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My 1966 Coupe Restoration Thread

14284 Views 88 Replies 19 Participants Last post by  Dieselman
Hello all,

A while back I purchased a 1966 mustang. Well unfortunately I was one of those guys who got caught by a dishonest seller. I managed to get a chunk of my money back but what I was left with was still more work than I wanted.

I've toyed with the idea of selling it and trying again, but I think rather than abandon her I'd like to show her the love she deserves. She has an incredibly solid body and is a VERY good base car. The person who owned it before me (or people) did funny things here and there...seems like they'd buy a top notch part and sink big bucks into doing something correct or high performance (such as the edelbrock 4bbl intake with 600cfm holley carb) but then they'd skimp on stupid crap here and there (such as hanging parts of the exhaust with....clothes hangers. Yep.).

I figured she needed LOVE and not more abandonment. This was especially true when I did the VIN code and found out that she's an original Emberglo with a black interior which as I understand is a relatively uncommon color (and beautiful to boot). While not a Shelby or something rare, I have a VERY soft spot for Emberglo cars just because you hardly ever see them.

So I decided to do this thread, to keep you guys up to date with all the stuff I am doing to her. It will also keep me motivated to have someone to "report" to with regards to my pony. :)

I have had her since September 2011 so I feel like I've done quite a fair amount since then considering I have two jobs and I'm in school to get my degree (over a decade after I graduated highschool...better late than never).

So here is what I've done so far, both small and large:

Body/Trim: Original good condition grill with original refurbished pony and corral taken from a donor car installed. New side scoop chrome trim purchased but not installed yet (waiting to do paint before I start swapping all the emblems).

Engine - new battery, new positive and negative battery cables, carb tune, full oil change, brand new spark plugs, new radiator cap, new oil breather cap, properly hooked up PCV. Swapped mechanical voltage regulator to electronic voltage regulator.

Lights/Wiring- New brake and turn signal wiring (was totally absent before), new turn signal bulbs and plastic w/ seals up front, new turn signal bushings, new factory correct horns and horn wires (absent before), new headlight high/low foot pedal switch, purchased new headlight on/off switch but have not installed yet (should be installed within a few weeks).

Interior: New guide wires on steering column, replacement steering column taken from donor car, new clutch support arm, new bushings on gas brake and clutch pedals, fully rebuilt parking brake with combination of new and donor parts (was absent before), new rear view mirror. Premium woodgrain gauge cluster (new bezel/lens, original gauges) purchased but not installed yet (should be in a week or two), also purchasing a woodgrain glove box door to begin slow transformation to a pony interior. Door lock mechanisms totally rebuilt (they had been put together with wire hangers....sigh..and apparently I may rebuild them AGAIN again to have knobs lol), window tracks were cleaned and lubed. And I even bought a replacement 1966 owners manual (a new reprint one, though I have plans to locate an original at some point).

My plans, in no particular order:
-Replace the 289 with a reman or a crate engine, likely another 289 or a 302 or something. Haven't made my mind up on that one but I simply do not have the time to break down the full engine and do a rebuild much as I would love to.
-Replace radiator with aluminum. Add fanshroud.
-Rebuild the original 4-speed toploader.
-Convert interior to pony interior.
-Consider converting lap belts to shoulder and lap belt system.
-Repair small (quarter size) rust patches on rear quarter panels above wheel well (you know the spot)
-Repaint back to original Emberglo (currently black).
-Replace all the emblems and gas cap, replace rocker panel molding.
-Replace wheels and tires with either Torque Thrusts or factory correct, not
sure which one yet.feel like correct would look better with Emberglo.
-Install air conditioning.
-Swap manual steering to power steering. Alternatively, replace original steering box with new flaming river box or similar without upgrading to power steering.
-Change drum brakes to disc at least in the front, upgrade master cylinder to dual master.
-Few more things I'll think of when I remember.

My intentions:
I don't intend to have a concours car or something that is going to net amazing resale value. What I DO want is a comfortable, nice looking weekend cruiser that turns heads and might get a few tiny trophies in local shows. I'm not looking for a show winner but if I'm going to be restoring this baby I'm going to do it RIGHT and not cut corners like the previous owners did.

I know that I will likely never get my money back on this baby. But. I don't think that's what it's all about. I feel like losing a little bit of cash in the long run is a small thing compared to knowing that I breathed some new life into a car that was on her way to a slowly deteriorating death caused by nothing other than negligence of previous owners.

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This week it will go to my buddy who owns a shop. He is going to totally disassemble and rebuild the toploader. We've got all the gaskets we need to replace it and he's going to check everything inside to make sure everything syncs up properly and no worn parts need to be replaced. While it's there he will also be swapping out the gauges for me and gauge cluster, as well as the headlight switch (no more blinking lights, hopefully...made driving it at night the one time I got caught out a little scary lol).
This is 2012, post some pictures. :thumbsup:
I will take a few when the weather gets nicer and once I'm back in town from vacation (which is when my buddy is doing all the trans work for me). :)
This is 2012, post some pictures. :thumbsup:

Holy three year old post Batman:shocked:!
I agree. Words are great, but picture speak volumes...:)
Holy three year old post Batman:shocked:!
I think you're looking at his join date, not the post date. :)
Since your car has a solid body, you should feel lucky. Rust repair and body work is the most expensive part of restoring a car. Love that you are going back to Emberglow. Agree it is one awesome color.

Hve you thought about adding relays to the headlight wiring? Will be a good upgrade if you have your original 40+ year old headlight wiring harness. Just a thought.

Also, keep in mind these days, you cant look at them as an investment. You'll rarely (if ever) get all the time and money back out of it. So just have fun and pride in your restoration and bask in it!
Since your car has a solid body, you should feel lucky. Rust repair and body work is the most expensive part of restoring a car. Love that you are going back to Emberglow. Agree it is one awesome color.

Hve you thought about adding relays to the headlight wiring? Will be a good upgrade if you have your original 40+ year old headlight wiring harness. Just a thought.

Also, keep in mind these days, you cant look at them as an investment. You'll rarely (if ever) get all the time and money back out of it. So just have fun and pride in your restoration and bask in it!
Thanks :) I like emberglo. It is very neat and all I see these days are black, red, and the occasional yellow. I rarely see anything else. Nothing wrong with black/red/yellow but I do like the more unusual colors (yes, even lime gold) a lot more. Hopefully the rust repair that IS necessary won't cost me too much.

I had not. I do not know if the wiring is original or not. I do know that the headlights go on without a hitch as do the gauges, but they all tend to flicker on and off after a few minutes. I've replaced the high/low switch and the voltage regulator, which leaves me to think that the likely remaining culprit is the headlight switch (which I purchased a new one of and should install in the next week or two). I suppose I should check the wiring too.

Oh I totally get that I will likely not be getting my money back, if ever. It took me a little bit to acknowledge that fact but once I did everything became much clearer to me that I shouldn't look at it as a burden that was dropped on me unfairly (although it was, and I should punch the guy) but rather a chance to do right by an old car who needs some love. :)

Ordered a 1965-1966 battery hold down conversion kit today from VCM btw, should be here tomorrow or maybe thursday. That way I can get rid of that crummy elastic band holding in my battery lol. :)

Pics will probably be a little bit coming though I'll try to snap some quick ones with my phone or something soon. She isn't a basket case by any means but she has a long way to go...half of my work is undoing the mickey mouse crap that the owner before me did (cut a buncha corners to save time/money/etc).
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Got a few pics today real quick before the rain rolled in. Took her for a short spin today and replaced the filler tube gasket and gas cap gasket. Seems to have made her run I just imagining this? Maybe lol.

Please..ignore the rims. I know they don't look great on the car but they're what I've got at the moment. I'd rather sink my cash into the engine and functioning portions first before buying correct rims. :)

Also...anyone have any idea what the deal is with the vinyl looking thing down at the base of the car on the side? Just above the rocker panel trim. Those aren't original are they?
Wow I actually like the looks of your car! I think those wheels look good on it. Rears need about 1/2" spacer to move them out a bit. I'd keep em! But I do like the more modern mods over the old school look. Still love the old school cars, but love the restomod look.

That vinyl looks like an attempt at some kind of rock protection for the paint. Not really necessary IMHO.

Are you gonna keep the bolt on scoop? Looks good on the car, but that gap at the rear of it kinda ruins it I think.
Actually there is no just looks like that in the picture bc of how the light was. If you like the wheels ill sell them to you ;) i get why people like them but i prefer the oldschool look
Dropped her off today at my buddy's for her trans rebuild. I'll pick her up when I get back into town in about two weeks...either that or I'll leave her there to have a new engine popped in. lol. :)

And to think...some people get away with just spending ten grand and have a restored well working mustang. /rolleyes
Trans rebuild went great, although it was more expensive than we thought it was gonna be due to the condition of some of the parts in there. you shoulda seen it...had some mighty chewed up stuff.

The transmission is much tighter now and has four distinct shifts, rather than me going "Uh...wonder if I'm in neutral right now or not...". Hurst shifter on the way from a kind fellow VMFer to replace my stock shifter which is just sloppy and beat to crap, that should be installed soon.

also installed woodgrain bezel around new gauges, as well as woodgrain glove box door. The dash pad is still warped to hell but that's kinda low on my priorities given that it's 200 bucks I'd rather drop on a new radiator.

Pics tomorrow.

Speaking of radiator, trying to figure out which to get...Summit Direct fit, American Eagle two row, or Champion three row. decisions, decisions. Picked up a new thermostat (180 deg) and a new thermostat housing from Virginia Classic Mustang to install while I'm taking the old radiator out. Thinking about putting a tefba in there too, but they're pricy.
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Northern aluminum radiator. Reasonable, quality construction, and cooling is superb.
Thanks Red66.

That's what I went with...ended up with the two row summit direct fit. It showed up yesterday and other than some bent fins which I plan to straighten out, it looks great.

Installation of it, new thermostat housing, new thermostat and a Tefba should happen tomorrow.
Hurst shifter showed up and I plan to have that installed in the next few weeks.
New thermostat, thermostat housing, new radiator, new hoses and clamps, and tefba filter all installed today. Pics tomorrow, test run on Sunday :)
I think you're looking at his join date, not the post date. :)

Holy three year old post Batman:shocked:!
Wife,........."You drove how far for that thing?"
Daughter,..."Theres no inside and it stinks."
Friend,......."Dude, thats a rusted piece of sheet."
Son,.........."This old car is cool."

USMC Security Forces, Kamiseya Japan, 0311

Gotta lay off the crack pipe,..good eyes.:thumbsup:
Get new wheels asap, i personally like 17x8 with 4.75-4.71 backspace but always wanted to try a 17x9 5.5" bs wheel on rear of 65-66 with 255/40/17, look into coys wheels, b/g rod works old school, showwheels streeter and if course american racing. 15x7 mag 500 or styled steel wheels are cool but not as cool as a 17" 5 spoke wheel.
No I want magnum 500 or ss wheels. No oversized stuff for me.
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