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I am currently researching what to do with my car. For those that haven't read my intro, I currently am looking at getting back my first car. I'm 49, and I bought this car at the age of 13. It's a 1967 Convertible, with an inline six.
The problem is, I was going to get a coupe and restomod it into a vintage racer; when my FIL heard of this, he decided I needed the convertible back, which he purchased from me in the 1990s when I was in bad economic straits. Because of this, and to keep peace with my wife's side of the family, I've decided to do what I can with what I have.
I know, I should be grateful that I am getting my first car back, and it's in really good shape, with some rust spots in the floorboards, but otherwise an extremely straight body. But it's not a coupe, and I am not impressed by the stiffness of the convertible and the lack of performance of the I-6.
So, I've spent the last few months doing research on what I can do to make this into a fun driver.
I want emphasize improved safety, handling and power, in that order of priority. I want the car to look as stock as possible from the outside, or at least be clean and unadorned with any fluff.
I've figured I can do this in phases, to ensure I don't get into the project too far over my head, but I have high hopes. My work includes a lot of travel overseas, but otherwise I live in my home office, so I don't really need a daily or practical driver, so this will be my "anytime there's not a snowstorm" car.
Phase I - Corrosion and Drive: Attack the corrosion issues, fix the front brake issues (it grabs to one side or the other), and figure out what is up with the carb. (multitude of issues when it was parked a couple years ago) And then drive it for awhile. It's still a nice car for cruising, after all.
Phase II - Modernize: Replace front end with new unit (like TCI), disc brakes, manual rack and pinion, swap in 5.0 L carb engine and AOD/5 speed, new rear end (8 inch), and unitize the frame front to back with mid-frame rail connectors.
Phase III - Stiffening: Eliminate rear seat, install additional body stiffening (6-8 point roll bar?) primarily to stiffen the frame, secondarily to install 3-5 point seatbelts with high quality high backed seats to protect mine and my lovely bride's noggin' from crushing on the roll bar. (I am willing to accept the annoyance factor of "stepping into" the car once the doors are opened for the additional stiffness of the 6 point.)
Phase IV - Additional performance: Build the engine for performance (if I even care by then.) Install Independent Rear Suspension. (Finances dependent, I am wondering if I should do this in Phase II?)
I want straightforwardness and high quality in a car. And I plan on taking my time so that I can do it right. While I've been doing some looking around, I haven't found a whole bunch of built Mustang convertibles that haven't been "Cobra'd" out. This car will have manual steering, no a/c, but I am debating power brakes.
I'm looking forward to comments and suggestions within the parameters I've set forth. Or honest criticism of those parameters. Specifically, I am making an assumption that just replacing the front end completely has better return on investment than just improving everything as it is.
I have to say that my engine choice is not that important to me. Can someone make a cogent case for one choice over another? I was thinking 5.0 out of a running Mustang or Explorer would be fine.
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Interesting site. There is lots there to chew over. Two things concerned me about the convertible; upgrading seatbelts and stiffening the chassis.
I've decided to get the tin man sub-frame connectors for sure, but am chewing over building an ersatz 6-8 point roll bar. The bar itself would only rise to shoulder level in order to serve as an anchor point for a 3-5 point harness and seat, but would extend fore and aft to provide further stiffening for the chassis.
I've welded up fuselages for Piper Super Cubs and that is how they provide crashworthy seats. And I think I could do it without "uglifying" the car.
Well, I've received the car, and am busy going through it. One of the first thing I did was to call my work partner and best friend, who taunted me. (She drives a BMW 135i) While she is normally a charming person, and I trust her (literally) with my life on the job, I now am motivated to turn this underpowered, "stiff as an overcooked noodle" road wandering, brake grabbing death machine into something that can at least be not embarrassed completely by her rocket skate.
I've driven this machine, so I know I am asking the near impossible, but I cannot stand being taunted by a BMW owner. So, against my own good judgement, my journey to turn a '67 200 c.i. Mustang convertible into a Barchetta has begun.
In my first survey, I'd noticed a lot of external corrosion in the form of rust, so the very first thing I did was to pull up the carpet.
Removing these panels was easy; the driver's side one was only held on with two screws. The rest had dissimilarly corroded away. Not a good start for such a good looking car.
The amazing thing is, this carpet looked absolutely beautiful in the car, shaded by the dash. Pull it out and it looked like this. And disintegrated when touched, esp. on the driver's side.
The passenger side floor was sound and beautiful, despite obvious external corrosion. This makes me happy.
The driver's side, however....
Not visible, is rust throughs along the floor behind the pedals.
It appears as if the rust is confined to what we see here. This is good news, indeed. These are fixes I think I can manage myself.
It appears as if the moisture penetrated through here. Or at least that is my guess.
The funny thing about working on low mileage, "virgin" cars; you find the strangest things. Someone dropped a stud at the factory, and it was riding up where the bumper bolts to the frame. The only thing keeping it there was gravity and the fact that this car has never been driven much or very hard. It is, in effect, a brand new car, only it's 46 years old.
Delusions of grandeur, here. There is nothing about a 200 c.i. inline six through a C4 that is either "Sports" or "Sprint."
You are right about the rust. I found some more working on it to night, on the passenger side. I ran an angle grinder for the first time tonight. A little 4.5 inch Wal-Mart Black and Decker job, that really pointed out that running an angle grinder is an acquired skill. A note: I know how to work with metal, but my skill is aviation-based. Using an angle grinder in an aviation shop will get you kicked out of the industry in a hurry. Angle grinders are seen as a way to heat up metal, kill (or create) hardness and hasten corrosion, but I've seen so many car guys use angle grinders that I said what the hey, let me try it. The other thing is, most of the weld strength is in the bead and an aviation welder would look at you like you were insane if they saw you grinding a bead off a weld. But I digress.
Here are the pics from tonight's work.
It's amazing how much time it takes to safely raise and level a small car using only a floor jack and four jackstands. But now it is up.
Surprise!!! More rust. But luckily, use of an angle grinder revealed it hadn't penetrated the floor ribs or the subframe rail. I am thinking I can fabricate a 9" x 3" patch, and weld it in, without replacing the floor panel entirely.
Once I started grinding on the rusted area, all this came out on the passenger side floor.
A few swipes with the grinder revealed good metal pretty quickly. Still need to learn how to steer the darned thing better.
The full extent of the rust, at least until I start cutting into the panel.
Tomorrow night I am going to remove the rest of the seats and the interior. And work more on removing rust where I find it.
Well, my plans have coalesced into something more concrete. Surfing this and other forums, as well as PMs from members here have convinced me to readjust my phases of reconstruction as well as my end goals.
My end goal now, is to recreate, in general, the driving experience of a 1967 era FIA mustang (more or less) within my budget of $7500.
It will have 300 Horsepowers small block V8, (more or less) Front discs, rear drums on an 8 inch rear end, Shelby drop, rack and pinion steering and the least expensive wheels with the highest quality tire I can afford.
To this end, I have purchased a CSRP 5 lug front disc conversion kit and a Unisteer rack and pinion conversion kit. I am also looking at the convertible torque boxes and wondering why it wouldn't make more sense to fabricate my own subframe connectors, rather than trying to get a TM set to somehow fit int here. The torque boxes come so darned close to really tying the subframe connectors anyway, I am wondering why not.
Once the Shelby drop, disc brake conversion and rack and pinion are complete, I will just drive it as a six cylinder for awhile. I plan on taking my time getting the engine swap "just right".
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