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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello,

I am working on a 1969 Mach 1 that my mother has owned since 1994. She originally had it restored back then by a local shop that is still in business. Long story short she left it exposed to the elements for a long time and mice got into it, and it is starting to rust through on most of the body panels and frame rails.

I have it in my garage now and have been slowly stripping it down. I took the tank out and started pulling out the trunk floor this weekend and it was a mess. It looks like the shop that did the work had left all the old rusted trunk floor in place, then put galvanized aluminum sheet metal on top of it to attempt to build their own trunk floor, and simply bolted it down to the frame rails and tried to poorly braze it in place at some of the seams to hold down the edges.

Upon closer inspection, it also looks like the entire rear frame rails were replaced with "home made" units. It looks like they've been cut out of plate steel with a plasma cutter in the rough shape of the rail and welded together at the seams. To make any required bends it looks like they just cut it at angles and welded back together. I can't really tell yet (will try to get more pics underneath), but looks like full run of the frame rails are simply bolted to the floorboards underneath instead of being welded in. On the drivers side it is clearly bolted through the transition pan as well, with a piece of galvanized on top. For some reason they also tried to pound out the indent for the spare tire on the passenger side inner wheelhouse (wider tire clearance?).

This shop is still in business, and the owner (guy that originally worked on it), claims he didn't do any of this and "only painted the car" despite a stack of invoices my mom still has with his name and work notes all over them showing otherwise. Not trying to get him to fix it 25 years later (wouldn't want him touching it anyway), just trying to get any more insight into what was done here.. but because it was obviously a hack job he is playing dumb and using the shaggy defense ("wasn't me").

Need advice on what to do here.. the trunk floor is obviously gone and will be replaced, but the frame rails -- although hacked together, at least seem solid. But I'm not sure if they are even dimensionally correct and square. Do you think this is worth completely ripping out the frame rails/torque boxes, etc. at this point and replacing with new proper parts? Or will this be "okay" all things considered and I should just weld them in place if they measure ok? I'm a little worried about the structural integrity of these if they are just bolted in, but I'm not an engineer.

Thanks!

742278


742279



742277
 

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The frame rails look okay structurally. So will it be safe? Yes. I’d still probably have everything replaced by a proper restoration shop for my own peace of mind but that’s just me.
 
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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for your reply, I'm thinking along the same lines you are in regards to peace of mind. Unfortunately this place was a "proper restoration shop" that everyone around here recommends when I ask. Granted this is very old work of theirs, but I don't want to risk it.. and everyone else around is already booked up for the next year.
 

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You didn’t say where you’re at but if you’re in the Midwest, I highly recommend Mustang Restorations in East Dundee, IL, outside Chicago.
 
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Discussion Starter #6
Given the potential value of a Mach 1 (we assume original engine, but you didn't say which) you may want to make the investment and have the car returned to near original.
I'm pretty sure the engine was replaced at one point with one out of a Fairlane but I'm not sure (351W - M code), I haven't found the numbers yet and my mom wasn't sure either. But you make a very valid point.
 

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I've seen that with the spare before. People who know nothing about Mustangs think it's a dent.

Don't take it apart any more just yet. Clean things up, blow out the trash, and identify what's the worst structural thing on the car. Fix that. Then fix the next-to-worst. Repeat. This will maintain structural and dimensional integrity of the car. If you have to work on the front, get one of Drake's top-quality export braces, and install that for the duration of the repair. Then keep it installed.

As for the quality of the repair, I've seen worse than that, such as torque boxes glued in with latex bathtub caulk.

I'm pretty sure the engine was replaced at one point with one out of a Fairlane but I'm not sure (351W - M code), I haven't found the numbers yet and my mom wasn't sure either. But you make a very valid point.
What makes you think it was from a Fairlane?
 
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Discussion Starter #8
You didn’t say where you’re at but if you’re in the Midwest, I highly recommend Mustang Restorations in East Dundee, IL, outside Chicago.
I'm in the New England (Maine). I've called around to pretty much anyone I can find locally and they are all either booked or want to do the entire resto for $40-50k (not just pieces).
 

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Pity you're so far from PA, the Barn would do as little or as much as you like. One proviso- They'll only do it right.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
I've seen that with the spare before. People who know nothing about Mustangs think it's a dent.

Don't take it apart any more just yet. Clean things up, blow out the trash, and identify what's the worst structural thing on the car. Fix that. Then fix the next-to-worst. Repeat. This will maintain structural and dimensional integrity of the car. If you have to work on the front, get one of Drake's top-quality export braces, and install that for the duration of the repair. Then keep it installed.

As for the quality of the repair, I've seen worse than that, such as torque boxes glued in with latex bathtub caulk.
Great advice, thank you. Currently the worst structural element is actually the driver's side front frame rail. It's been patched recently though, but nothing long term. Based on all my measurements after getting the fenders and everything off, the front end is actually pretty damn square. I haven't yet checked the rear dimensions though.

I'll definitely pick up one of those export braces -- good to know. I was thinking of also picking up some (as cheap as possible) bolt-on subframe connectors just to connect the two sets of frame rails as well, as I have some rocker panel repair to do eventually as well and wanted to keep that as stiff as possible even if it is up on stands.

Edit: Forgot to respond to part of that -- that makes sense about the work on the wheelhouse. And my mom seemed to remember that detail about the Fairlane engine.. she thinks the original was missing when they got it and it was replaced, but again no hard proof there and it was a long time ago.. and she could just be completely delusional (as I tell her often -- haha).
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Pity you're so far from PA, the Barn would do as little or as much as you like. One proviso- They'll only do it right.
Damn, that would be nice! It's hard finding people around here that will do things "right" as you can see from the pics. I grew up here but just moved back a few years ago, and there definitely seems to be an overwhelming attitude here now of putting lipstick on the pig, just getting the job done and out the door to get paid, etc. I'm sure there are exceptions to that but I just haven't found them yet. :-/
 

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It really isn't that expensive relative to the work you want done to tow the car to PA.
Just a thought.
Russ
 

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Just to get you to think, shipping a bare car body is not that expensive, when listed as steel. So, it may be best to strip it and ship it and have it correctly done. It might also be time for a road trip to get the car out of rust land to a sunshine shop to have the repairs done, where there are 50 rust free parts cars sitting out back.

I am in the Dallas area, and recently took some parts off a 69 Cougar, that the person had bought to repair a 69 Mustang Cobra Jet. He needed the entire front clip due to a wreck and the bonus was the Cougar came with the reinforced shock towers. He paid $300 for a rolling Cougar, rust free, with AC, power everything, etc.
 

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I would second the idea of sending the car to PA (or at least considering it). In the big scheme of things, it’s worth it to take the little extra time and money to ship/tow the car to a place you can trust. The Mustang Barn does only top-notch work, so even if you can’t see the car all the time you have a high level of assurance it’s in good hands.
 
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