[NA] Buying a classic car [NA]

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by DaleB, Oct 10, 2018.

  1. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    I've bought and sold a fair number of cars, but most all for daily transportation. With a few notable exceptions, all were pretty straightforward deals... buy a new or not-too-old car from a dealer or private individual, nothing special. But what I'm contemplating now is quite a bit different. I've found a classic ragtop Mustang at a classic & antique car dealer a couple of states away. As far as I can tell all they do is hot rods, classics and exotics. If the car lives up to the comprehensive set of detailed pictures and a video they have posted, it's almost exactly what we've been toying with the idea of owning some day. Most importantly, it's the year and color that my wife would like better than any other -- and does not appear to need anything in the way of body work, paint, interior, etc. It's a super nice looking car, but not a really hot combination in high demand and not a concours show car.

    I'm sure there are those here who have done this. I haven't, not with something like this. Going to see this thing will involve a 13-14 hour round trip by car, or 6 hours flying. I think the price they have listed is reasonable, given the condition and equipment. My plan is to show up, NOT let them know I just drove seven hours to get there, and if there aren't any hidden defects set about making a deal. I'd welcome advice about how these things are usually paid for, best way to negotiate the price, etc. The asking price is roughly $25K. I have NO idea how much negotiating room is there typically is on something like this, or how classic car places typically handle payment. And I have no intention of making that trip twice; if I buy it, it's going home with me.

    Advice?
     
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  2. 6t6

    6t6 Pre-Flight

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    Pretty vague. What kind of car? Get on the forum for that sort of car. Ask them. Ask want to look for, they'll know the tricks and hidden items easily missed. For example, if it's a classic mustang convertible check the torque box.
     
  3. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    As noted in the OP... mid 60s Mustang convertible. I'm well able to evaluate the car itself... looking for tips on making the deal, if this turns out to be "The One". Or when I do find "The One". I've never bought a collector/classic from a dealer.
     
  4. asicer

    asicer En-Route

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    If you are paying cash and there's no warranty, treat it like buying from a private party.
     
  5. Joey4420

    Joey4420 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Mid 60's for 25k, that isn't a bad deal at all if if in good shape. Really nice ones will sell for up in the 50-60k range. Sadly I remember when I could get a fully restored 64 convertible for $10-15k.... oh to have money in the early 90's.

    Big thing you need is a refrigerator magnet (used to check for bondo) unless you have a good paint gauge. Rear fenders and floor pans rust the most that I recall on the 60's mustangs. Make sure everything still works, try them all at least 4 times. Top, windows, radio, heat, a/c, lights. You want to check them all several times to make sure they work, so before a test drive, during the drive, after the drive and before you sign anything. Check the VIN to see if what the car should be is. http://www.mustangdecoder.com/decoder.html

    Then last but not least, I would have a local mechanic at least do a compression check, and put it on a rack to check for leaks and check the brakes before you drive or ship it home.
     
  6. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    Yeah... the VIN matches the paint, engine & interior. It's not a lot higher priced because it's not a super popular color, not a 289 4-speed, etc.

    I've owned enough older cars to know where they rust. Cars and a couple of trucks (and a Vespa) from '51 to new. My oldest Mustang was a '73, but not that dissimilar. Paint thickness gauges are new since the last time I did this... never used one. I'm wondering if the cheaper ones are worth having or not. Magnets are pretty much free, though.
     
  7. 6t6

    6t6 Pre-Flight

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    What Code? Is it a restomod? A 6-cyl no air no PS is no deal for that much. That aside, there is always negotiating room and the one's I've done are always bank wire or cash, no checks. But they sound like a dealer and will have all that worked out for the buyer. Good luck with the purchase. Should you do your own MX , they are quick and easy to work on and parts are very reasonable.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
  8. rtk11

    rtk11 Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    Agreed with all said by 6T6.

    Not sure on the engine since you stated it's not a a 289/4 speed. Is it a 289 with C4 automatic? Or a 260 with 4 speed or automatic? If it's the inline 6, as 6T6 stated, those are less desirable and the selling price should reflect that. Make sure the convertible top mechanism is fully functional and the material is well installed on the convertible frame. Good to run a Marti report on it also (if the dealer didn't provide one) to know how the vehicle was originally equipped.
     
  9. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform En-Route PoA Supporter

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    See if you can find a Mustang expert to go with you or look at it for you. My only advice.
     
  10. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    200 inline 6. VIN is correct for the body, engine, C4 transmission, 3.00 rear end. It has air. Video shows the top movimg smoothly and completely under its own power. Body looks great... very straight, no door sags, paint is correct and glossy, no dings or defects that I can see. Interior looks very good. Underbody and engine compartment are super clean and look great. It's obviously been restored, but not modded other than some non-original wheel covers that look like the styled steel wheels. It realy looks like it's in great shape and needs nothing. Again, not a concours restoration but the best i have seen in the price range... and as I said, almost the exact model, color and interior i'd want. Yes, a 289 or a Sprint package would be nice, but I'm not buying an investment.

    I think i have a negotiating strategy. The price isn't higher than comparable cars, but it still seems like there's some room for improvement.
     
  11. ColoPilot

    ColoPilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I'm not up on classic mustang prices, but if the car is as good of condition as it sounds the dealer might not haggle. The one classic car purchase I did at a dealer they were firm on price. I offered a little less and he said he would call and ask the car's owner but said the owner wouldn't take it since there were 2 other buyers interested. Ended up paying asking price for it.

    It can't hurt to offer less and see what happens, but don't get your hopes up and don't let a great car go over a small price. With modern cars you can always find another for sale, but with classics it's harder.
     
  12. jsstevens

    jsstevens En-Route PoA Supporter

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    As for the deal, since they advertised the price on the internet, there is typically a lot less dealing room. Dealers know now that folks price shop online and they work to put their best price online for just that reason. I'm sure you can pay with cash or check. These are car dealers, just with a specialized inventory.

    I'm not sure how a loan would work on a classic car.

    John
     
  13. Juliet Hotel

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    Best advice I can give is plan on making the trip twice. Although I don't generally bother with this this myself, I had a relative growing up that used a very simple and aggressive MO when buying cars from dealers. Go look at the car, figure up what you're willing to pay and offer it (usually an extreme low ball in the case of this person). That offer will get rejected. Tell them that's your offer, take it or leave it, here's my number, call me if you change your mind. Leave. Don't haggle. Don't hang around. Make your offer and leave. Every single time, the dealer would call a week or two later and accept or counter just a hair higher. Every time.

    So best advice if you intend to offer something lower than ask is plan on going twice. Fly down if able, look and offer. If they accept, great you were making the trip twice anyway, drive down another day and pick it up. If they don't. Leave. They'll either call in a week or they won't. And if they don't, there are other Mustangs out there.

    Unless of course, you absolutely can't live without that particular example. If that's the case, drive down with the full asking amount and give it to them. You could offer less although I'd feel kind of silly doing that if I'd already decided I was ok with paying asking price but that's just me.
     
  14. DaleB

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    I think I'll take along a bank check for the amount I'd be comfortable paying, all in, and offer that... take it or leave it. Screw this silly add-on doc fee nonsense, they can roll that onto the price. Now, whether or not I have a little backup cash to accommodate either something better than anticipated or a moment of weakness remains to be seen.

    There are half a dozen 64-67 convertibles in this color for sale. About half have automatics; this is the only one with AC (not that I expect much from that). Only this one has something other than a black interior, and as far as I can see needs no resto or repair work. The others are all cheaper, but I'm really (for once) not looking for a resto project.

    If it were a different color, V8, etc. it would probably be worth more. It's primarily for my wife, and she likes what she likes. She has no idea I'm doing this, so I get to keep it garaged somewhere else for a couple of months.
     
  15. TFulwider

    TFulwider Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Make sure you find out about the cowl vents. Ford didn't paint the inside of the cowl and they are known to rust quite badly. Repair involves cutting out hundreds of spot welds and repainting, obviously not a cheap repair.
     
  16. Gerhardt

    Gerhardt En-Route

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    That's why they rusted so bad. Everywhere. Man, those cars didn't have to have but a few years on them before the bubbling started. I always wondered why the rust was so much worse on them than any other car.
     
  17. 6t6

    6t6 Pre-Flight

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    BTW My 6T6 handle is left over from my classic car forum days. My last mustang was a 1966 GT Convertible with 6T6 license plates. Sold it on Ebay to a French guy living in PHL. Funny or sad I remember when I was watching it loaded on the transporter I felt much more emotional seeing it leave than I felt when I got divorced after 30 years.
     
  18. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    It wasn't just Mustangs. Lots of cars back then had virtually no rust protection, and plenty of places for water to collect. My old Javelin didn't rust out, mainly because AMC was too cheap to put as much sheet metal in the fenders as the other manufacturers. Mustangs and some others had a horrible habit of collecting water in the "cheeks" on either side of the trunk floor, behind the rear wheels. Inadequate drain holes would plug up and water would condense and collect. Mustangs, at least the later ones, had a couple of places under the hood that were rust magnets also. From the pictures, this appears to have been done right. We'll see if the flashlight, borescope, and magnet agree.

    Condition inspection-wise, not my first rodeo. I've owned 60s and 70s vintage cars since they weren't classics, just "used cars". Owning a '69 Karmann Ghia showed me just how badly a vehicle is capable of rusting out and still keep the wheels on... more or less. Finding the places where our '73 Mustang rusted was educational. There are a few places on this one that I want to inspect up close and personal before making a decision... it's easy to hide stuff with judiciously applied filler, paint, and undercoating. I can't imagine buying one of these things without an in-person inspection.
     
  19. 6t6

    6t6 Pre-Flight

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    Actually worse than that. The cowls were slightly concave where they were attached to the body. It wasn't if but when they would rust through.
     
  20. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I think I would let them know how far you drove. The dealer then knows he only has one chance to make the sale, and once you leave you will probably not come back.

    I kind of like the older 6 cylinder models of muscle cars. I have had V8s from mild to over wildest beliefs and I enjoy the straight sixes now.
     
  21. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    I made that mistake once, won't do it again. If the dealer knows you drove that far, he also knows you're quite likely already counting on buying. Similar deal a couple of years ago -- a difficult to find paint/interior combination, very nice but several hours away. We drove up and took a severe beating, especially on the trade-in which the sales droid now knew we REALLY did not want to drive back home. Lessons learned.

    I may make it part of the offer strategy, though. "Here's the check. This is my final offer. I'm 7 hours away, so if I leave, I'm not coming back."
     
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  22. jsstevens

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    Just what I was thinking but yo beat me to it. The plausible threat of walking away is your most powerful negotiating tool. That said, be aware that internet advertised pricing has significantly reduced the deal room on cars. The dealers are painfully aware that most people shop by price online and therefore they advertise their lowest (or nearly so) prices online because if another dealer has it for $1000 or $100 or even $5 less, the buyer won't even come in. I have seen the tactic of asking more than the online price in person (at least until you remind them of the online price).

    John
     
  23. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    Well, crud.

    This weekend my son and I planned to make the trip down to St Louis to see the best prospective car I had found. While first-gen Mustangs are not difficult to find -- it's hard to swing a dead cat without hitting one -- I was looking for something specific. This one was a convertible, automatic, and in my wife's very favorite color -- Ford called it "Springtime Yellow". This was the ONLY one I have found anywhere that doesn't have a black interior, which was another big plus. It was, really, the perfect car for the mission -- which was to surprise my wife at Christmas. There were over 100 high resolution pics on the consignment dealer's website that really showed no indications of any issues at all. No paint defects, underside looked great, engine bay super clean, no unfortunate modifications. A perfect car, if a bit over priced. Called down Friday to make sure it was still there, since it was still on the web site -- nope. Sold. But wasn't there another of the dozens of Mustangs they have I'd want to look at? Nope.

    So Plan B was a very nice looking 289 powered yellow ragtop in Denver. It was definitely a second choice due to some fairly minor paint defects and a black interior, but it was priced a little better. Called out there, the car is available, so we drove the 8 hours and stayed overnight Friday. Saturday we showed up to check out the car, with a solid plan to work a deal, pay cash and tow it home. It took about two minutes for the disappointment to set in, and no more than five to determine that this car was really a restoration project. The paint was strictly amateur hour stuff. The chrome trim had been masked (and not too well), and none of it has been replaced -- even the well-pitted pieces. There were plenty of undisclosed scrapes and scratches and places where improperly aligned panels had knocked paint off of seams and corners. The underlying body work was crap, with evidence of holes filled with Bondo and sanded "pretty much" to shape. Engine bay looked great -- at first glance, until you figured out that everything was basically sprayed with undercoating. Even the brake master cylinder, cover and all. The interior looked OK, except the dash looked like it had been partially and poorly sprayed with black rattle-can paint. About half the wiring showed signs of being worked on by someone who neither knew nor cared what they were doing. I dind't even bother to open the trunk or look underneath.

    I might have been interested in this car under far different circumstances, but only for about half what they were asking.

    So... a completely wasted trip. I guess there are people who buy these things over the Internet and have them delivered... I cannot for the life of me imagine why anyone would do that. This thing looked good in the pics, but honestly I would say the listing on the dealer's web site surpassed "caveat emptor" and edged into false advertising territory. We spent half an hour poking through the rest of the so-called "classic and muscle car" inventory, and they all ranged from definitely second-rate resto (a few) to amateurish work with horrific paint (about half) to just embarrassing.

    Guess it's a good thing I already picked up the one relatively inexpensive item my wife has actually asked for for Christmas... the car thing obviously isn't happening.
     
  24. pmanton

    pmanton Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    Years ago I sold an Austin Healy long distance. The buyer hired a local Healy expert to do a pre-buy just like an airplane. When I had the funds he hired a car hauler to load the car up ans away it went.
     
  25. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    Just a follow-up, 3-plus months after.

    I have not seen another "near-perfect" example of what I'm looking for. The first one I found was a Springtime Yellow convertible with a parchment interior and white top. That yellow is uncommon; I suspect most have been repainted in "resale red". Nearly all have black interiors. This was one I was looking to buy for my wife, so the engine choice was immaterial, as long as it ran well and had an automatic. I'm really not interested in any other combination for my wife, so I've essentially given up looking for that. I think I could build one quicker and easier than finding one already done, and certainly for a lot less money. Hindsight being what it is, I should have jumped on the first immediately. I just didn't know it at the time. I thought it was not unusual and that the price was pretty high... I have since come to believe that it is indeed a rare (though not all that valuable) combination, and the price was not out of line. Want a red convertible with a black top? No problem, take your pick. Want a yellow one with a light colored interior? Good luck, pal.

    Locally, I've found a coupe that someone started to restore, then stopped. 289-2V, C4, very run of the mill. It's for sale at a price low enough that I think I'm going to try my hand at doing the restoration. If I enjoy doing it and it turns out to make me a little money, I may do a second, maybe a third... one of them will be for my wife, built to spec exactly the way she wants it. This first one will be strictly for resale -- I have no real need or desire for a generic coupe, but it ought to sell quickly if I don't completely muff the job. There isn't much rust, but it needs a little of everything. Some of the bodywork is crap and needs to be re-done, or just replaced. I'm assuming that anything that's already been done will need to be re-done from scratch. But, all the pieces appear to be there, and quite a few that I thought would be trashed (bumpers, grille, glass, much of the chrome) are actually in great shape.

    The still-unknown is what these cars are actually selling for. There are so many restored vintage Mustangs for sale that I can look around and see what the average listing price for a particular car is -- year, model, equipment, condition. What I don't know is the actual selling price. If these things are selling for close to the price listed by half a dozen dealers and consignment shops, then it will be worthwhile to do the resto purely to build experience, have some fun, and turn a buck. If not... well, I still won't lose any money, that's for sure. I'm surprised at the ready availability and low cost of nearly every part on these cars.
     
  26. SoCal RV Flyer

    SoCal RV Flyer Pattern Altitude

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    I bought a pretty nice Porsche 914 base on a very well documented internet ad, and had it trucked from Michigan to California.

    Very pleased with how the car appeared in person. I did ask for a few supplemental photos (pics of the so-called "hell holes"...forward corners of the engine compartment where leaves and water tend to collect; and pics of the battery tray and right-rear trailing-arm attachment point that battery acid can destroy. There was minor rust in one corner, but it was the most solid car I'd seen in months of looking. Longitudinals were Gobi Desert dry.

    Moral....research the problem areas and don't hesitate to request additional detail shots of them.

    Love those early Mustang ragtops. Maybe watching Goliath recently makes me want one!
     
  27. SoonerAviator

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    I’d suggest finding a Mustang Convertible with the top and interior color you want, then worry about paint color/tranny/engine. The mechanical conversion is the easy stuff, finding the interior and convertible top is the hard part. Tearing it down for a new paint job is much easier than buying project cars hoping to flip them until you come across a keeper.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  28. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    In theory, maybe. In practice, convertibles with white or parchment interiors are hard to find to begin with. If the interior is in the condition in which I want it, then the car will be completely restored and priced FAR above what I'd pay for one that needs to be stripped and painted. Better to find a nicely done yellow ragtop and replace the entire interior, color change and all -- it's a much easier, faster and cheaper job than a decent exterior paint job.

    In the process of looking for the right one, I got the itch to do one myself... maybe more than one, if I like it. Clean, restorable convertibles in the target years are not hard to find. I'd rather start from scratch and build it "just right". All new paint, interior, top, everything. I' ve had some experience with pretty much every aspect of what needs to be done, other than welding and trans work (which can be learned or farmed out). Just have never done a complete car, start to finish before. I'll do this guinea pig first, since it's local and an excellent restoration candidate. Meanwhile, I'll scout for the right car to start with for the next one. Fortunately we're not talking about Tuckers or Ferraris here -- you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a mid-60s Mustang or two. As for parts availability, I think you could literally scratch build one with nothing more than a checkbook and a set of hand tools.
     
  29. ktup-flyer

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    Hagerty has a pretty nice valuation tool
     
  30. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    Well, the garage has a new, rather scruffy-looking inhabitant. Dragged it home Friday and did an inventory. There are a few more parts missing than I thought, but nothing earth-shattering. If it were warmer I'd start by yanking the engine and tranny out, but at 18 degrees... nah. It will wait. I'll start pulling fenders and stripping some of the suspect areas to see what rust has been hidden with crap body work and plastic filler. I'm sure there is some. The fenders have some really poorly welded patches, they're probably scrap. But what I really want to see is just how bad off the cowl area is. I'm thinking that may well be the biggest single problem, but I did allow money in the budget for farming out some welding.

    The odometer shows 93K, so I'm fairly sure the engine HAS been worked on at some point, and WILL need a rebuild. That's OK; parts are cheap, I'll enjoy my first complete teardown, and my youngest is eager to help out. He's a gearhead who hasn't ever torn down anything this big either. Fun times. Now it's off to buy some more LED shop lights, a drain pan, and a new creeper.
     
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  31. SCCutler

    SCCutler Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    PICTURES!
     
  32. Gerhardt

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    Hey, congratulations! This is exciting. Let's have some "before" pictures.
     
  33. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    Sigh... OK, OK, I guess if you guys INSIST. :) Door windows are there and good, windshield and rear window are good. Both bumpers are OK, though I'll probably replace the rear unless I can get it re-chromed cheap. Today I'm removing the hood and dash. More details here. What I really need now is more light, heat and shelves in the garage! And about 100# of tools I have at the hangar, of course.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  34. Crashnburn

    Crashnburn Pre-takeoff checklist

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    They aren't known as Rust-Tangs for no reason.

    When I bought my T/A, I negotiated the price over the phone before I went, and made an earnest deposit to hold the car. After I bought the car, the dealer had the nicks and scratches filled in by a professional, and made the arrangements to have it shipped by truck. I paid the trucker on delivery.
     
  35. cgrab

    cgrab Pattern Altitude

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    That looks pretty straight. I'm sure you can find a few spray cans of Springtime yellow to finish it off ha ha. Great that you can do the work with your son. My son and I did two cars together. Not many high schools driving MGB's to school in the late 90's. He was the envy of the school.
     
  36. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    DaleB
    I've
    I've only found one area where it looks like there might be a little collision damage. The right side of the radiator mount (so called, I think, but it mounts the radiator, fender and front bumper) has a little wrinkle, maybe 1/4-3/8 or so. Easy enough to tap back out with a big hammer if needed, especially once the engine is out of the way. The rest is all original and very straight, even is rusty. That's good; it means I probably won't run into those really nasty little misalignments you get from a car that's been wrecked.

    I'll probably paint it the original color -- not my favorite. It's that light blue nonmetallic "Arcadian Blue". The interior is blue, and there's new upholstery already installed on the seats, matching carpet and headliner, etc. If I do a color change it adds to the cost, probably more than it would add resale value.
     
  37. SoCal RV Flyer

    SoCal RV Flyer Pattern Altitude

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    SoCal RV Flyer
    Ah, the appeal of a mechanically dirt-simple resto project. Have fun with it!!
     
  38. cgrab

    cgrab Pattern Altitude

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    cgrab
    Keep the engine original, one of the things my neighbors say about my 1962 Willys truck is that it will still be running after the great EMP attack.
     
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  39. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    DaleB
    Planning to keep most everything as original as possible -- within reason. There are very few modifications to the car as it sits now. Someone put the hi-po air cleaner on it; I'd like to replace that with stock if it's not too spendy. Engine and drive line will be all original. The only thing I'm really debating right now is the radio. I pulled and tested the original factory AM radio last night; it's fine, even the dial lamp still works. I can clean and lube it, and replace the original mono speaker in the dash and be done with it. Unfortunately, there is virtually no music left on AM -- unless you like certain very narrow segments like mariachi or church music along with your wacko political rants. If I go with a stereo, it means spending quite a bit more money and installing some non-original speakers. I will NOT butcher the kickpanels I'd do a pair of speakers under the package shelf, and a dual-cone dash speaker. I could probably sell the old radio for maybe 1/3 of the cost of the new stuff. Personally, I just hate seeing nicely restored first-gen Mustangs with speaker grilles in the rear window.

    Tough decision. I think what I may do is run wiring for four stereo speakers, discreetly mark it and tie it off in place, and put the original radio back in. That way the next owner can install whatever he or she wants, without having to tear apart the interior.
     
  40. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Billy
    Actually, someone put the decal on the after market air cleaner assembly, which that particular air cleaner with the small filter are just as restrictive to air flow as the original.

    The car doesn't look too bad considering its age. Are the floor boards original.??

    And thank you for not wanting to paint it red.