Category Archives: design




There are certainly times when every shade tree mechanic could use a big commercial lift. It sure was on my wish list as I crawled around under the mustang trying to install the new dual exhaust. I just can’t help wondering how much easier it would have been with the car more than 2 feet off the floor.


Anyway, I had the parts for the new dual exhaust and the job had to be done. The old exhaust came off without too much trouble. I wanted to paint the new kit but first it needed to be test fitted and marked.


I started with the H-pipe naturally since it bolts up to the stock manifolds. Yes, I still have the factory cast iron manifolds. Why, you may ask. Because you don’t need headers unless you’re building an engine with all the power in the upper RPM range. For a little street V8 the stock headers are fine and they give you nice low end torque. So, no need for headers on a 225 HP 289 v8.

You might also be wondering why I didn’t paint the pipes first and then install them. Firstly because I wanted to weld all the connections and I hate having to try to sand off the paint to get a good weld and secondly I wasn’t sure how much modification I would have to do to this kit. So I test fitted and marked all the pipes before painting them.


Then the connector pipes were fitted and marked.


Then the mufflers and tailpipes were fitted. Then it was all removed for painting.


Above is the exhaust kit being painted with high temperature paint. Stainless pipes would have been nice but they were just too pricey. After the paint dried I put everything back on the car and clamped it up and took it for a test drive. It sounded good and everything seemed to be in place.

Overall the exhaust kit fit very well and the only problem with it was that the tail pipes were a bit too short for the stainless tips I was using.


I had to weld some extensions on to bring the tips out far enough. No big deal, just a little more time crawling around under the car. I also welded up the other joints to eliminate leaks.


The exhaust looks nice and sounds nice. Although after a test drive the tail pipes shifted just a bit so I will have to go back and sort that out to keep the tips centered up.





OK. So the mustang was way past due for a new front suspension. I figured it would be a good project and maybe I would learn a thing or two in the process. I did learn a thing or two. First, not one minute of the project was easy. Second, not one minute of the project was fun. It was just plain hard, hot, tiring work all the way through from the first bolt to the last. Fun times you bet.

So I don’t have a lot of pictures of the process but there are a few.


I bought a suspension kit that included new upper and lower control arms, tie rods, and bushings for sway bar and torsion bars. Naturally I couldn’t leave them stock so I prepped and painted them to match the car. I also painted the valve covers while I had the paint out.


Everything turned out nice and shiny as planned. So far so good.


I put the valve covers back on and it looks a little better under the hood although there is still much clean up to do.


The next step was to pressure wash the grime off the underside of the car. This was a nasty job indeed.


This is where the grime went after it came off the car. No fun at all.

After cleaning the car and then myself it was time to remove the worn out suspension components.


Above is the “before” picture featuring the worn out stuff. Removing the old parts was just difficult, hot, and tiring. I had a picture with the parts removed but now I can’t find it so you’ll just have to use your imagination on that bit.

So after the parts were removed I cleaned up rusty stuff, painted stuff, and then put a bunch of shiny new parts on. It was a pain and hot and tiring. I did not enjoy it but I did it.

assembled1 assembled2Installed

Above are a few poor photos of the new suspension components. Sorry about the poor quality here but it was hot and I was tired and really in no mood for crawling around on the garage floor any longer. Anyway, the suspension is on and the ride quality is much better although there is a shake which may be a wheel out of balance (I hope). I’m going to mess with the alignment a bit before I take it somewhere and get the wheels balanced and then it’s on to the next fun project – new dual exhaust.



OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI cleaned up the spindle and control arm and stuff and gave it a little spray paint. It doesn’t look great but it looks better than rust. Hopefully in the future it will all be replaced with new performance parts.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe backing plates cleaned up nicely.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere is the brake assembly with new wheel cylinder. It turned out to be much easier than I had anticipated. I guess I’ve done these old drum style brakes so many times it’s just second nature now.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnce again, it looks better than rust.

So after getting the front brakes finished and replacing a coupling in the brake line the car was finally safe to drive. So I drove it. It ran stinky and it overheated again. So I ordered a new aluminum radiator.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI like the new radiator. It’s shiny.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd it cools much better. It hasn’t overheated yet but it does start to get hot after idling for a while so I ordered a fan shroud. I’ve been driving the car around for a couple of days and sorting out little things. I spent a couple hours yesterday welding the leaks in the exhaust system. I got it pretty well sealed up but the mufflers are junk so it’s still too loud. The vacuum advance is still not working right but I’ve decided to replace the entire distributor and coil and put in an electronic ignition. That will probably be my project for next month. But right it it’s drivable and that’s a good thing. So enjoy a few pictures of the road ready mustang.






OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGetting this thing back on the road has been a little more challenging than I expected. After all, I drove it home 60 miles when I purchased it. Now I can’t get it out of the driveway and into the street.

When I last posted the car needed a water pump and I thought it might have a blown head gasket. I put a new water pump on and the overheating seems to be under control although I still want to put an electric fan in front of the radiator to help at idle. I’m also happy to report there is no blown head gasket. After a bit of tinkering I was able to diagnose the engine problem as a faulty carb.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnce I made the diagnosis I decided to take it off and dissect it. As you can see it had a bad case of the cruds. Rather that spend more time and money on this old carb I decided to get a new one. I got the Holley 650 with electric choke. I hope it’ll get a little better gas mileage than the old one. (I wasn’t even sure what size the old one was)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASince the carb was off I thought it would be a good time to clean up the old intake. After a little cleaning and some paint it looks like new.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is the new Holley 650 installed. Putting on a new carb solved the horrible running condition but there was still a problem with the vacuum advance. I checked the timing and wanted to adjust it but wouldn’t you know, the distributor was all frozen up in the block. It took a week of soaking in PB Blaster to get it loose. I was able to get the timing adjusted right but the vacuum advance is still causing a problem. As soon as the timing starts advancing with the vacuum advance it looses power and dies. I put the timing light on it to watch as the timing changed and at a certain point the power cuts off and the timing light goes dead and the engine dies until the advance decreases. Weird huh? I checked the plate in the distributor and all the point wires and everything looks normal. I disconnected the vacuum advance and it runs fine. I’ll just run it without vacuum advance until I can get it figured out.

Since the engine was running fairly decent again I thought we were ready for a little cruise. Caroline and I jumped in the car but we didn’t get far. We didn’t even make it out of the driveway. The brake pedal got mushy and I could barely stop the car at an idle. So back in the garage it went.

It had the old single bowl master cylinder which was so rusty I couldn’t even get the lid off to check the fluid level. I decided to order a new dual bowl master cylinder. Those things aren’t cheap anymore like they used to be. Anyway, it came in and I put it on and guess what? Still no brakes. So I pulled off the front drums to check the wheel cylinders.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAbove is the culprit. I pulled the rubber boot and rusty brake fluid poured out. So I have some wheel cylinders on order. Since this is going to be another whole project I thought I might as well restore everything.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese old parts cleaned up OK. No need to buy a new hardware kit.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese cleaned up good too. The brake shoes look almost new.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese are in progress.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd this still needs to be cleaned and painted. Maybe it will make it out of the driveway by Christmas.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe good news is the car is pretty much put back together. I got the interior put together and the wiring under the dash cleaned up. The front bumper is bolted on and the lights and turn signals are all working and that’s all good. I spent a long hot Sunday afternoon fitting the trunk lid and trimming the new weatherstripping to fit. Not sure yet if it will keep the water out but it finally closes correctly.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI dragged out the old tail pipes and cleaned them up and installed them along with the new stainless steel tips.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo it all looks great and appears ready for a cruise.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow for the bad. Caroline and I took it out for a short drive around the block and it ran horrible. The engine was missing pretty bad and it over heated before we could get around the block. Now that I finally have gauges in it I can see how hot it’s getting. So based on what I now see on my temperature gauge I know that the car was overheating a few weeks ago when I had it idling out in the driveway. Ever since then it hasn’t been running well at all.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo the first thing I did was try to figure out the overheating problem. I removed the old thermostat and it was really crusty. After testing it I discovered it wasn’t opening until the water temp was over 200. I got a new thermostat and put it in and the engine lasted a little longer before overheating. There was a little noise coming from the water pump so I figured it was most likely finished as well. I removed the water pump and found the impeller spinning independently of the shaft and then it fell off completely. I wasn’t surprised. I picked up a new water pump so that problem will be solved soon.

Next I thought I’d look into the engine miss. First I opened up the distributor and checked out the vacuum advance. It was toast. I put a new one on and cleaned up everything in the distributor and gapped the points but I didn’t really think that was going to solve the problem. It didn’t. My suspicion is that when it was out in the driveway a few weeks ago overheating that it blew a head gasket between a couple of cylinders. Before I go get a compression test kit I’ll check for vacuum leaks around the intake and the carb but I really think it’s a head gasket. So that’s where we are right now.







HeaderAnother super busy weekend has reaped a few rewards. I’ve had a couple of projects that have been hanging over my head for a while so I decided to go ahead and get them over with.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI pulled the car out of the garage to make room for my projects.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe hood had been bugging me ever since I painted it. The paint was light and splotchy on the sides and worse than that, the stripes on the back end didn’t quite line up with the stripes on the cowl. It was just driving me crazy every time I looked at it so I took the hood off and started sanding it down for a repaint. The underside of the trunk lid needed painting too so I thought I’d get it all done in one long day.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou’ve seen something like this before. I’m in the process of masking off the silver stripe here.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere it is after color and three coats of clear.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd here it is after wet sanding and polishing the clear. Everything lines up now and there are no light splotchy areas. I can rest easy now.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is the underside of the trunk lid all painted and ready for weatherstripping and hardware.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter finishing the hood I got down to installing the gauges. I need to know if the engine is trying to cook itself. I think it may have some overheating problems. I haven’t run the engine long enough to check for overheating since I installed the gauges but the oil pressure is very good and the volts are good so that’s a relief.


Oh yeah. I also painted the air cleaner cover. It was black and crusty and I just couldn’t stand looking at any longer. As you can see I haven’t done anything else with the engine compartment yet. I plan on painting the valve covers to match the body color. Eventually when I yank the engine out I’ll do the whole compartment right.

After I finished up mounting the hood I thought it was time to give the front end a little attitude.




Nothing adds a little attitude like hood locks.



What do you do when your seats are pretty much wiped out? You could spend about $300 on a new upholstery set and install it yourself, or, if your budget is low like mine, you could go the cheap route and find something to get by until your budget increases.

Here’s what I did in several sort of easy steps.

Step one: Find some presentable seat covers.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI found these FOOSE covers at WalMart for $20.

Step 2: Drag out the old wiped-out seats and give them a good cleaning.


Step 3: Take it all apart.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey come apart pretty easily. Just a few screws and some pins.

Step 4: Look at the ugly rusted stuff on the underside.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANo surprises here. It’s old.

Step 5: Clean it up and paint it.


Step 6: Cut the seat covers to separate the back from the seat.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt only took a little cutting to get the pieces ready for installation.

Step 7: Lay out the seat back and figure out the glueing sequence.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI started with the lower center and worked my up using spray adhesive.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter I finished the center section I did the edges and then pulled the remaining stretchy material around to the backside and glued it.

Step 8: Put the seat back panel on.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI had to spray the back panel with vinyl dye. It helped a little.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo here is the back all glued.

Step 9: Do the seat bottom in a similar fashion.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere it is with the cover glued on. The seat is easier than the back.

Step 10: Assemble seat.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd here it is assembled.

Step 11: Stick it in the car.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd that’s how to do a seat make-over the cheap way. It doesn’t look as good as a real upholstery kit would but it looks far better than the slip-on seat cover. Eventually I want to make my own custom seat upholstery but I don’t have the tools for that yet.



Some folks might think I’ve been goofing off because it’s been a few weeks since my last post. Actually I’ve been working so hard I haven’t had time to take pictures and post them. Much has been accomplished and the following pictures don’t truly portray the amount of work that has gone into the car.

After finishing the headliner I decided to put the new windshield in. It’s a gasket windshield which means you put on a big rubber gasket first and then, using 12 gauge wire, pull the windshield into the frame. Of course you have to use sealers and such but it’s actually a simple process.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAbove you can see the windshield right after installation. This was one of the easier projects on the car. The trim was actually more difficult to install than the window.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne very important step when installing the trim is to mark the trim clip locations with tape. That way you know right where to push to clip it in.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe photo above shows the completed windshield and trim installation. And that’s all there is to that project. The whole thing was only about 3 hours I think.

The next project on the list was the new heater core. Earlier I had restored the heater box so now I had to take it apart again to put in a new heater core and add the new defrost plenum and ducts.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAbove you can see the old heater box and the new core.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI bought new rubber end seals which had to be modified to fit. With some patient trimming I was able to get a real nice fit.


And here we have the core as it fits in the box.


After some careful assembly I dragged out the heater controls and got some new heater hose and got the whole system mounted up under the dash.

Next project – Radio, speakers, and dash pad.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARemember these? It’s an old Pioneer Super Tuner. I think it’s from the eighties but it still works great. I put the old dry rotted pioneer 3″ speakers back in the dash where they came from. I was going to toss them but when I used them to test the radio I found they still sounded pretty good.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI got some Sony 6 x 9s (from Walmart) for the back. I still have to make a new panel but I have to get the rear window installed first. So that takes care of the sound system. If nothing else works on the car at least I can sit in it and listen to the radio.


After the heater and radio were done I was able to get the dash pad fully installed with all the stainless trim. I just love the design detail in the 65 dash.


Oh yeah, I put in a new glove box and put the glove box door on too. I even got the little glove box light working. So right now the only thing on the dash that’s not hooked up yet is the cigaret lighter.

Next up – Window tint.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI was going to take all the windows someplace and have them tinted but the shop I went to didn’t want to touch it. They said it was too much of a pain to do these old windows with the trim around them. So I had to do it myself. Window tinting is easy if you can keep everything clean. Unfortunately that’s impossible with these old windows with deteriorating gaskets. No matter how many times you clean them little particles still come out as soon as you spray the window and put the film on. So it’s virtually impossible to get a perfect tint with my old windows.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABut from a few feet away it looks very nice. Another key thing when tinting is to get the tint cut exactly right with a tiny bit of space around the edge. By the time I did the last window I had it all figured out.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI used a 30% tint which is not real dark. I’m getting a little old and I want to be able to see out the windows at night. When I was young I would have used about a 10%.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe trickiest window was the back one. I had to heat shrink the film to get it to fit the contour. I had never done it before but I watched a few Youtube videos and was able to get it done on the first try.


Above is the quarter window installed. I also installed all the weather stripping and trim. Getting the window put back together took a little time and several tries since I had forgotten how it went back together. But once i got it figured out it went in pretty good and it rolls up and down like new. I did the same on the other side too. Getting the two windows and trim installed took half a day.

Lastly – the rear tail light panel stuff.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe tail light buckets turned out to be a real pain. I had to make some adjustments (re; bending metal) to get them to fit. Then I had to replace some of the bolts that had rusted off. I keep having to go to the hardware store to get stainless steel nuts, bolts, and screws to replace the rusted ones.

Once I got the buckets in I put the bulbs in and the new gaskets, old lenses, and new bezels. I had to grind down the heads of the screws so they would fit down in the bezel like the factory ones. After that was finished I wired everything up. Then I put the Gas filler neck on and mounted the gas cap. After that I spent some time modifying the new bumper mounts so they would fit correctly onto the bumper. Then I mounted the bumper. Oh yes, I almost forgot. At some point I also mounted the rear valence. Anyway, that’s all for now. Enjoy the pictures.




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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe week started off with the usual wet sanding process. It went pretty well and most of the time I was in a good frame of mind for it. I actually finished a little ahead of schedule so I decided to paint the trunk on Thursday night.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe trunk turned out OK. Eventually it will all be covered and carpeted anyway.

I spent Friday night getting stuff masked off and ready for the final painting. The prep work always takes way longer than I expect.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs usual the first step is getting down the base silver for the stripes. It was going splendedly until I dragged the hose through the wet paint on the roof. That set me back an additional half hour. It’s always something though. Just like life’s little problems that pop up and you have to figure out how to deal with them and get back on track.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter repairing the little mishap on the roof I turned my attention to laying out the stripes. I remembered to photograph it this time so I’ll take you through the simple process.

First find the total width of of the stripes. In this case 15″. Then find the center of the panel and mark it. Measure out the 15″ and mark that on the edge of the panel using your center mark to keep everything aligned. Next lay out the outer stripes with blue striping tape to the inside edge of the 15″ marks. Next lay down the 1/4″ green masking tape to the inside of the blue tape. The green tape is simply a spacing guide for the next masking step. Then lay down the blue tape exactly along the inside  of the green tape. Then pull the green tape off. And lastly, just mask off the center section with masking tape and plastic. What could be simpler? Oh yeah, make sure you lay down the tape straight.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAbove you can see the finished masking.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd this is the cowl all masked off. I’m kind of liking that blue and orange on silver. Maybe I’ll use that color scheme on my next project. By the way, how about that cowl design? Too bad they don’t make them like that anymore.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s hard to see but this is the car with the body color sprayed over the masked off stripes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere it is with the masking removed.


And here’s another view of the unmasked stripes ready for the clear coat.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAShiny at last! As you can see the clear went on without a hitch. I wish I could spray more often. I think with some consistent practice and a little professional guidance I could get good at this. As it is I’ll have to do some wet sanding and polishing to make this look really nice.

So it’s basically done – although there is some assembly required.

You’ll have to excuse me now. I have to go out in the garage and look at it again. I just can’t believe it’s finally shiny.

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header1I was feeling the need for a little creativity so I decided to work on the rear valance exhaust cut-outs. I wanted something clean and a little custom. I  saw a design I liked on the Dodge Ram trucks where they have a cut-out and subtle body accent line above it and I decided to do something similar.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe first step was to figure out where the exhaust will exit and then mark the valance accordingly. Of course I had to figure out the size and shape of the cut-out which was a bit tricky since the valance mounts at an angle. Once the height of the cut-out was determined I could then work on the proper shape. It needs to be pretty much of a semi-circle when viewed from the angle at which it is mounted to the car. Once that was figured out I made a template and marked the valence on both ends.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen I had to cut it out with my 30 year old jigsaw. Above you can see how the tip will fit the opening when everything is put back on the car. Next I had to mold the accent line.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATo do this I had to make a template and trace it on the valance (after sanding off the primer of course). Then I spread some DuraGlass according to my lines. After gaining the proper thickness I pressed the template onto the DuraGlass and smoothed around the top edge with my finger to get a nice clean shape. When the DuraGlass started to become a little firm I removed the template.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFrom that point it was just a matter of sanding and adding filler to get the right shape.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is what it looks like presently. However, I still have more work to do on the accent lines as I’m not yet satisfied with the look. The edge is a bit sharp yet and the flat area between the top edge and the cut-out is bugging me. Keep in mind that when the valance is on the car that bottom is at a low angle so the accent line will not look that high above the cut-out. I think when I get it all sorted out it will look nice.

The next order of business was to get the fuel tank painted so I can bolt it back in and put some fuel in it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAbove is a photo of the new tank after being sanded and prepped for epoxy primer.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd here it is in primer.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd it’s painted gloss black with a single stage urethane.

After finishing with the fuel tank I spent way too many hours crawling around under the car getting it primed, sanded, and cleaned for a final paint. It was nasty, dirty, yucky work but it had to be done. Then, a day or so later, after I was in a better frame of mind, I got out the paint and spray gun and crawled around under the car and painted the underside. It looks pretty good. You’ll just have to take my word for it though because the pictures I took look like blackness with a few blown-out highlights. It’s very difficult to photograph the glossy, black underside of a car.

I was going to mount the fuel tank but all the original screws were too far gone to use. I’ll have to pick up some nice stainless steel screws and get it mounted this weekend.




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