take my car, new, and OEM parts to a third party shop for an objective inspection to ultimately make the necessary repairs. I’ve tried my best to be detailed and thorough, and help reach an agreement to allow R3 to address incorrect repairs, scratches, and a refund for the invoiced parts that they damaged, but R3 lawyers have stated that “the Corporation is done negotiating.” I also can’t risk taking another long distance trip only to not be allowed to see my car at their facility. Meanwhile, Heidts has been very helpful and I have purchased a complete rebuild kit per their recommendation for their suspension components.

The R3 attorneys also wrote, “After I receive the signed Settlement Agreement back from you, the Corporation will make your car available for immediate pickup,” but I am not interested in a scenario where R3 keeps my OEM parts from my car and new parts that I purchased from other vendors at this time. It would be unreasonable to sign an NDA until after I have made aware of all changes in writing or until my car has been returned to me. I have not received an accurate and written work order for all of the work that was performed on my car since it was delivered to R3 on August 19, 2017. Fortunately, I have kept a detailed record of photographs and emails, but I do not know why R3 performed multiple changes that were never discussed, including relocating my car’s VIN from single piece to two-piece aprons. Both Bill and Ray of R3 were managing my project (emails) and present during multiple inspections, but R3 has informed me that Bill is no longer with the corporation. I have followed the California DMV instructions and they've provided me all of the proper paperwork for my car as a registered PNO (Planned Non Op). R3 was very much aware of this via emails, and should not be surprised that their product is a motor vehicle with a VIN. Due to ongoing issues, my classic auto insurance advised me to post a customer review based on facts and photographs to the R3 yelp and facebook customer review pages at which R3 responded with unfriendly lawyer letters rather than provide a deadline or a written and thorough proposal of how to move forward in regards to the remaining issues with my car. I removed my posts, but due to ongoing and new damages, I had no choice but to repost my concerns about a year later, at which R3 had their lawyers send me unfriendly letters calling me a “petulant child.”

I would rather be posting updates focusing on assembly and installation. In summary, R3 has been paid in full around thirty thousand dollars and is not responding to my requests to schedule an appointment to pick up my car along-with my OEM parts that has been in their possession for about a year and a half. A third party needs to inspect and address the damages. Since beginning this thread, I have spent close to six figures in parts for my car, along with a lot of time doing the vast majority of the work myself as documented via this forum thread. I think I have been exceptionally patient and reasonable to expect quality work. I’m a hobbyist builder and this is a very brief summary and update at this time.
 

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So sorry to read about your issues with R3, boy do I hate lawyers. I hope that you and R3 can come to terms, pickup your car and parts, and move on. Stories like yours is one of the reasons I do my own work and keep the car in my possession.
 

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What a sad story and I applaud your restraint to keep from using every means possible to trash these people. Do you have your own legal representation? If not, with the money you have invested it may be worth speaking to an attorney before agreeing to anything.

At the very least, I know what my comments will be if someone asks me about this company.
 

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I feel for you! I thought the 5 years my car was a body shop hostage was bad, but I wasn't out this kind of money! You've shown you have incredible restraint and a great attitude despite the circumstances.
 

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Discussion Starter #212
Moving forward with Body V2

After being shuffled between numerous employees and communicating directly with the company lawyer, I was granted access to finally pick up my car on August 23, 2019.










The following is a very brief summary of events since my previous post. I received a call from the Morongo Basin Sherriff’s office the first week of July of 2019, which serves the Yucca Valley area. This is where the business is located and where my car has been since August of 2017. R3 Performance had filed a complaint with law enforcement. I answered the officer’s questions and the officer confirmed my car’s title with the California DMV. Much of what I discussed with the officer was already disclosed to R3 when I initially responded to an advertisement via email and during multiple shop visits where I consulted with employees. It is all very interesting considering the company moved VINs from single piece aprons to two-piece aprons, scratched, damaged, discarded parts, and replaced parts without providing me with a complete record of the work. I’d like to thank the California Bureau of Automotive Repair, Better Business Bureau, and the CA DMV for their assistance as I was considering possibly filing a theft of property with the local authorities.

Using photographs, I can irrefutably state that R3 has changed the following; aprons [single piece swapped to two piece, LH apron severely warped and bent], radiator support [oil cooler bulkhead fitting cutouts missing, AC lines cutouts missing), Heidts K member [curved shock tower saddle changed] frame rails [uncut lip which was notched to clear upper control arm], firewall [MDL hydraulic clutch hole missing], cowl vent [realigned], dash [fog light, power top cutouts and now 65 GT style] both doors [Pony door cut outs screw holes missing as well as AMK hardware bolts], transmission cross member [essentially same measurements as the first unit that they discarded], convertible quarter panel and door frame assembly, rocker panel [windshield molding tabs and drilled door sill holes missing, roll bar different rivnuts], floor supports [transmission cross member bolt holes missing] dual exhaust reinforcement pans [welds and alignment different] interior lizard skin [R3 sprayed truck bed liner] convertible rear seat divider assembly [missing threaded boot molding holes] convertible trunk divider bridge support [trunk hinge cutouts different and tacking strip holes need to be rethreaded] both quarter panels [top boot molding holes need to be drilled out again to fit chrome molding hardware], taillight panel brace [welds different], rear 4 link saddles [gap between frame rail different], and the list of changes goes on. Thus, it would be reasonable to say it is very likely to be a new shell or V2 body to my Mustang. So posts earlier in the build thread may no longer be applicable as I revisit assembly. Even with some outstanding damages and incorrect repairs, there are some positive things including; centered floor supports, centered windshield header bar, correctly placed cowl vent, and correct 65 GT style dash, but again no one at R3 will disclose an accurate description of the changes that were made to my vehicle. Attached is a brief visual comparison between V1 and V2 R3 shell.



Hi Res Link

With the exception of some seam sealer, welding in the dual exhaust reinforcement pans, I am pretty much starting over refitting parts. In addition, there are many things that need to be fixed because some parts are missing, scratched, and damaged. All of the brand new suspension that I purchased from R3 that I powder coated and assembled needs to be completely disassembled, stripped, re powder coated, and refurbished. The anodized Ring Brothers trunk hinges, coil overs, rear calipers amongst other things have been severely scratched and need to be replaced. The two-piece aprons need to be returned to single piece-aprons, and two pairs of OEM fenders need to be repaired. I’m not sure what to do about the truck bed liner yet. All of these repairs are currently out of pocket expenses at this time. To be fair, the company was offering some “gift” money, but only if I signed a “release of liability waiver” for my vehicle, which I couldn’t do considering all of the undocumented changes and the last time I was allowed to see my car was in April of 2018. Also, the repairs will more than likely exceed the cost of what was offered. Lots to do. Looking forward to working on my car.

 

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Wow..
As many, I have been following and benefitting from all of your builds/threads since their inception. One could say a dozen things regarding your saga with R3 but the only mention I have is “getting what you pay/paid for” is a statement almost removed from our societies dictionary now days... Even when you over-pay, ethical/quality work is still a rarity. I praise those that try to do things fair and right and critique those that don’t with constructive/fair reviews and a lack of customer loyalty etc.

The good, you do have the Vert back and it appears it will live on. Albeit you may have to re-accomplish much to get it back to where your hard work, talent and $$ had it initially. But from what you have shared, you have handled this situation very well. It will be a great ride once complete.

I’m hoping to have my 65 back from the body shop by the end of Jan 2020.. My frustration level is rising as well. I may even start a build thread at that point, catch up with the fabrication/metal work that I did then move forward with the build - post paint.

Overall, God speed with the Vert. Looking forward to your progress with both (all) your Mustang projects. Your current Fastback build has “much” of the same as my Coupe 😄

Thanks again for your threads. Extremely informative!

Take care.
 

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Just reread your entire build thread. I appreciate so much the work you have done in fitting the Coyote, it has helped me considerably with my 70 Mach 1 restomod. It is truly sad to see so much great work and pristine parts get abused at the hands of a shop. Obviously no consideration was given to protecting your parts as modifications were performed. Now that your car is home again, it will be great to see your build back on track.

Good luck and keep us posted as you move forward.
 

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Discussion Starter #216
Fitting Windshield, Molding, Door Latches, Glass, and Convertible Top

I appreciate the support of this forum. Moving forward, I installed a used windshield with brand new weather-stripping. I mocked up the pillar and top OEM moldings along with pillar post weather-strip. Both of the pillars needed some grinding to allow proper clearance for the top molding pieces and allow clearance for the sunvisor brackets. Looks good.





Both doors needed a small amount of grinding to accommodate the OEM Mustang door latch assemblies. Some of the holes were funky. I have a couple of door latch repair plates on order that I’d like to be able to install or weld to the inside of the door to reinforce the structure adjacent to the latches. The sides of the doors are wavy and I’d like to smooth later.



Door striker threads needed to be tapped, but otherwise they went in smoothly. Door handles, locks installed without issue. The driver side vent glass aligned very well, but the passenger side vent assembly mount holes were not even close and required some grinding for clearance.









Both track runs, window regulators, and door glass installed. I used all OEM hardware. Moving onto the quarter glass, where I needed to slot and open up some of the window regular mounting holes. The RH passenger side alignment is decent, but the driver side is really crooked. I maxed out the horizontal (forward and back) frame slots on the quarter window guide assembly. There is no upper horizontal (in and out) adjustment on the quarter glass guide assembly since it mounts directly to the body so I will need to remove the glass and possibly use a little hammer persuasion to get everything to properly align. I checked fitment on a 1965 T code convertible and everything went in and aligned as expected. I will have to revisit and perfect later. I bolted on a preassembled 65-66 OEM Convertible top frame. I threaded the body tack strip bolt holes. Fit is good considering the convertible top frame can only be adjusted so much with it being preassembled. With the top now installed, I revisited and refined the glass alignment.

 

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Discussion Starter #217
Fitting Boot Molding and Assembling Interior Quarter Panels

Moving onto attaching the convertible boot top molding. Every hole along the rear window panel and the quarter panels had to drilled for the trim.





Interior convertible quarter panels assembled and fitted. I want to keep my OEM fiberglass interior quarter pieces stock and uncut, so I purchased a pair of reproductions. The tabs on the reproduction ABS plastic doesn’t line up with the OEM metal panel. Also, it doesn’t look like the ashtray cutout is a very good match. It took some minor grinding, but I think I got them to fit pretty well.



The factory original red interior convertible quarter panels are from a 68. Notice how the metal panel has a different lip at the top corner where the windlace begins in the door jam. 65-66 is different. However, the fiberglass panel is identical from 65 through 68.





I spent some time strategizing different ways to accommodate the roll bar with the interior quarters. I decided to notch the quarters so that the roll bar could remain installed if I ever needed access to the rear window rollers or quarter glass. I need to design a removable cap or cover to go between the roll bar and interior quarter panel. I also test fitted a backup OEM back seat frame that I had already media blasted and painted in Por-15. The ABS interior quarters also required some trimming along the base of the roll bar. It’s a tight fit.
 

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Discussion Starter #218
Dash Assembly, Kick Panels, Door Sills, Door Power Windows

Moving onto assembling the dash. There are subtle differences between this reproduction and Factory 66 dash. The two center mounting points for 66-dash pad are slotted and I had to drill two holes to the left, right of the bezel, and glove box. The reproduction dash looks like a 65 GT style, but it is set up for a 66-dash speaker/defrost vent panel.



The dash pad trim holes along the bottom of the windshield need to be fitted and drilled on this new body. I cut and notched the dash pad using the trim as a guide. The dash vent holes didn’t even remotely align on the R3 repro dash so I drilled new ones. I hope I’m not being too detailed, but these tedious tasks take up a lot of time and are something to consider when dealing with reproduction parts. I’m very pleased with the Dashes Direct dash pad, which says it is made from original Ford tooling. Both the vent and dash pad trim are 66 Ford original. I used AMK hardware kits that I purchased online through CJ Pony Parts.





I also re-drilled for the dash fog light and convertible power top switches referencing a 1966 factory original GT dash. Moved onto test fitting glove box with the Vintage Air ABS plastic glove box to clear the under dash evaporator. Original upper ash tray rail bead blasted and painted with a repo ashtray.



Drilled mounting holes for the Vintage Air Gen IV under dash evaporator using the kits included templates.





Refitting kick panels and drilled mounting holes for the Ring Brothers doorsills. I had to trim the plastic kick panels to allow the billet doorsills to lay flush.





Windlace pillar brackets installed.



Adapted and installed the Mustangs To Fear door panel hardware. Their kit relocates and uses a 67-style interior door latch handle. The kit uses standard interior mounting hardware for the door panel support bracket. My OEM kit composed of pony hardware and it took me awhile to figure out why I was having installation issues with the door pull bracket. Last, I replaced the OEM door window roller with an Electric Life power window motor FD38-K. I tested the units with a battery and they have plenty of torque. My power window switches are mounted onto the center console, as there is no preexisting cutout on the MTF door panels for a window regulator or switch. The speakers do extend out from the door panel and take up legroom, but I love the design.

1965-1968 Mustangs To Fear Door Panel Installation Video





 

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Discussion Starter #219
Test fitting Seats, Belts, and Console



Pulled out the front seats. They are brand new for a 2003 Mach 1. The driver seat is powered. I researched mounting options and ended up going with a pair of TMI #47-5200 seat adapter brackets. I expected some customization for my specific application, but they also move the seat back a few inches for the much needed legroom. I mildly modified the seat factory seat tracks and welded on some L brackets, which aligned with the back horizontal plate on the TMI seat adapter brackets. I also cut and replaced the power seat electrical plug with a pair of 2” Deutsch connections with inline fuses.







I was concerned about clearance between the MTF console and the Vintage Air under dash evaporator, but fit is good with about a 1/8 of an inch of clearance. A full-length OEM console would need to be cut significantly.



I was surprised to discover that the Corbeau 3-point retractable seatbelt latches #387478 that I purchased are compatible with the built in Ford belt latches on the seat. Convertibles have inner rocker panels, so the seat platform is narrower and thus there is less room to work with when fitting a seat compared to a fastback or coupe. I’m considering mounting options for 3-point belt and where to place the retractable base. It’s a tight squeeze but fitment looks good so far.



The driver seat is about mid-way on its horizontal and vertical travel. The Ididit column is shown at a non-tilt angle so there is more clearance between the seat and the 14” steering wheel. The photograph shows everything at a “default” or “mid-way” setting. I’d like to figure out a way to mount an ipad mini that will run OBD software or possibly interface with a CAN bus system.
 
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