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Hey everyone, I recently acquired a 1965 Mustang Coupe and have been starting to assess the work it needs and developing a game plan for restoration. It was my grandfather car, but has sat for 20+ years now. I've started tearing parts of the car down and have been finding rust in all the usual places. The cowling, in particular, is in very bad shape, and it has quite a bit of surface rust along with a few other structure items that need to be addressed. Nothing terrible outside of the cowling, but it does need to be addressed. Given the rust I'm finding, and my OCD tendencies :)grin2:), I am looking at doing a full tear down. I would rather start with a solid frame that has been treated and primed then have the rust sneak up on me years later.

Unfortunately, bodywork is not my forte, which is another reason I just want to get it done and out of the way so I can continue with the rest of the restoration myself. Everything I have read about a cowling replacement is leaning me to have someone else do it. I do not feel comfortable tackling this a newbie and am hoping for some shop recommendations. I live in Tallahassee, FL but am willing to travel a decent way if need be. I travel for work anyways and can easily make it to Orlando, Atlanta or Moblie. Hoping someone may know of a place or two within that range. I would rather find a highly recommend shop than stay local, even if it cost me a little extra. I'm a new member to this group and car restoration but have really been enjoying the collective wisdom of the group and guidance offered thus far.

Thank you!
 

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What is that in the second photo?

I've found that there just aren't too many shops that are anything but insurance mills. Only want to do insurance work, period. You'll have to look for a "restoration" shop willing to do bodywork, probably by the hour.
 

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What is that in the second photo?

I've found that there just aren't too many shops that are anything but insurance mills. Only want to do insurance work, period. You'll have to look for a "restoration" shop willing to do bodywork, probably by the hour.
Photo is looking inside the cowling. Hoping to find a restoration shop to do the body repairs. I anticipated the cowling repair may be costly, anyone have an idea on ballpark pricing?
 

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Hey... someone else in Tallahassee I’m in the middle of repairing my cowl and while I have not found it to be particularly difficult it is labor intensive. I would imagine a ship would charge somewhere around 2k or more for the repair.
 

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Mine was a bit less than 2k, but I always pay cash and drop off/pick up the car promptly - like insurance work. He replaced the rusted bottom half and re-used my original top half. My guy knows he will not have to work around me or my car. We agree on the scope of work and cash price. He does top quality work. Being perennially poor, I just save up for whatever is next - even if it is years between body shop trips.....
 

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Hey... someone else in Tallahassee I’m in the middle of repairing my cowl and while I have not found it to be particularly difficult it is labor intensive. I would imagine a ship would charge somewhere around 2k or more for the repair.
Great to meet a local! I don't mind the labor but have no experience welding. While I would like to learn, I don't know if the cowl is something I should be starting with. I've been doing a lot of research online for this repair, but don't really know anyone who has done it before. The online stuff left me a little hesitant to try. How did you support the frame once you removed it? Do you have a picture?

Mine was a bit less than 2k, but I always pay cash and drop off/pick up the car promptly - like insurance work. He replaced the rusted bottom half and re-used my original top half. My guy knows he will not have to work around me or my car. We agree on the scope of work and cash price. He does top quality work. Being perennially poor, I just save up for whatever is next - even if it is years between body shop trips.....
Same game plan here. Tackle one item...save up....tackle another. The top cowl on mine looks good as well, but the bottom looks completely rusted out.
 

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My cowl didn’t leak, but given the condition of my “hats” I decided to remove the top and replace them. Once removed I discovered that the corners near the windshield rusted through. I could find anyone local to fabricate new hats so I purchased the end patch sections. I’m grafting in new metal cut from the patch ends and using the new hats.... keeping as much of the original metal as possible. Since most of the lower cowl is still in place I provided basic stabilization by keeping the export brace attached along with RV stabilizing jacks at the extreme front of the frame and at the rockers. The rest of the body rests on jack stands at the front frame near the firewall and at the rear differential. The blue and tan foam is to prevent cutting ones head when crawling under the car
 

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To date I have repaired one rear frame rail, replaced the trunk floor, rear cross member, tail panel, partial floor, both shock towers, core support, and one inner apron. Even then the cowl left me a bit apprehensive, but I figured I’d already done the really hard stuff... what could happen. I don’t think I would do a cowl with no experience welding or careful spot weld cutting since mine is a 66 and a new upper cowl is not available.
 
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