Hello everyone, after about 6ish years of purely lurking, and 3 years since purchasing my Mustang, I figured its time to make a build thread to share progress and pick up advice along the way. Some basic info to introduce my car:
- 1969 Mustang Mach 1
- Purchased Nov ’19 as a mostly complete roller from New Jersey
- Was NOT a numbers matching car, came with a 351C that had a few bent rods
- Factory manual car with 9” rear
- RUSTY… holey (literally) moley (I’ve never spelled that out, but seems right)
And some basic information to introduce myself:
- First restoration project, but not first crack at extensive modification to a vehicle (including cutting/ shaping/ welding). Definitely learning as I go no matter what I do with this or any other car
- Mechanical Engineer, so I have absolutely over planned everywhere and probably have/will overcomplicate most of this project
- Auto Cross and Time Attack/HPDE enthusiast. Have only been racing with sanctioning bodies for 3 years, but I plan to continue that as long as I can, and, as I’ll show in this thread, I plan to use the Mach 1 to itch that scratch
I’d also like to preface this thread with this note: I am NOT a professional in any aspect of what I do. I work out of my home garage when I can outside of work, using mostly basic tools and materials. I’ve had to get pretty creative to find some solutions so far, but that’s one of my favorite parts.
Alright, introductions aside, I’ll get to what everyone actually wants to see/hear. After graduating and getting settled in my first big boy job, I helped one of my best friends build a rather serious time attack car for the GridLife Time Attack series. After a few years of building that into a solid platform, I decided it was time to dedicate my time to build something for myself. Since I was a kid, I had always had a love for the 1969 Mustangs, specifically the fastback body lines.
In the years leading up to buying the car, I created a kind of project statement to outline what I wanted the mustang to be to me. This will help me keep myself on a set path to an end goal instead of meandering off half way through and finding myself making something that differed from what I had envisioned. “To build something inherently unique. A mustang that retains it’s intended heritage, while also utilizing advances in engineering and materials and creative, subtle, design elements of my own creation. It must be a useable vehicle, one that can be daily driven to work on fair weather days, make grocery runs, long distance trips with family, attend and be competitive in autocross, attend and be enjoyed on track with Time Attack or HPDE. I will show myself what I can do when my passion is given freedom.”
It may be a little sappy, but on the days I don’t feel motivated, that statement kicks me back into gear. I know my goals and aspirations for the car are large and lofty, but I don’t believe a project is worth doing otherwise. To meet all of these goals, I came up with an extensive list of things I wanted to do and researched seemingly endlessly to make sure my decisions would fulfill my goals. I am confident they will, and once I had a solid base, a steady day to day, and some savings, it was time to start working.
I had been planning, researching, and saving for this car since college, so in 2019 I had decided to start seriously looking for a car in need of restoration to begin. Realistically, I figured I wouldn’t find the right one until 2020, but to my surprise one seemed to fall right in my lap that fit the criteria/budget I had set. I bought the car from a small classic dealer in New Jersey. He had bought it to restore, but he said he didn’t have the time to give this one attention. He had warned me it needed some metal work, and honestly, I didn’t know what to look for exactly, but pictures sure can hide some things! Seeing it in person showed some more rust than I thought, but I got if for what I thought was a decent price, so we trailered it home 13 hours to begin its new life in my 2 car attached garage!
Pictures below are from before tear down. Since that time, I have 657 hours in including tear down and metal repair. It’ll be probably a bit before I catch up to real time for updates, but I’ll do my best to highlight the good stuff leading up to today without being too detail heavy.
Things definitely looked good from the outside. Inside was ok, it was a maroon interior painted black, so that was a bummer, but otherwise, complete. Most parts seemed to be in good shape, so I felt it was a good starting point. By this point, I had already created an extensive timeline in excel detailing what would need done, an excel part tracking sheet/cost tracker/cost estimator, and a word document journal to document every step along with hours logged and spot welds cut (that part was for giggles, but its actually been a cool statistic to track). Did I mention before I was an engineer? No? Well, I’m sure the stereotype comes through now with all the documentation!