One Man and His Mustang – Interview Part 1

So, let me introduce Mart, owner of Onemanandhismustang.

Throughout this article, I have linked back to specific articles for you to see what he was talking about. Mart did a tremendous job with this restoration project and it should give others some encouragement. The articles and videos I link back to are Mart’s, but, I feel that this interview/article would be less that amazing without his original articles for you to view.

What type of vehicle are we going to go over today?

1966 Ford Mustang Coupe, purchased on September 17, 2011, for Less than £4,000 (just). (About $4800, for those under the American dollar)

Are you the first owner, or, do you know of the first owner, or prior owner?

Prior to me buying the car there was 1 previous owner who abandoned the idea.

Is there a reason for this particular vehicle?

In my late teens I had a friendly mechanic who used to look after my cars for warranty purposes. He used to phone me when anything good came in to his workshop. mainpicOne day he called me to say that he had a 1966 Mustang convertible that was going to get a full restore and paint job. I rushed over there and talked him into taking me out in it. When he started it up I was hooked on that v8 sound and the way it turned heads wherever we went on that sunny day. I had never forgotten how that car made me feel when I got to drive it back to the workshop, I still smile thinking about it. Although I like the Convertibles, I just wanted a Coupe as I prefer their shape over the fastback and convertible.

So, what about you, give me some backstory. Are you a mechanic, do you like to fabricate, are you really good at body work, etc.

I have always tinkered around with cars, the usual normal service type stuff, but nothing major until my wife bought me my project car.

(OK, did you hear that? HIS WIFE bought him his project car! Woo Hoo! Way to go Mrs. Mart!)

I was in the print trade for 14 years then I ended up as a Business Analyst in an office job somehow.

I would rather be working with my hands mechanically to be honest; I really don’t like desk jobs.

OK, so, let’s get some info about the vehicle prior to starting it. (i.e., condition, missing parts, just needed paint, no engine, etc.)

(Click here to see what it looked like on the day it arrived.)

The car was oprior-to-restorationwned by a US Air force service man from RAF Lakenheath. When he was stationed back to the USA, he sold the car to the guy who wanted to freshen it up with a restore.

The car failed its MOT (Ministry of Transport) for steering play and the track rods, shocks handbrake etc. not working or rubber gaiters were missing.


Original Wiring

That owner had wrapped tin foil around the lighting fuse and caused a small fire under the dash that ruined the loom by making it brittle and fused together. No working locks and there was no under dash or engine bay wiring now, except for it being in a huge messy heap in the trunk. The neutral safety disconnect wires were joined together by a metal nail.

The replacement floor pans were welded in quite badly, but looked new(ish) and quite solid with no rust, probably due to the under floor sealer. From there it sat in a field for 11 years, then he sold it on to a dealer who had it for a few days before I bought it.

The car was a seized up non roller wreck really. The rear quarters and inner wheel arches were rusted through. The doors and trunk didn’t shut properly.  The wiper motor and heating connections under the dash were either cut or melted together. There were no cables to the engine bay what so ever. The front had a partially fitting broken grill, the headlight buckets were broken and all hard were missing. The pony coral was there, all be it, broken, headlights and indicators missing from the front. The glass was all original green tints for the aircon option. The center console option was there, but broken. The aircon blower under dash was there, but the under hood pump, evaporator and its various pipework were missing apart from the brackets. The dash had been badly butchered to take a modern radio, the front kick panels were missing, dash switches missing. The steering wheel was replaced with a modern foam tacky small diameter version looking totally out of place. The single pipe exhaust was missing. Most of the engine was there as was the c4 transmission; the coolant lines to the radiator at the front had been cut in various places and pushed together with rubber pipe. The radiator was missing although there was a new one was in the trunk. The car was still on drum brakes all round, the front brake pipes weren’t connected. The hand brake fittings under the car were missing and not connected to anything under the dash. The rear brake splitter on the axle was missing and the pipes to it were just hanging there. All the drum brakes had gone seriously rusty and the cylinders had leaked all over the shoes. The rear suspension had all but collapsed, the rear springs were sagging and was compensated with pumped up air shocks that was only working on one side. The interior had been recovered at some point with 70’s blue velour with nasty buttons which was torn. The inner seat frames at the back were all rusty from sitting in the wet. The dash pad was missing although the five gauge dash was there with the trim which had been cracked and the chrome had come off, none of the gauges worked. Some of the carpet was at the front, the rear section was missing. The fuel tank was rusty and looked like a cheap recent(ish) replacement at some point. The rear parcel shelf was missing. The driver’s seat frame had collapsed and needed welding. The A frame passenger side had a hole in it just above the top hinge mount. The multi colored paint was faded and peeling badly, ohh the gas cap was the wrong year. It was obviously missing water oil and brake fluid, and above all missing an owner that was going to care for this little lady.

So, what, if any, work have you done, or had done to this point?

I have completed the full bare metal, nut and bolt restoration.

I started by wiring the car up to see if it would start. It did after a couple of attempts to turn it over with some fuel, oil and water added.

I rust treated the inside of the floor pans. I started to order up some parts from various places who were worse than useless until I got friendly with the guys at Mustang Maniac for all my parts. Adam invited the car’s progress down to his yard for a full look over. It was picked up on a low loader and taken to his yard where it was put up onto a ramp. After what seemed like a long pause, he gave the verdict, “best we start again”. With that the car stayed there for 4 years where I worked on it every weekend with a 120mile round trip. The car was taken to a spare body panel workshop where I unwired the car, stripped the inside out and removed all the glass, the engine, gearbox, suspensions, in fact everything was taken of the car and the shell was mounted onto a rotisserie. From there I spent months scrapping and removing the old underseal etc. to get back to the bare metal. Once we knew what was under the sealers we could see what was actually needed. I got the car cleaned up and temporarily protected. The front chassis legs were all damaged and bent. The rear chassis legs were corroded and needed replacement as per the last MOT. The floor pans were ground down and filled. The shell was taken of the rotisserie and mounted to the jig where the chassis was fitted with new legs on the front. The engine bay and inner wings were rubbed down and checked for weak metal. The bits that were Ok were then painted with red lead. The underside was also red lead treated as per the original car builds from the factory. The rear of the car was effectively taken off. The rear quarters were unwelded, the rear drop off cut away and the rear chassis legs replaced. The car was rebuilt with all new metal at the rear and the inner and outer arches. While the car was basically half a shell anything that could be releaded got a coating of it, even if wasn’t going to be seen. The upper and lower cowl section was removed and replaced as the old one had gone week and rusted through underneath. The car was taken back to bare metal topside. The passenger door had been heavily filled, with the filler removed it was obvious that the car had a prang or fender bender on the door. The old school method of pulling the dent out could be seen, the metal was to stretched to repair so it needed a new door as the rails inside were all bent. With the back of the car being rebuilt it was sent off for paint in last couple of months of 2014. During that time the engine was taken apart, tested, painted and new parts and the replacement Holley 600cfm carb fitted to the shot blasted ’67 intake manifold. The tri y 3″ headers were aluminum coated in white. The engine was rubbed down and painted in Ford blue engine enamel. New sump pan, core plugs, oil sump pick up, seals and gaskets. The gearbox was taken apart and checked, filters, seals and valves changed, the missing pressure release ball replaced, then all rubbed down and sprayed. During the week and weekends I took all the parts back home I could to clean up as “home work”, things such as the brake disc backs, center console, seat frames, steering rack, suspension components, prop shaft, the gauge dash fully rebuilt with voltmeter upgrade, fitting brackets, heater plenum rebuild, glass chrome work refurbishment, gear shift linkages, all the original nuts and bolts etc. I think you get the idea anyway. If it came off the car, it was cleaned, checked, refitted or replaced. All the parts were rubbed down rust treated and sprayed where they could be reused. The car came back mid-December where the car was stored in different shed for me to work on it out of the way. The front suspension was upgraded to discs, split brake booster reservoir, 1″ sway bar, quality shocks, Shelby drop springs rated at 600lbs to give the neutral body stance. Rear axle fitted with new leaf springs and shocks. With the running gear all in place the engine and gearbox was fitted. All brake lines remade along with the transmission lines. The inside had Dynamat stuck everywhere it could go. Rewiring started again with upgrades for the LED rear lights and white side lights /amber indicator flash. The rear has new stock lenses and bezels but instead of red bulbs showing I now have flashing amber, drive and separate stop lights, all to make it safer for other road users to make sure they see me! Dash pad and dash chrome fittings were fitted with the new two speed wiper motor. The electrics were wired up and feed through to the front lights, engine sensors, new 1 wire alternator and battery fittings.  All the glass was fitted to the doors but sadly the front screen was so scratched we decide to change it for safety reasons. The door shut mechanisms and locks were worn and needed replacing. The seats were sent to be refitted with the proper pony interior. The carpets were laid with the center console and wiring. The recovered seats had special door cards to match the seats, I like the look of the pony cards but the practical use, so my cards were made to match the two tone colors and look of the pony cards, but on a standard door card, I just love those cards. The steering wheel is a genuine polished wood 3 part riveted 15″ wheel. The exhaust was custom made to the headers. I didn’t want a balance cross pipe for the new twin exhausts. The theory being I would get a slightly uneven drone from the exhaust, a little something different again, I can have the cross pipe added at any time if I want it. Seats were all fitted and the rear shelf made to match the headliner. Then it was for a couple of hundred miles road testing, adjusting, and settling down.

OK, so, that is it for Part 1, the interview with Mart. I have tried to add links to his page so you can see what he is talking about and see with your own eyes. I hope you have enjoyed this and come back for Part 2, where we see where he took it and get some behind the scenes stories straight from him.

To continue reading the rest of the story, Here is Part 2

If you want to see the pictures of the full restore, start to finish, click here.

13 replies »

  1. Well worth a read for anyone with a classic Mustang or indeed any classic. Marts gone to great detail on all aspects of the rebuild.

  2. So many fail to realize the amount of time and resources it takes to fully restore an automobile. And how quickly the price of all the little parts add up.
    And this is why there are so many “projects” listed for sale.
    Glad he didn’t give up the daunting task of bringing it back to its formal glory.

    • I’m glad he didn’t either. I meet a lot of people who say they want a project car, but, when you talk with them, they would never have time or money to finish it. That is a shame, though, right now, I am probably in that category. Someday, I will have time, not sure if I will ever have enough money. 🙂

  3. Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but
    after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr…
    well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyhow,
    just wanted to say great blog!

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