Progress Thread Project Phoenix (Still deciding on a name)

Olivethefet

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May 17, 2018
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This is jumping the gun a little, the project is a sure thing I just don't know exactly when I'll be getting to dive into it. A little back ground information. My dad currently owns a 65 A code convertible. Its a 4 speed car, original color is Rangoon red, plan black vinyl seats. Before the car came to my family it was with the second owner, who bought the car in the early 70's or late 60's. This man happened to be a good friend of my dads. Unfortunately health complication led to an early passing in the early 90's. The mans widow approached my dad and asked if he was interested in the car. He was and the car made its way into my family in or around 92. It never needed much work and my mom and dad had lots of fun using it as a cruiser on weekend and the like. I would have been 12 or 13 at the time we got the car so it's been around move of my life at this point. I have always loved it. Used to wax it and keep it clean. Was NEVER allowed to drive it lol. I did get a few opportunities to take it out. I always got to drive it in the Christmas parade with a few of my friends riding along. That was always SO much fun. Id get to go get them do the parade and then take everyone home. Once I got old enough that my dad would let me take it out for the occasional drive I went to college and haven't been around the house much since.

In 2006 I was living in Cleveland TN about an hour from my parents house. The car was running OK, but was smoking like it was on fire when you went down hills. We did some minor work to it, valve seals and such, but it didn't help much. At that point my dad decided that it was time to get the engine rebuild. Not a bad idea! This is where the real story starts though... With the motor out of the way, which had an unknown number of actual miles on it and was a replacement motor anyway, one thing lead to another. He wanted to rebuild the front end. OK great. We took it all apart new bushings, tie rods, springs, shocks, rebuild the spindles, you name it we did it. The car had apparently been hit at some point in the front, so the core support needed some attention. Let to that too. And we did. Hey the motor is out. Lets strip everything out of the engine bay and repaint it! We did that. Then we found a little rust in the floor pans. Out came the interior. We fixed all the bad metal we could find at the time.

Long story short. The car was almost completely disassembled. Then work moved me several hours away, so I couldn't go help with the car any more. My dad carried on with the work on and off for years working on all kinds of stuff. As time went on his work became more and more demanding and as he got older he started to loose interest in the car so less and less was getting done. Then basically about 8 years ago everything stopped and not much of note has been done to the car.

A couple of years ago I started talking about getting a project to work on. Looked at all kinds of things, but was mostly looking for something that didn't need a lot as I didn't have access to a lot of tools and would be working out of my garage. Now I've seen some people on here do amazing work in their garage, so I know it can be done. I just wasn't up for that challenge at the time. Well, one night on the phone I'm talking to my dad and he starts talking about the old mustang. He starts kicking around the idea of selling it! So, I make the statement of "I you get serious about selling the car give me a chance to buy it first". That was it for about 2 months. Then we are on the phone again talking and he brings up the car. He says you know I think I could get about 10K for the car as it sits. I'm like yeah you probably could.... Then he says "how about this. You can have the car. Do whatever you want to it. BUT. If you sell it you owe me 10K." Of course I'm like hell yeah I'll take that deal!

The same problem it there though. I dont have room for the car and all the boxes of stuff that go with it, so its been sitting in the same place for about 2 years now. As fate would have it life happened and the wife and I moved again. We are now just a few hours away, but at our new place I built a shop. Now we have room for all the activities! I've been working on the shop for months now, but it is finally close to ready to receive visitors or residents.

Work on this car will be slow as I have another car that I'm tinkering with as well and this car needs someone to take their time and try to do it right. I dont plan on trying to make it an original car, but it will be close. No restomod here. Just some tasteful upgrades here and there. The engine has been rebuilt, but its been hanging out on an engine stand since about 2007. My dad bought a ton of stuff for the car as well.

This post is long enough, so I'll through up a few pics of how the car sits now and update again later with plans for the car!

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rustaddict

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Looks like a solid project. It's nice that you can keep it in the family and hopefully you can just assemble it instead of sweating rust repair and paint work.
 

Olivethefet

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May 17, 2018
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Yeah, It's in good shape. Last summer I was doing a little work to it and found a few things that need to be addressed. We thought that we had gotten all the rust, but I found that on both sides of the car in front of the rear inner wheel wells it is rusted out and will need to be patched. Pretty minor if that's the worst of the current rust!

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Also, when we decided to strip the car my dad had me go under the car and media blast all the undercoating and paint off of the bottom of the car. That was fun. Once we got it stripped we repainted it with Eastwood chassis black. We didn't prim it if I remember correctly. While I was under the car last year I noticed that the bottom of the car is covered in breakthrough surface rust. Nothing serious, but it will need to be cleaned up and redone for sure.

As part of the upgrade package for the car my dad bought a drum to disk break kit from Stainless Steel Brake Systems, https://ssbrakes.com/
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I'm not sure how he choose this system, nor do I really know anything about this kit. Maybe someone on here has used their products and can chime in. The plan is to set the car up with power breaks as well. He had bought a couple of different brake booster and master cylinders. It's my understanding that these cars did not come with a power brake option in 65 if it was a manual. The clutch rod hits it. They now have aftermarket kits that allow you to get around that problem.

The engine has been hanging on that stand for a LONG time. It's been in a relatively climate controlled environment the whole time so that is a plus. Somebody at some point took the spark plugs out of it, so the cylinders will need to be inspected. I'm thinking maybe even taking the intake and heads off might not be a bad idea.

As for the paint. It has an imron paint job on it, at least I think that is what it is, that is about 40 years old. It's starting to pop and flake off in places. My dad just wanted to put it back together and drive it. I've always wanted to go ahead and get it painted. Jury is still out on that one, so we'll see.
 
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2Blue2

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What a great project
Family involved is a beautiful thing.
I have this dream about a red convertible mustang and an attractive gal driving it....
 
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Olivethefet

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May 17, 2018
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I'm looking forward to getting back to it. It's been sitting for a long time. I wish my dad was closer so that he could be more involved with it. He has completely lost interest in doing anything with it on his own. I don't blame him though. It turned into way more work than he was planning on. My three year old is very interested in car stuff though, so it should be fun getting him involved. I have to keep an eye on him when we are working on the Fox. He already thinks that hammers are the answer to any problem already!

He, my dad, has already casually mentioned that part of the bargain for getting the car is that once it's done he gets to "borrow" it from time to time. I'm cool with that.
 
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02 281 GT

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Excellent project! I'm kind of glad my car wasn't in such nice shape as yours. I would have been far more reticent to tear into it as much as I have. Make use of all that space!
 

Olivethefet

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With a little luck the car will be in my garage by the end of the weekend. My folks are coming down on Friday or Saturday and they will have the car with them along with a boat load of my stuff. Can't wait! It's like Christmas in September!
 

Olivethefet

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Me too. I've got a lot to do. It's going to be slow going but that's OK. My plan is to try to get the fox to the point that it is reliable enough to use as a weekend ride. I'm not going to lie and say that I am going to stop working on the fox, but once a few things are sorted I can leave it alone. Kinda. Maybe. First big decision for the 65 is going to be whether or not to paint it. It's so close to being ready now that it is tempting. At the same time the paint on it isn't terrible. I just know that once I get it all back together and fixed the way I want it I'm not going to want to tear it all back apart to paint it.
 

Olivethefet

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I've mentioned that I am up in the air about getting this car painted before I start trying to put it all back together. Here are a couple of pictures of where the paint is starting to chip off.

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Those are really the only two places on the car that look like that. The rest of the car needs to be buffed and polished to remove some minor scratches and stuff but otherwise is in good shape. That isn't bare metal in the pics. It must be the primer as the spots have been like that for years and they haven't started to rust.

On a different note. Has anyone seen a rear view mirror like this?

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It was on the car when we got it. I haven't seen one like it before. You can swing the mirror up and down as well as adjust the mirror it's self.

I didn't take a pic of it, but the only real dent on the car is on the hood. At some point in the cars life someone shut the hood with something on the breather, so it has a little dimple where it bent the hood. No big deal.

Next step is to get the shop cleaned up a bit. Install some shelving and lay out all the parts for the car that I have. Just basically get everything organized. My dad bought a ton of new parts for the car that have been sitting around for years. Actually I've got to make a trip up there to pick up the rest of the stuff. All the interior is with him as well as the rest of the front of the car.

The wiring harness in this car is original, so you can imagine how it's starting to get. When we shut it down we were not having any issues with it. This is kinda like the paint. It's the perfect time to put in a new harness at this stage of the game. I would keep the old harness of course. Thoughts?
 
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2Blue2

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Forget the old harness with the crispy wiring and never seen that mirror before but there were a lot of options back in the day some factory and some not.
 
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Olivethefet

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never seen that mirror before but there were a lot of options back in the day some factory and some not.
Yeah, I've just always wondered about it. When we got the car it also had a trailer hitch. I can't imagine pulling a trailer with this car, even back in the day when it was "just" a mustang. My dad tried to talk me into installing a hitch that would extend through the rear ground effect of my then 90 GT. I did not do that!

Thanks for the feedback on the wiring harness. I'll add it to the ever growing list of things to do/buy!