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72 Grande Coupe project, starting Fall 2017!

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I am finally going to build my dream car! I have always wanted a 71-73 Mustang, always put it off, now I am 51 years old and decided it's now or never!


The past 30 years, we have raced cars circletrack. Started with streetstocks, did a little sportsman class, and finally into FWD with Dodge Neons. We are still running those. As far as street cars, we did a 71 Chevelle for my wife that she still has. We are working on a 67 C10 for my daughter. She just turned 16, and that is what she wanted for her first vehicle. Hey, it's better than a Honda or Toyota! lol. I have a 79 Pinto, bone stock 4 cylinder. It came from Arizona, very clean, I haven't done anything other than drive it. I myself haven't ever really had a fast cool streetcar since high school, with my 75 Mustang 302. Well, it was cool to ME!!


I bought 2 Coupes from an impound in California, and had them shipped here. I am in Michigan. The one I was going to build is a 71, 6 cyl. The other was going to be parts, as it is 351C. The plan was to switch the 9" rear end, power brakes, and front disc's onto the 71. Then, after closer inspection, the body on the 72 Grande is actually better underneath and at the trunk lid filler panel. So I am going to build it, and as a bonus won't have to swap all the brakes, ect.


So the 72 is the one! A little about it... It has the 351C, but there was a small hole in the oil pan, we had it running but it was low on oil and has a slight noise in the bottom. It has an aluminum intake, but I robbed the Holley carb for my daughters truck. So it is coming out, and am building a 351W to put in. The trans is a FMX, that worked other than has no park. So the C4 from the other car, that worked, is going to be rebuilt and installed.


The front end has been banged up, but looks to be just in front of the core support. The front end from the other car is good and will be swapped, other than the hood that will be switched to a new NASA hood. I am also planning on a change to the grill, going with a Mach I style.


The doors have had the hinges changed to Lambo type style, that didn't work anyway. They will be changed to normal. I will prob use the doors from the other car, they are slightly better. Deck lid is dented, but the other is good.


This had a vinyl roof, that has been removed. The top has some pitting, but not thru. On the sides though there are several small holes that need to be addressed. I am not going to put a new top on, I want it painted body color. I will be removing the trim at some point, as it is still on there. The right 1/4 is banged up a little but solid other than a tiny bit at the bottom. The left 1/4 is pretty good. The floors and shock towers all look great, with just a small spot on the passenger side floor that will need work. But overall very solid.


So for the most part, the body itself is good, with most of the work needed will be bolt-on stuff. I am more mechanically inclined than bodywork, so this is a good car for me. There is some bodywork needed, but I feel I can handle it. My plan is to get the new motor and trans in it, and have it drivable for next summer. I will work on the body some this winter, but will prob not be able to finish the body and paint it till next winter. But hey, the rat rod look is in, right?!


This is the first time I have done a build thread on a vehicle, so bear with me. I will try to document as I go, for my own self and for others that may benefit from my experiences either good or bad. I really appreciate this forum, I have already been getting tips and help thru here from other members, and maybe this can help give back. And with that being said, let's begin!!










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This white/light gray one is the 71 I will be using for parts. Someday, when I am all done with my build, I will prob put this up for sale. It is still saveable, the worst thing is the trunk filler panel at the bottom of the backglass (That I can put my fingers thru!) .  The 1/4's have had some Bondo put in them, no idea on how bad they were or how much is in there. But since the other is better, that is the one I am building.




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Got the old front end off. It looks like everything on the car itself is good, other than the little tab where the front bumper mount plate bolts on is bent a little, but 30 seconds with a hammer will fix that! The core support and front structure all looks straight.


The old hood bent at the hinge, and the PO bondo'ed the outside up. It is going to scrap, and a new NASA hood will be going on. I have a good flat hood on the other car, but I want the looks of the Mach I type hood. Next, going to remove carpet and seats to see what awaits me in the floor... Hopefully not too bad!

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Seats and carpet out...  Looks as good as I was hoping! There is a small spot on the driver side in the back seat area, like 3 inches square, that needs a patch. And the passenger front floor needs fixed, that I saw from underneath so no surprise there. Pretty much just a flat section, I was planning on buying a floor section, but may just use flatstock, I'll decide when I get to that. I just wanted to evaluate it for now. I hit some of the floor with a wire wheel to make sure there weren't any other spots, and it looks good other than those 2 areas.


I also cleaned out the trunk of trash. The floor looks good back there, I didn't wire wheel it, but there don't seem to be any spots that look like anything at all. Overall, very pleased with what I found today!








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  • 4 weeks later...

Got a little more done...  Cut out the small hole on the driver side rear floor, and welded in a pice of steel. I cut it a little oversize, put it under the car, and welded it in. There was a spot that was still thin in the floor on an edge, took a little welding to build it back up after blowing thru it. next time I know I need to go a little further on the cutting out.  I ground the welds a alittle and covered with chassis saver paint. I was not concerned with making it look too pretty, it will be covered up anyway, and this is just a "Driver". I need to do the big spot on the passenger front floor before I can finish cleaning and painting the floor.





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New wheels and tires are here! I don't need them yet, of course, but part of the gathering... Plus I wanted to see what they are like! lol


Fronts are 15x8 with 4.5" BS, and 235-60-15 tires. Rear are 15x9  and 5" BS, with 295-50-15 tires. Wheels are from US Mags, and tires are Mickey Thompsons.


Front suspension is apart, but put a rear wheel on to check fit. I have about 1 3/4" from edge of tire to leaf spring. At the top about 1 1/4" from tire to the bracket with the rubber stop. (The pic angle makes it look closer than it is at the top) The only problem is the top of tire to the wheelwell is 4 1/2"! I want an old school jacked up look, but this might be too much. Hard to tell in the garage and on jackstands, plus it has new 5 leaf springs that haven't settled. Plus all the weight off the car right now, motor/trans, doors, ect, so hopefully will drop some. 


Overall, pretty happy. If I had a choice, I would go with 10" rear wheels, and about 5 1/2" BS for a nice fit. This style wheels aren't available like that, these were the closest I could get but should work ok.





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  • 2 weeks later...

Got the front passenger floorboard fixed! This was the worst part, the rest of the floor is good, other than the other small patch already done. This section was bad basically between the rocker and the subframe. 


I cut out that section. I almost just used a flat piece of steel, buy decided to put a pan in it. I debated on how I wanted to do it for a bit. That section was bad. The floor above the subframe was pretty good, but had a couple of pinholes in it. I didn't really want to cut that out, as the subframe was really good. I thought about just a little metal fill or undercoating. I finally decided to just put the pan on top and weld on. It is kinda overkill as far as strength, but doesn't hurt anything. So the old piece now has fresh steel, and the rest of the floor is basically double thick. I was able to weld all around the outside of the patch up top, and under I welded the new floor pan to the subframe and all around the edge where the old was cut out.


I did use chassis saver paint on the old floor before putting the new in place. Once everything was welded, I did a little grinding. I wasn't too concerned about grinding everything smooth, just knocking down some of the high. As I said earlier, this build is a daily driver, I have no intention of selling or making this a show car. And, this will be under carpet anyway, so while not a "Proper" repair for a concours restoration, it suits my needs ok. 


I threw some chassis saver on the new floor, and will use some seam sealer at some point. Then it won't hardly be noticeable unless you know it is there and look for it... Or if you put it in a build for everyone to see!! lol


There are a couple of screw holes in the floor from the old exhaust I want to weld up, otherwise I just need to do some wire wheel cleaning and the floor will be ready for paint.


As a side note, while I was in the middle of this patch, my welder died. It was a Hobart Handler 180, 240 volts. It was a little tricky to use on thin metal in bodywork. The "Feed" quit, I need to see about getting it fixed. In the mean time, I bought a new Hobart 240MVP. It will run either 110 or 240 volts. I used it to finish the patch, and using it on 110 was much easier to use and not blow thru the metal! I think I will use this as my main unit, and hopefully get the other fixed as a backup. Can't complain too bad, it was prob 15 years old, and never had a problem till now with it.









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Had "1 of those days" today in the garage. Nothing major, but you know them...  Everything fights, and takes 3 times longer than it should!


Got most of the front suspension together. The right front coil spring wasn't seated quite right at first, and had to play with that. The left side brakes was missing an anti-rattle spring, so I ordered a new one. Went to put it on, and found the little bolt had been broken off in the hole, explains why the clip wasn't there, lol. Guess it is staying that way for now, wish I had seen that when the spindle was off, would have messed with it then. 


I put new control arms on it, figured the ones on it were prob original, so due for some fresh balljoints. Good thing too, the right upper arm came apart at the shaft when I took it off! I had seen that it had loosened up, the nut had backed off, didn't realize it was actually completely apart though. That could have been a bad day on the road!  When I got the new arm out of the package, I put the straight zerks on it. After installing it and getting everything together, realized that it would be almost impossible to grease. So while still on the car, got the straight ones off, and finally managed to get some 90 degree zerks on them without tearing everything apart. Took awhile, but was able to do it. Had 1 zerk that just wouldn't point the correct way, I was afraid to strip the hole out by turning it too much, and too loose when pointed out like it should. I put some locktite on the threads and left it loose, and will check it tomorrow to see if it holds. If not, it is steel, I will tack it in place. That's your tip of the day, do those BEFORE installing the upper arm!


Went to put the strut rods on, but with the car in the air with the lower arm hanging, can't get the right angle to install them. I tried to jack up the bottom of the arm, but with no motor in it, was just raising the whole car, not compressing the spring, so decided to wait on those till the motor is in. 


At this point, I decided to just do some mindless wirewheel work since nothing wanted to go right. So cleaned up the floor and top of the trunk floor. Got it basically done, and started on the chassis saver paint. Got most of the floor done, and ran out of paint! Never made it to the trunk. I'll have to get more next week. Offically decided to quit for the day and watch some football!


I will mess with it tomorrow if I feel like it. Been working on cars long enough to know there are days like this, sometimes all you can do is try again another time. Smh! But I told myself, when I started this build thread, I was going to show warts and all, things don't always go the way I wanted. That's life!



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  • 7 months later...

Well, time for an update, which isn't much of an update at all. But I went to a car cruise tonight, and made me think about this.


Basically, I have stalled...  Just after my last update, my Mother, who had been in failing health for a while, and we lived with her to help take care of her, got worse. She had a stroke years ago, and 1 side of her body didn't work. She finally had a fall, and after a hospital stay had to go to a nursing home as she needed round the clock care we couldn't provide. Then, in March, she passed.


The motor is still at the builders shop, he has been busy, and my engine hasn't been done yet.  He does really good work, and he drag races during the summer, so I haven't pushed him since the body is all apart anyway.  Ditto for the trans, at another shop.  Good work there too, but he is known for being slooooow.


I kind of got in a funk, and it was also time to gear up for racing season, so the car sat. It is still on stands, in the same place in the garage. In the meantime, on our race Neons, we have changed a couple of motors, trans, and various repairs all summer long. 


So now tonight, I went to a car cruise, and the bug to get working on it again started in my mind! It has a layer of dust, but I think when race season is done, I want to get on it again.  I did some body work before my Mom  got sick, and I need to update that, hopefully soon. Thanks for being patient, just sometimes life gets in the way!!

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Sorry about your mom.


About the changeover of the front structure from one car to the next - be sure and document such transfer. You are actually taking the Vin and changing for another because a partial vin is stamped in the section under where the front fenders bolt up on each car. Some go to lengths to document/photograph such swaps of structural metal. Probably good to also swap the buck tag usually located behind the headlight assembly.



1971 Boss 351  

1972 Q code 4 speed convertible 

1971 Mustang Sportsroof  351-2V FMX 

1971 Hardtop (parts car)

1973 Mach 1 (parts car)

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  • 1 year later...

Well, it has been a while, amazing how time flies! I see it has been just over a year since my last update. 


Just like last year, a local car show has peaked my interest, and motivated me to get back on the project.  Race season is over, and while we are going to be working on the Neons for next summer, I have made it clear that the Mustang is a priority to get in the garage. I have made it a goal to get it running, and drive it next summer not painted, and getting to the paint hopefully next winter. But I want it driveable this spring!


As I posted before, I had some personal issues that knocked me off my game.  Seems like there is always something else going on, or more important. And as much as we all love our cars, they are only cars, afterall. I do want to thank those of you for your thoughts after my losing my Mother. It's amazing how much people that don't even know each other can support each other!


The car is at storage, but will be coming back to the garage soon. Just a couple of quick racing projects, and back onto it. It will be sharing time with the racecars, as far as being worked on, but I WILL be making time for it, too! 


I have picked up the trans, the shop got it all done, so it is pretty and ready to use. The motor isn't done yet, but I have talked to the builder, and let him know I need it soon. He is THE Ford guy around here. I know he is very good, and very honest, so I'm not worried about getting ripped off. Being that he is so good, and well known in the area, he is very busy. Plus, he drag races, so summer is hard to get anything in. But I should be getting the motor soon if all goes well.


I had done some more body work before my Mom got sick, so I am going to update some of that. I tried to take plenty of pics along the way. As I said, bodywork isn't my specialty, and it is not a concourse restro, just a daily driver. (Or, WILL be, lol!). I'm trying not to have a "Good enough" attitude, but am trying to do the best I can. It may not be perfect, but if I can get it so I'm happy, that is what I am hoping for.


When the top was on, it did the famous "Rust out under". There were some holes where I had to cut out, and weld in some steel. I also started to weld up holes where the chrome trim was, because I'm not putting a top back on, just painting the roof body color. Same for the chrome on the bottom of the car, trim is coming off so I am grinding the mounting studs off.2017-12-21-19-43-19.jpg

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The left quarter is in pretty good shape. The passenger side, though... It was dented at the back, and right in the middle. The was some rust holes in the bottom, and some previous bondo that was cracking. 2017-12-29-14-17-58.jpg


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I decided to replace the panel. Using advice I had been reading, I attached the new quarter to the old, and cut thru both layers just below the top edge of the new one. That made for a good fit. I used these little clamps to hold the new piece to the body, which left a nice little crack to weld them together. this took a LONG time to weld, as I only did tack welds, spaced out, to keep from warping things best I could. I was lucky the inner wheelhouse was in good shape. I used some chassis paint on it before the new quarter went on. 2017-12-29-20-40-15.jpg2017-12-30-12-24-26.jpg2017-12-30-14-27-44.jpg2017-12-30-14-27-59.jpg2017-12-30-14-28-12.jpg2017-12-30-14-28-19.jpg2017-12-30-14-59-33.jpg2017-12-30-14-59-39.jpg2017-12-30-14-28-12.jpg2017-12-30-14-28-19.jpg2017-12-30-14-59-33.jpg2017-12-30-14-59-39.jpg2018-01-13-11-55-17.jpg2018-01-13-11-55-27.jpg

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After grinding, I got a skim coat of filler over it, and over the patch higher up towards the roof. This also took a bit of time to get looking good. The pics make it look like more filler than is really there. After I got it looking pretty good I got some primer on it. I have just a little shaping to do on a body line when I get back on it, but am pleased it looks decent. Also, not pictured, I sealed the inside of the panel from the trunk. I also used seam sealer where the wheel lip meets the inner housing, and it is all painted with the chassis saver paint like the floor was.2018-01-13-11-55-37.jpg2018-01-13-11-55-46.jpg2018-01-14-13-26-26.jpg2018-01-14-13-26-33.jpg2018-01-20-16-17-54.jpg2018-01-20-16-18-00.jpg2018-01-20-16-18-06.jpg2018-01-20-17-19-36.jpg

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This is about how it sits right now in storage.  I will be working on getting the motor while finishing a couple of projects, then the car comes back. As of now, I want to get the motor and trans in, and hook everything up. I want to get it ready to run and move. I have headers for it, once everything is hooked up and headers on, I will trailer it to the exhaust shop for pipes. Once I have it running, doors, fenders, ect can go back on. I need to seal any bare metal to prevent rust, but other than that there prob won't be any more bodywork done for now unless all the rest of the winter race projects go well.. HA HA!! 


I'll get the interior together enough to use, but not too worried about that yet. Like I said, my goal for now is to get it so I can drive it in the spring, and upgrade from there. I'll try to keep taking pics, and updating when I have some progress to show. Thanks again for all the comments, they help to keep me motivated to update this thread. Hopefully it helps someone out there, to see what I am doing, and they can learn either how to do something, or how NOT to do it! I am excited to get back on this, and hope you are enjoying following along

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