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Hello Folks, welcome to my build thread!

Foreword on this one: this is my first classic car restoration, so things are probably going a bit slower than some. My skill level is, well, rather basic on some, better on other. Upholstery, electrical work are not a problem, my welding is rough and I am beginner level for spray painting . Mechanically I am average, more accustomed to motorcycles than cars. My garage is already full of machines and stuff so it’s driveway for me.

I have a big thing for 69s Mustangs, though I still don’t dig the Fastback. The design, the 4 lights and some other unique features just get my blood pumping faster. Previous year models are just fine, but yeah, 1969 rocks! To each his own, right?

So I took the plunge and bought this great 69 convertible GT. It has good and less good points. The last 4 months have been for assessment, research, info and parts gathering. Some driving too :)

The good:
  • Original 351 Windsor rebuilt and strong, original FMX tranny rebuilt and shifts well, original carb rebuilt. No leak and no smoke. Normal mileage.
  • New coil, voltage regulator, distributor and alternator (still 3 wires 60Amp though).
  • New starter and solenoid.
  • New tank and fuel lines and other fuel related stuff new.
  • New braking system, still 4 drums manual.
  • Front end rebuilt, new front suspension.
  • New aluminum radiator. Water pump in good shape.
  • The differential has been rebuilt and is solid. 9” heavy duty with a 3.00 conventional axle.
  • All the chrome parts are present and in very good shape.
  • Head lights, markers and tail lights are good and functioning.
  • Original GT Deluxe, one of 163 made in 1969 with that Trim/Paint. Wheels (14”), caps, hood pins, pop-up fuel trap are present in rather good to very good shape.
  • Power steering is OK but developed a leak after sometime (dunno where exactly). Ford pump...
  • Body in very good shape and straight, just a spot or two of rust (more on this in the bad stuff section). Original metal pretty much everywhere. 2” spot is rusted through the left trunk drop-off
  • Just one repaint in the original color Candy Apple Red, still showing good.


The less good:
  • The original cluster and clock are missing, replaced at some point by standard stuff. NB: this is an early fab’ from Sept. 1968, so the correct woodgrain applique is light teack. Same thing for the console, the OEM is AWOL. No lights on the cluster, some gauges seem to be non-functioning.
  • Electrical messed up (still looking for the fuse box….). What is left in the car is OEM, old and crispy on some places. Gotta change the noodle pack!
  • Radio is OEM, and seems very dead.
  • No heat and the blower motor seems not functioning. The intake spout is missing as well as the top hose. The PO replaced it with a sender for a new Bosch Temp gauge under the dash (Arrrghh…).
  • Carpet and vinyl are tired, need a change. Seat tracks on driver side are damaged.
  • The top is shot, but frame and hydraulic/pump seem good. After removing the old vinyl top and plastic rear window (brown and cracked), one cylinder is leaking. The feed for the pump was spliced directly on the live wire going to the voltage regulator (Aaarghh again, did I already say the electrical system was messed up?)
  • Additional fan on the front of the radiator works with a switch under the dash (really??) and feeds from the battery. No relay of course.
  • Rear suspension is tired. The rear shocks have been replaced some time in the 80s maybe. I believe the leaf springs are from when the car was born. They feel very very tired.
  • Exterior mirrors are not OEM, maybe from a Cougar or some other Ford. But they are red...
  • After removing the old carpet and the seats, the other shoe dropped. The left inner rocker is rusted through on the whole length as well as a 1.5” spot under the rear seat, right side. The good thing is that nothing else got really damaged. The floor is solid, seat and reinforcement pans are very good. The frame rails, torque boxes, kick panels are good, like the fenders and other parts. The right rocker is good.
  • The doors, locks and windows need some TLC, glass is good and original. Windshield shows a couple of chips, small, one having been repaired. Door panels and rear trim panels are lightly damaged in some places, dirty and old.
  • All the weatherstripping needs replacing, the rubber was hard as a rock.


My project is to have the car back to about original, with some upgrades while not messing up everything. It will be a weekend to semi regular driver. In addition to address the Less-Good points, I’d like to add power disc brakes on front, a Pertronix ignition, and LEDs bulbs throughout. I may also switch to a 4V Edelbrock carburetor, which I already have.

Right now, I am at the cleaning and and removing stage. Most of the needed parts are in my hands, between NPD, CJP and Ebay/Craigslist/Amazon.

First order of work was to get the inner rocker fixed. The start was to find a body shop able to do it because it is above what I can realistically do. I got lucky and found Elegant Motor in my town. They do a lot of renovation on classic cars. Not cheap though. I can repair most of the minor rusted metal, but not the rocker, this is a structural part I simply not feel able to do correctly. There was also some old “creative” repair in this area, from some darn shade tree dude using bondo, pop-up rivets and plates. Fortunately, it was quite limited. I guess it was to be expected, still this is beyond an Aaarrrgghh, quite a Face Palm I’d say.

The car is now at the shop, and will have a brand new full rocker within a week or so. Then my part will start with the convertible top and the steering pump leak then the complete harness from AAW. In between, I’ll work on the interior.

It is a blast to be here and benefiting from a LOT of good info. I’ll be back a bit later with more pictures, promised!
 

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Wildpat, welcome to VMF from south Jersey. I am rebuilding a 69 Coupe & know what you are going through, as I too have to do 95% of the work on my Mustang out in the driveway since I only have a 1 care garage. Here is a pic of my 69 as it currently sits.

 

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Discussion Starter #5
Wildpat, welcome to VMF from south Jersey. I am rebuilding a 69 Coupe & know what you are going through, as I too have to do 95% of the work on my Mustang out in the driveway since I only have a 1 care garage. Here is a pic of my 69 as it currently sits.
Yeap Mike, not the best set-up to do it, though it's getting done. Glad to see your car, GT too, or just the wheels?
 

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Some pictures of the car before anything was done:
 

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Yeap Mike, not the best set-up to do it, though it's getting done. Glad to see your car, GT too, or just the wheels?
Mine is not a GT, just the wheels. I had them from a 68 GT Coupe I had back in the 80's. BTW where are you in NJ?.
 

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Mine is not a GT, just the wheels. I had them from a 68 GT Coupe I had back in the 80's. BTW where are you in NJ?.
Gotta use those wheels!.

I'm in Englewood. Moved there about 5 months ago from Manhattan.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
As said, the left inner rocker was eaten up pretty bad. Here it also shows the "repair" made some time ago by Garden Corner Bodyshop man (joke). The floor pan is good, as the rest of the floor.

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[/IMG]
 

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Over the weekend and yesterday, the rear seat got all the attention. Even my 13yr old daughter lent a hand to clean up the frames (gotta do what ya gotta do, right?). Both frames were stripped, gone through with a Dremel and wire brush, then coated with Rust Converter and a coat of semi-gloss black.

[url=http://imgur.com/VhHsJES][/URL]

Then on with the rebuilding and a new vinyl cover.

[url=http://imgur.com/K0zuOeM][/URL] [url=http://imgur.com/eSwo1zy][/URL] [url=http://imgur.com/qfgQXdU][/URL] [url=http://imgur.com/YMklmn4][/URL] [url=http://imgur.com/kBUplED][/URL]
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Backrest is done, the seat part will be next.

[url=http://imgur.com/aTaISbZ][/URL]

The original padding had a layer of burlap with some thin listing wires in it. To keep the same principle, I used a plastic poultry fence 1/2" mesh (HD). Then I went with a layer of non tear weed fabric (HD), 1" HD foam, dacron batting (high flop) and a double layer of burlap (HD). All this is assembled with some zip ties and hog rings. End result feels very comfy, maybe a touch firmer than the original.
 

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A quick update: rear seat bottom part is done, ready to go, and the car is being painted. I guess it will be back home Monday or Tuesday (after I pay the bill! :shaking::shaking: ). Tackling the front passenger seat over the weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Back from the shop

Brand new rocker is in and the lil' red thing is back home! While the parts were from NPD, the guys had to play with them a bit. The inner rocker is about 2" longer than it should for a good fit. The outer part was 1/2" wider than factory and had to be cut down lengthwise. Hopefully this is the end of what I have to outsource, cuz this one was not part of the budget...



 

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Discussion Starter #17
Convertible Top part 1

As it is now my turn to get to it, the first order was on the top hydraulics: new cylinders and hoses. The bolt linking the cylinder arm to the frame is specific to 69-70 Verts. The ScottDrake kit has new bolts but too short! I ended using the one original blocking washer I was able to save. The other side is equipped with the SD nylon washers (re-drilled to be true 3/8" ID), the original bolt drilled to accept a cotter pin.

In the garage, the passenger seat is coming along. The head rest is done and both frames are clean and painted.



 

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Back to the top...

The pads are in place, and the frame has been cleaned. All the rotation points have been lubricated. Over the weekend, the window part will be set up and maybe the whole top too.

Meanwhile, I received my Ampmeter converted to Voltmeter. Thank you Rocketman!!

 

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Convertible top part 2

With the frame about ready, the window curtain is going in for a pre-fit after the top front pads are set. It's been loosely stapled to the center back tacking strip, what Ford calls the trim stick. That trim stick is in 3 parts, the center one is at the bottom of the window curtain and the 2 side pieces are stapled to the back pads and the top. 2 wood strips are used to hold up the glass window (that thing is heavy, and I have only 2 hands!!), the tacking strip being loosely bolted in place.



I have of course spent a few hours perusing the vast Web and watched the videos from NPD-AutorestoMod, WCCC and others. There are quite informative but of course lacking. The pads are essential to set the different bows and the distance between each of them. Also there are some variation between frames. Like for body repairs, the key is patience, measure 5 times and do not cut, pre-fit and pre-fit again. Cut only when set in place for good.

Good thing is that allowed for the top to be positioned and checked for alignment. I realized it was coming about 1" too low at center in regard of the top border of the window. The tacking strip was following the pencil mark on the curtain.

 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
The window curtain is off the frame, then to the back pads. Those one link the 2 side tacking strips to the 4th bow. The material is pretty thick and are a PITA to fit to the side strip. On top of that, the rubber I used to retrofit the back tacking strip is somewhat softer, meaning it does not retain staples as well. I think it is best to glue with contact cement and staple. On the back tacking strip I used 3/8" SS staples as the 1/4" ones did not hold well.

Heat resistant contact adhesive: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N8RRKEY/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1



After a couple of back-and-forth,they are both in place, loosely bolted to the body.



The next step is to unbolt them then set the window curtain in its definitive position. The rain is coming so it's packing time, recover the car and lunch.
 
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