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A modernized 1967 Convertible

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Old 01-27-2013, 10:06 PM   #1
120mm
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Default A modernized 1967 Convertible

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.

Thanks!
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:42 PM   #2
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Check out my website. There are a lot of writeups on like minded mods... shoot me a note if I can help.
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:49 PM   #3
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Thanks. Am heading there now.

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Old 01-29-2013, 09:14 PM   #4
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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.
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:22 PM   #5
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The passenger side floor was sound and beautiful, despite obvious external corrosion. This makes me happy.

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The driver's side, however....

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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.

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It appears as if the moisture penetrated through here. Or at least that is my guess.

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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.

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Delusions of grandeur, here. There is nothing about a 200 c.i. inline six through a C4 that is either "Sports" or "Sprint."

But that's about to change, I think....
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Old 02-06-2013, 03:51 PM   #6
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That rust does not look bad. But if I have learned anything about rust it's that it's always bigger than it first appears. You got a good project. Good luck.
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Old 02-06-2013, 08:40 PM   #7
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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.
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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.

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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.

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Once I started grinding on the rusted area, all this came out on the passenger side floor.

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A few swipes with the grinder revealed good metal pretty quickly. Still need to learn how to steer the darned thing better.

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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.
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Old 02-10-2013, 11:06 AM   #8
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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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Old 02-11-2013, 11:32 PM   #9
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Good deal! Looks like you have a plan! Now start surfing craigslist for engine/trans!
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Old 02-12-2013, 12:09 AM   #10
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I like that idea. I would pass on the rack and pinion steering though. Take a look at what Opentracker offers for the original setup.
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Old 02-12-2013, 07:48 PM   #11
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Judging from the rust in the driver's floorboard, you need to crawl up under the driver's side dash and look at the bottom of the cowl around the fresh air vent. You've either got a leaking cowl, or a leaking windshield
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:31 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesW View Post
Judging from the rust in the driver's floorboard, you need to crawl up under the driver's side dash and look at the bottom of the cowl around the fresh air vent. You've either got a leaking cowl, or a leaking windshield
Will do that this evening. Several people Have commented on that.
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:33 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boogerschnot View Post
Good deal! Looks like you have a plan! Now start surfing craigslist for engine/trans!
Yes sir; I am on that daily. Lots of people love their crappy stuff, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tx65coupe View Post
I like that idea. I would pass on the rack and pinion steering though. Take a look at what Opentracker offers for the original setup.
I already have ordered a Unisteer unit. But these things can be resold. I will check out Opentracker, now.
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:45 PM   #14
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Click the image to open in full size.

Got a little package from CJ Pony, today. I normally fabricate my own sheet metal, but this was cheap, and the shipping was free.

Within minutes of the floor pan showing up, I got a nifty package from CSRP;

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Yes, Virginia, 67 Mustang I-6 spindles ARE the exact same thing as 67 Mustang V-8 spindles.

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If anyone advertises ANYTHING about 46 year old brakes as being easy; do me a favor. Punch them in the face. Getting to this fun was the opposite of fun.

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10 year old battery in, charged, and top came down like a champ.

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Sighs heavily... I knew I would find this. BTW, wire brush > angle grinder for blowing through rust.

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This was as expected. Need to start cutting, now.

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Just a little corrosion around the seat mounts.

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CSRP manual disc brake kit, all present and accounted for....

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Putting her to bed for the night. Need to go rust hunting tomorrow, as per JamesW's suggestion.
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Old 02-13-2013, 05:09 PM   #15
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So, it's tomorrow. I took a strong light and an inspection mirror to the cowl and under the dash.

I am not kidding you, the metal under there looks bright and new. Not even a trace of rust. I am almost 100% sure this car has never gone out in the rain, and have developed an alternate theory; the engine compartment looks suspiciously clean. I think this means that someone hit it with a high pressure washer at one time or another in its life after I gave it up. (I didn't have access to one when I owned it) And the water entered through the steering column, which shows some rust on the engine bay side, ran down the floor boards and pooled in the rust affected area.

Either way, I seriously doubt I have a leak. It's just too pretty under the dash for it to.

So... What is under the foot panel? I cannot see it from the firewall side. And I'm a bit askeered of just cutting the rust out without knowing what I'm going to hit on the other side.
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Old 02-13-2013, 05:14 PM   #16
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So, I am thinking out my next plan of action. I have everything I need to jazz up the entire front end. CSRP brake kit, Unisteer Rack and Pinion and a fairly decent idea on how to do the Shelby drop. If I buy a set of new shock absorbers from the local auto place, they will lend me spring compressors. I notice the rubber on the anti-sway bar is compressed and cracked; should I get that new as well? And while I'm at it, should I get a heftier anti-sway bar?

It seems to me that the Shelby drop will be easier once the old steering gear is removed and before installing the brakes. Weight of components removed should make it easier. What else is recommended to replace while I have it all apart?
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Old 02-13-2013, 05:21 PM   #17
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Quote:
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I like that idea. I would pass on the rack and pinion steering though. Take a look at what Opentracker offers for the original setup.
I did the research, and it really doesn't fit into what I am planning. The fact is, this car DOES have a nearly new steering set up. It only has 29,000 actual miles, and the suspension is tight. And I'm still not overly impressed with it. I put 28,000 of those miles on myself when I owned it the first time, and steering it was like working the tiller on a boat. I hope to get a bit more precise steering, and that's why I opted for R&P.
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Old 02-14-2013, 04:17 PM   #18
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Click the image to open in full size.

My wife thought this would be funny. Guess who's cutting floorboards?

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More goodness arrived in the lovely brown truck of joy.
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Old 03-05-2013, 09:06 PM   #19
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I've been killer busy at work, but I manage to spend about an hour a night on it, despite the broken rib. Today, another box from CJPony showed up with a pair of these, with brand new perches.

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The Scott Drake progressive springs are on the way, from a different warehouse, evidently. Question: With the Shelby drop, does one need to cut a half a coil of the progressives? If so, do you cut from the top or the bottom?

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This bit went on without a fuss.

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Unisteer all hooked up and alignment halfway straight.
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Old 03-05-2013, 09:45 PM   #20
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You don't want to cut progressive springs, but you shouldn't have to cut them with the drop. I did mine only because I wanted it as low as possible. However, my ride suffered and rode really rough.
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Old 03-05-2013, 09:45 PM
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