1973 Grande Needs Restoration Plan


I recently purchased a 73 Mustang Grande that has a better than average body, but the typical worn and torn interior and partial disassembled driveline. I’m not sure what I want to do, other than never more than a dependable driver, but I need to decide before I spend more and I thought I would pass the options by the community before starting. About me, not my first Ford “restoration” project car, did a 68 Ranchero and a 69 Torino Cobra, both were body work, stock engine/trans rebuilds.

1. Do I try and fix the 351w under the hood and reattach the FMX in the trunk, in other words, do I keep it stock? The front cover of the engine is missing, but many of the other big parts are in the trunk (has a very full trunk).
2. Do I purchase a used more “modern” engine/trans and if so, what makes for a “it fits under the hood and in the trans tunnel” swap while still has fuel injection and overdrive in the trans? I’m leaning this way because I want to improve the mpg and take it on localish trips.
3. Do I do the very modern swap (like 2015 or newer) package?

I also want to restore the interior, but not break the bank, so where to go; seems everyone sells mustang parts online; wasn’t the case for rancheros or torinos.

Thats my story; any advice will help and thank you in advance.


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Ok, after a thoughtful search, seems like 4.6 and 5.4 swaps into 73 is quite the effort. Maybe a mid 1990’s Ford product with a 5.8l and aode would be a good place to go? If I do, and I do the salvage yard thing, how much of the engine/trans do I get? What things should I be sure to get with that? Are there any better packages of 5.8/aode I should be looking for? Any I should avoid?


15 Year Member
Sep 30, 2006
Nashville TN
To make sure I am reading the other post correctly, putting a 4.6 motor in a 73 is difficult without a mustang 2 type of conversion. I realize nothing is impossible with enough money, but if I want to keep the engine bay stock, that motor family is a no go.

To be fair, putting a 4.6L into ANY vintage mustang without chopping up or cutting out the shock towers is a tall order. There are alternatives for modern swaps and big power in a more "compact" package, such as the "Godzilla" 7.3L Ford makes for its super duty pickups...430HP, 4 bolt main block, blah blah blah:


Engine height and oil pan design may be an issue...but at least it will fit between the shock towers(most likely)

please note, I am not suggesting any non-stock engine...I never suggest custom swaps...they are tons of work and often a project killer.
I’ve got a lead on a few 1994 to 1997 Ford trucks that have a 5.8l, which I understand from Wikipedia had roller cam, efi, and 4 speed automatic transmissions. While not likely the best of the 351 blocks to build power, so I’ve read, the kind of power I’m looking for is very modest. I think that may be the best cost/ benefit ratio for a good baseline to make better. Thoughts?


will be trying this sex one when I can find it
Mod Dude
Mar 5, 2019
Full on Mary Tyler Moore car...Fun, looks to be good shape.
Half vinyl roof? Cool!

You have mentioned budget a couple of times.
Is the engine you got junk? compression test? If ok your money ahead already.
If not then junkyard 351 truck runner for cheap and swap your intake manifold on it.
And lets get on to burn out pictures...Driving is funner than fixing'.

Might need a NACA Hood on it and more pre fixin' pictures.
Junk is likely a good word for it. From the missing timing cover forward, nothings there. I do have the water pump, hoses, and radiator in the trunk. The engine is sitting on the motor mounts and resting on the center link. There was a transmission, in the trunk, but it turns out to be a Chrysler 904, a prerunner of the 727. Lots of other stuff in the trunk, but no timing cover. I need to get the springs on the hood hinges so I can open it enough to get a better look at it.

I understand the 1994 and newer Ford 302 and 351 had roller cams, EFI, and AOD trans. While I’m not looking to build big power, I think this could be a good foundation for reliable but some fun driving. It would be great to hear from others who have done the same. BTW, whats a NADA hood? I intend to post pics once I start. So far, just cleaning the trunk and finding all the rust with my magne. So far, only two small spots in the front and rear of the passenger wheel opening.


Active Member
May 5, 2004
Waldorf MD
If you want simple and budget a 5.0/302 from any 89 -93 Mustang (these are all mass air cars) will have FI, roller cam and work wih an automatic over drive transmission. They are also avaiable from other makes like Thunderbirds, LTDs, and Cougars. There are a lot of choices for computers and wiring harness or you can go the carburated route. There were also some 5.0s in the pick up trucks but I dont know the exact differnce with those engines, I think some of the early 90's trucks also had a FI 5.8/351. These little small blocks can easily churn out 300hp with a head, cam and intake combination. If you want to get the to the 450 hp range and still have reliability add a small supercharger. Since you have already done some other projects you know the only limiting factor is money. Good Luck on your project.
Dgollem, that’s great advice. Do you know the cost difference and maybe more importantly, the availability difference between the 302 vs the 351? I know on my Ranchero build, the taller 351 didn’t pose any issues, but I wonder if that’s the same for the mustang? In my searching, I haven’t seen many 351 in 89-93 mustangs, but I’ve seen lots of 302s. 300hp is the top of my expectations. BTW, do folks buy whole 89-93 mustangs and use other stuff (interiors, wheels, gauges, etc) from a donor car?


Active Member
May 5, 2004
Waldorf MD
I'm not that familiar with the difference in the P/U truck engine maybe some else can chime in. Late model 5.0s are plentiful and new crate motors are also available. The deck height on the 351 makes it more challenging for the 70-93 Fox body mustangs it won't fit under the stock hoods. But many have made it work with a cowl hood. Since you already had a 351 in your car others should fit. I’m not sure how much room you have under that Grandes hood but I’m pretty sure it’s more than a Fox body.

There are still a lot of Fox mustangs around, but good ones are going up in price. However, people still wreck them and part them out so who knows what may turn up. People also forget the T Birds and Cougars use the same power trains so finding good drive train from one of those may be less expensive. Good luck.
Ok, I got the springs on the hood hinges. Now, in my two previous Ford projects, I had a good hood and never had to deal with hood hinge issue. But, these hinges work in a very weird way. I had great difficulty closing the hood. The front would come down, but the back of the hood was still up on the hinge. Looked like a Frankenstein ram Air hood. I was able to coax each hinge down, using a crescent wrench one side at a time; a little bit pulling from the middle of the hinge, not from the mounting to the hood. It’s down, kinda, but I suspect if I open it, I’ll have the same issue.

Seems to me, and I’m no expert, that the hinge over extended and that’s where it wants to go when opening. I went online to look at new hinges to see if mine looked the same, in this area in the middle of the hinge, where you see a metal tab that looks like something meant to limit the opening arch. Mine, both, the tabs are a bit bent up. The pictures I could find didn’t illustrate that angle, so I couldn’t determine what is correct.

Does anyone have a top down pic of their installed hood hinge, I could use for comparison? Does this sound like a typical hood hinge issue? Thank you.