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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,
My name is Preston. I'm looking to buy a first gen Mustang in the sub 25k range. It's a car I plan to daily so reliability is my biggest concern. I've found a 65 Coupe with a brand new blueprint engine. Would this improve reliability? Aside from that, what else should I look out for when looking for one. This is my first time using a forum, so I apologize if I commit any major faux-pas. Thank you all! I'm eager to join the Mustang community.
 

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Spammer Hammer
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You should know how to do the majority of the work that will be required yourself. Otherwise, you will be upside down faster than you can say the word Mustang.
 

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I sound like an old man, but 16 is too young, think money pit.

Welcome to the board, others may think differently.
 

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Spammer Hammer
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There is no such thing as reduced maintenance with any vehicle, classic or new. Has said $25K car been thoroughly inspected for rust? How much research have you done relative to classic Mustang pitfalls? How familiar are your parents with these cars and what is required to use them as a DD? I’m not trying to discourage you, but these are real concerns you need to be aware of.
 

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Dimples
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Don't let these guys scare you. It is entirely possible to daily drive a classic. You just have to have the right mentality, and that's for you to determine.

Old cars require love, and that's usually in the form of maintenance. Whether that's keeping a sharp eye on things, checking fluids, etc... or replacing things that break. If you have no plans to work on it yourself, I would advise getting a newer car. A trustworthy shop is a rare thing, and you don't want to have to depend on their time frame. Your biggest enemy is likely going to be the previous owner. They often do weird things that cause headaches down the line.

Your budget is plenty good enough. Shop smart (check for rust!), and you should be able to find a great condition coupe for around $15K. That'll leave you with plenty of spare to deal with the things that can and will go wrong. If I were you, I would focus on cars that have been built with an eye toward daily drivability. For instance, don't start with a car that still has a single pot brake master cylinder. Look for those that have already been upgraded to a dual reservoir unit. Front disc brakes would be a good thing to focus on too.

If the coupe you're looking at is listed, send me a message with a link and I'll look at it and give you my opinion.
 

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It's not just the engines that can wear out...it's all of the suspension components and rust that can cause leaks when it rains.

The cowls are notoriously bad on these cars (and you can't see how bad until you see water leaking in), so one test you can do is pour water into the vents behind the hood. Put a hose to it or a gallon of water and look in the car to see if water is leaking in. That's a lot of work to fix.

How old is the transmission in the car? How does it shift and feel?

How do the brakes feel? Are they stock drums all around or upgraded to discs?

Bottom corners of the doors and the quarter panels can rust out too.

Have you looked into insurance yet? Make sure you do...some companies won't insure a classic car if you're under 25. That could just be a rule for some cars, but it's worth calling your agent to make sure.

Get the car up on a lift if you can and have the suspension parts checked out. Some of those parts aren't hard to fix...just takes money to buy the new parts and time to swap them out.

$25k should buy you a near mint condition coupe...and not one that just looks mint. Would probably get you an OK, but not mint driver fastback too.
 

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Spammer Hammer
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Neither of us is trying to scare him. However, if he is not educated in the matter it will be disastrous for him and his parents. I purchased my ‘65 Fastback at 16 and drove it everyday through high school and part of college. I still own it at 50. It takes a LOT of work to do so. He needs to be aware of the pitfalls. They are real.
 

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Dimples
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Neither of us is trying to scare him. However, if he is not educated in the matter it will be disastrous for him and his parents. I purchased my ‘65 Fastback at 16 and drove it everyday through high school and part of college. I still own it at 50. It takes a LOT of work to do so. He needs to be aware of the pitfalls. They are real.
Absolutely agreed. I wasn't trying to take a counter point necessarily, but rather, cut off the "just get a 15 year old Civic" posts that always come out in these types of threads. I too daily drove a 65 in high school and college. It was hard. I wouldn't change a thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
There is no such thing as reduced maintenance with any vehicle, classic or new. Has said $25K car been thoroughly inspected for rust? How much research have you done relative to classic Mustang pitfalls? How familiar are your parents with these cars and what is required to use them as a DD? I’m not trying to discourage you, but these are real concerns you need to be aware of.
Fair enough. Maintenance is definitely my biggest concern. I believe the car I'm looking at has been inspected for rust, but I'll confirm that before I buy it. My parents aren't too familiar with older cars like these. I may come to find that it's going to need to be a weekend car until I build up a knowledge base. My concern more specifically with maintenance is the diagnostic side of it. I feel that I could perform most repairs If I knew what needed repairing, but I'm less confident in my ability to diagnose issues.
 

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Dimples
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Fair enough. Maintenance is definitely my biggest concern. I believe the car I'm looking at has been inspected for rust, but I'll confirm that before I buy it. My parents aren't too familiar with older cars like these. I may come to find that it's going to need to be a weekend car until I build up a knowledge base. My concern more specifically with maintenance is the diagnostic side of it. I feel that I could perform most repairs If I knew what needed repairing, but I'm less confident in my ability to diagnose issues.
These cars are simple, so diagnosis generally is too. Plus, we're happy to help with that. You have the internet at your finger tips, so you're way ahead of the game compared to most of us that had a greasy Chilton's manual to problem solve with. Also, driving a classic tends to attract like-minded people. Don't be surprised if you end up with new friends who have more experience. I've driven these cars for almost 30 years and I still lean on my grey beard hot rod buddies for some stuff. It's part of the fun.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
It’s still a 50 year car.
That's true. No way around that. I just figured that a newer engine would require less repair so long as I performed a good amount of preventative maintenance. Overall though I think you're still right in the sense that the most reliable 60s mustang isn't even going to come close to the least reliable car made today.
 

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As others have said, first thing is to go in with your eyes OPEN. Know that you're not going to make money on these cars in the long run. They have their quirks. They are going to likely fight you along the way but thats part of the journey. Take a good look at your own skillset and mentality. Are you reasonably mechanically inclined? Are you persistent? Do you frustrate easily?

Your budget is really good but you need to be smart on how you spend it. Forget about the mechanical condition for a moment; correcting rust is the biggest pain point on these cars. Take a good, LONG hard look at the car. Check under it. If the owner will let you, pour some water in the cowl and check under the dash. Look at the drop leaves. Look at the pans, torqueboxes, rails. Bring a magnet and check under the doors and the rear quarters. Minimal rust is the goal.

If its a hard top (c-code, not fastback or convertible), 25k is pretty darn high imo. I'd be looking at the mid-teens...(get it...i made a joke...cause your 16...its not funny if i explain it).

Mechanical stuff is 'easy' to figure out if you're good at googling and are willing to ask for help.
And again, realize this thing, no matter how good the quality, is going to be a money pit.
 

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Dimples
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That's true. No way around that. I just figured that a newer engine would require less repair so long as I performed a good amount of preventative maintenance. Overall though I think you're still right in the sense that the most reliable 60s mustang isn't even going to come close to the least reliable car made today.
It's a spectrum, really. I've known people with brand new cars that spent more time in the dealership service area than on the road. Cars are complicated machines in general. Older cars are less complicated, so that can be viewed as a good thing. Once sorted, I went years without having to do much but check fluids, change oil and put gas in it. Now that my car's restoration is over 10 years old, I'm starting to see little things fail, but it's easy to deal with relative to a car that was built new in 2009.
 

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Something else stuck with me from the original post that I wanted to add. When someone says 'blueprint engine', that means the engine was rebuilt and should have been provided a sheet with ALL the torque specs, weights, and measurements. BUT, if the builder doing the blueprinting sucks, it doesnt matter and the thing will still be a turd. I would find out who the builder was, get the spec sheets, etc.

...and you still have to contend with the carb, ignition system, probably bad wiring, and potentially worn out brakes / suspension

Oh yeah and rust sucks...i've built two of these buckets and both were terrible messes.
 

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Dimples
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Something else stuck with me from the original post that I wanted to add. When someone says 'blueprint engine', that means the engine was rebuilt and should have been provided a sheet with ALL the torque specs, weights, and measurements. BUT, if the builder doing the blueprinting sucks, it doesnt matter and the thing will still be a turd. I would find out who the builder was, get the spec sheets, etc.

Oh yeah and rust sucks...i've built two of these buckets and both were terrible messes.
"Blueprint" is also a brand of an engine builder. Just to add to the confusion, lol.
 
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