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Tackling the rescue of a butchered fastback


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Hello, I am new here. My name is Bob, and my business is called Mission Garage. I specialize in buying, selling, and servicing collector cars of all brands.

 

This week we took in a 1971 Mustang fastback that is the victim of an amateur “restorer” that was working way out of his skill level. The car was brought to him, apparently in rough condition, by a widow who wanted to have her late husband‘s pride and joy restored. The car has all new floors, rockers, trunk floor replaced; new quarters and wheel housings, and replacement doors. I consider the work to be decent amateur. The car is painted and 3/4 assembled. The work is what I would call decent driver quality.

 

The problem area – The guy talked her into upgrading to a newer drivetrain, citing better power and drivability. He ended up buying a 2002 Mustang with the 4.6 and five speed and set about putting that in the car.

 

I was referred by a friend, because for six months the guy has been promising to get it running, and finally admitted defeat. What I have found is a car with the engine installed and massive gobs of wires going in all directions. Once it was inside my trailer, I lay down to strap it in and I saw a poorly welded crossmember made out of square stock with a rack and pinion bolded to it. The strut rod‘s coming from the lower A-frames to the front most crossmember were gone because this crossmember was in the way. Upon further examination, the strut rods are now running towards the back of the car, bolted to some handmade ears that he welded in. WTF. The transmission mount is fabricated from various pieces of scrap steel and angle iron.

 

Under the hood, it gets even worse. There are various harnesses laid wide open and cut up. There is at least one ECM laying loose against the firewall. I haven’t measured anything, but the engine appears to be slightly cocked. He put the newer car’s radiator in with electric fans. They aren’t connected, and the upper mount is a piece of bare sheet metal tacked on and flashrusted. Inside the car dashboard is incomplete and laying loose. In the passengers foot well is another loose computer with a huge harness running somewhere. He mounted the battery in the trunk and ran cables, but I can’t see that work yet because the car is full of boxes of loose trim and parts. Everything is pieced together with Miss matched screws and bolts.

 

The situation is, the lady has spent a ton of money on the car. She is heartbroken and asked me if there was anyway you could be saved, or if she should just sell it for parts. Of course, anything can be saved with the right amount of work, and I have been down this road before. The question will be if she wants to commit to the time and the cost it will require. The guy that did the work is now fighting cancer; so I doubt she will have any recourse there.

 

This car is so bad that my preliminary game plan would be to find a parts car were they stock front crossmember and put everything back; ditch the modern engine and wiring, and go back to a 302 or something. We can straighten out the wiring and get it running and driving right, but it remains to be seen if she wants to eat that kind of a bill.

 

So, here I am doing some initial research. Any thoughts that any of you want to throw my way would be welcome. Also, any line on a parts car, somewhere reasonably within range of the Northeastern United States.

 

I do have pictures if anyone is interested.

 

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Post up some pics. And welcome from Iowa. Just saw a parts coupe for sale a couple weeks ago in SW Wisconsin. It was a 71 coupe with a 302. Guy wanted $750 (no title). Body and interior was shot but the underside looked decent and it ran and drove and stopped. Kind of far from you but I can see if it is still there when I am back that way this weekend.

73 Grande H Code. Headman long tube headers, T-5 Transmission, 3.70 Traclok, Lowered 1" all around, Aussie 2v heads w/ 2.19 intake, 1.71 exhaust, screw in studs, full roller cam 608/612 lift 280/281 duration LSA 112, Quick Fuel 750 CFM double pumper, AirGap intake.

 

- Jason

 

 

082-hot-rod-power-tour-2017-1970-1970s.jpg

 

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Welcome from Oregon.

 

Sounds like a real mess. Good luck with it.

 

 

“If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.”

--Albert Einstein

 

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Post up some pics. And welcome from Iowa. Just saw a parts coupe for sale a couple weeks ago in SW Wisconsin. It was a 71 coupe with a 302. Guy wanted $750 (no title). Body and interior was shot but the underside looked decent and it ran and drove and stopped

 

Jason- that sounds like just what I would need, I wouldn’t rule it out. If you could get a contact I would be grateful. We are scheduled to sit down with the owner next week after our assessment is done.

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What a mess. It's nearly impossible to figure out somebody else's mess, just about have to strip it and start from the beginning. I'm sure the bottom of the car is even worse than the top. Easy to see why you are looking for a donor.

 

 

“If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.”

--Albert Einstein

 

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That's crazy!!!   Welcome from Tucson, Az.  (Originally from NY)

Thanks

 

Tim

Tucson, Az

1973 SportsRoof

351C bored .040

Crank .020  and Stock cam

Flattop pistons

Edelbrock 4bbl CARB 800 CFM ELEC CHOKE

Edelbrock Performer 2750 Intake Manifold

 

NewPrimedHood_zpsw2jaj0cu.jpg

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HemikillerWow, just wow.

 

Good plan to go back to "original".

 

--------------

 

Yes and you all know I like that (going back to original) plan. :D

 

 But what a large task!  

 

WOW is right!

 

Ray

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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Thank you.

The lady that owns the car has no idea what she’s doing. All she knows is that her late husband loved it, and she wanted to bring it back in his memory. I have no idea how she got hooked up with the guy that did this work, but she thought she was doing it the right way.

 

Definitely, One of the worst things you can do is get involved in trying to clean up somebody else’s basket case. I’ve been down this road before and I do it for the sake of the cars. I know that sounds corny but my life‘s work has been trying to rescue and at least improve great old cars. Everybody has a passion for something, this is mine, is all. And this story means that much more when the car is a family heirloom. My intention is to not only get it running and back together, but make it into something she can really be proud of.

 

Her brother, who met me at the other guys shop and paid his bill when I picked it up, asked me if I thought it could be saved. I told him absolutely, anything can be saved, and I am willing to do it. Of course, I can’t do it for free; so once I do enough research we will bring him and his sister in and show them in person what we have found, and find out if she’s willing to commit the resources it will take. Nobody gets rich doing jobs like this, but for the sake of a beautiful old car I hope she agrees to do it.

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By the way, I went out to the trailer to try to get a couple of pictures of what’s going on underneath. Here’s a shot of the pieced together crossmember. I haven’t measured anything, but I’m sure he never considered bump steer. Another thing, the stabilizer rod that goes from the lower A-frame to the front of the frame had to be deleted because of his crossmember. His solution? Weld an ear back behind the engine and run the rod from the A-frame BACKWARDS. In over 40 years in the business, I have never seen anything like this.

 

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A88-CD261-C54-C-4-ABE-A89-E-E14-B5078-AE11.jpg

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First, welcome to the best Mustang forum out there from SW Ontario Canada.

What the F was he smoking!! I'm way from being an expert on anything, but this! This is totally unbelievable. If you hadn't posted pictures, no-one here would believe you. Perhaps you should present this clown with the "Dumb-ass of the Year" award.

All the best with it,

Geoff.

Geoff.

 I learn something new every day!

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First, welcome to the best Mustang forum out there from SW Ontario Canada.

What the F was he smoking!! I'm way from being an expert on anything, but this! This is totally unbelievable. If you hadn't posted pictures, no-one here would believe you. Perhaps you should present this clown with the "Dumb-ass of the Year" award.

All the best with it,

Geoff.

 

i hear you. In the 15 minutes of contact I had with the guy I got the vibe that he knew he really screwed up. But, he still took a last check form the owner, so who knows. My first loyalty is to the car, and the owner. I think that once they get the story at the least they need to have a conversation with the guy. But I don’t get into that unless asked for legal reasons. I just hope she has the means to let me put the car right.

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WOW, since you do work on cars you know that if the floors, wheel houses and trunk have been replaced and they did not keep the car squared up it is for sure scrap.

Yes you can save anything but put $80,000 in a $5,000 car, NO.

If the chassis / frame is square and doors and trunk align sounds like you need a donor to get the entire front end back.

I myself would never restore a 302 car in a 71 - 73 model. I have 7 of these so I know what the sell for and what it cost to do stuff.

I know she has an attachment to the car but at what cost? The car in the pic. is a one owner car. He ordered the car, dated in the car, got married in the car and raised his family in the car. It was driven in his funeral procession when he passed away. When I bought the car his wife brought out a stack of papers that included his hand written notes of what he wanted on the car when ordered, the original window sticker and all the work ever done.

The model is pretty rare was just one of 82 351 C with three speed transmission. There was actually a centerfold article done in MM last year on this same model.

BTW the insurance value was $16,500 and they gave her the title and is not salvage.

When I had it loaded on dolly and was about to leave she asked if she could have the fender emblems to keep to remember the car and her husband. I took them off for her. She also said if I would fix it she would buy it back.

I took the car apart and sold parts worth more as parts than to fix and sell as a whole. Rare does not make a car valuable. I have a 72 Q code ram air T-5 Mach 1 that was not worth fixing with 35,000 miles on it.

This car was used to keep several others on the road.

I would say sit down and talk with her and estimate the costs and then maybe come up with some way to take part of the car and make a tribute to her husband using some of the parts.

 

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When a man is in the woods and talks and no women are there is he still wrong??:P

David

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First, welcome to the best Mustang forum out there from SW Ontario Canada.

What the F was he smoking!! I'm way from being an expert on anything, but this! This is totally unbelievable. If you hadn't posted pictures, no-one here would believe you. Perhaps you should present this clown with the "Dumb-ass of the Year" award.

All the best with it,

Geoff.

 

i hear you. In the 15 minutes of contact I had with the guy I got the vibe that he knew he really screwed up. But, he still took a last check form the owner, so who knows. My first loyalty is to the car, and the owner. I think that once they get the story at the least they need to have a conversation with the guy. But I don’t get into that unless asked for legal reasons. I just hope she has the means to let me put the car right.

 

 

 The more I think about this, the more questions come to mind.

 Is this guy a licenced body man? Is he a licenced mechanic? If not, then surely what he has done would never  pass a safety inspection. I have no knowledge of US laws, but I'm pretty sure he has broken a few to say the least. If he is licenced, then the powers-that-be in that State should be made aware of the "work" this guy does. He's putting lives in danger, let alone property.

He clearly has taken advantage of the Lady while committing this abomination. If it were me, I'd be politely asking for my money back. Then if he refuses, he'd be getting a summons to small claims court and see how he likes that!

I personally have seen very cleverly done engine and front end conversions, using newer Mustang parts. A friend has a 67 fastback he totally Modded himself using a 4.6 engine and it's supercharged as well. The front end is basically Mustang II. OK this is a 67 not a 71, huge difference, but my point is mods can be done to anything as long as the person doing it knows what he is doing, period.

Geoff.

 I learn something new every day!

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David and Stanglover- I agree with everything you said.

 

In my opinion she does have recourse against the guy. But that aspect is none of my concern. My focus at this point is determining the best way forward for the car.

 

As for the car- he did a decent job with the metal work. The doors, trunk, and hood all shut well, and have good gaps, and panel alignment is very good. I would give the paint an 8 out of 10 for a restored driver car. It looks pretty good until you look close, then you see a few spots of dust here and there. Unfortunately, that is where the acceptability ends.

 

I still have not spoken with the owner. Thus far I have only dealt with her brother, who is obviously not a car guy, or he might have saved her from some of this. I would guess she has probably spent 20 grand or more to this point. After I meet her, I will know more about whether she is willing to spend at least that much more to put the car right.

 

Next week we will get it on the lift and do a full assessment, and develop a suggested game plan. Next thing after that will be an in person meeting with her and the brother, in the shop with the car. Whatever happens, I will keep you all posted. Thank you for your responses!

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Thought I would add some more pictures taken last night. Not the greatest, but you can see the type of mess we’re working with.

 

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Sometimes words just fail, this is one of them. Hard to come up with appropriate derogatory statements or expletives that match the pictures.

 

 

“If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.”

--Albert Einstein

 

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Sometimes words just fail, this is one of them. Hard to come up with appropriate derogatory statements or expletives that match the pictures.

 

 I can think of several choice words for this clown, but then I'd get kicked off the site!! Best let the pictures speak for them selves.

 Can't remember when it was, but there is a "kit" available for the converting 71-73's to rack & pinion and was featured in MM. It does require cutting half the cross member out though as I recall. If this guy had at least done that, it would be better.

I have to wonder if this car is even worth fixing after seeing those pics. The guy can't even lay a good weld down by the looks of it.

Geoff.

 I learn something new every day!

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If the decision is to keep the mod engine I do think that Ford makes a harness for use when going in a Street Rod or Resto Mod situation. You might check on that. I do not see the car ever going back stock cost way too much. Maybe a totally different front suspension would be the answer up front. Again cost is probably going to kill that.

When a man is in the woods and talks and no women are there is he still wrong??:P

David

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If the decision is to keep the mod engine I do think that Ford makes a harness for use when going in a Street Rod or Resto Mod situation. You might check on that. I do not see the car ever going back stock cost way too much. Maybe a totally different front suspension would be the answer up front. Again cost is probably going to kill that.

 

 That’s good to know.  I wouldn’t have thought of Ford actually having something, I would have pictured the aftermarket but didn’t know where to start.

 

 As for the front, there’s a couple different ways we can go. We are able to fab something, but I talked to Steve at Art Morrison‘s and they have a clip we could buy for it, already designed.  Either way, the challenge will be selling the customer. We will see how she feels about 10 grand to do it right, on top of the wiring and finishing the trim. 

 

721-A0585-0-E81-4-DD3-82-B2-1506-F41-E2-A8-B.jpg

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Sometimes words just fail, this is one of them. Hard to come up with appropriate derogatory statements or expletives that match the pictures.

 

 I can think of several choice words for this clown, but then I'd get kicked off the site!! Best let the pictures speak for them selves.

 Can't remember when it was, but there is a "kit" available for the converting 71-73's to rack & pinion and was featured in MM. It does require cutting half the cross member out though as I recall. If this guy had at least done that, it would be better.

I have to wonder if this car is even worth fixing after seeing those pics. The guy can't even lay a good weld down by the looks of it.

 

 The thing is, he did all new floors, rockers, trunks floor, quarters, and wheell tub’s. And all of that work is pretty good. It was the fabricating where he went sideways. 

 

 Given that, and the fact that the car has great sentimental value to the customer, I am going to recommend saving it. 

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Following this story. I cant believe all the stuff done to this car.

BTW if you need an automatic i have the C6 i removed from my car with everything needed. I replaced it with a TKO so i have the transmission, drive shaft, shift lever, linkage, NSS connections, cross member, flex plate, converter, kick down rod, etc. I have these up for sale as a package if interested.

 

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

20160929_171923_edit2_small.jpg

 

1971 M-Code Mach 1 w/Ram Air, 408 stroker, 285/291 0.558" roller cam, Blue Thunder intake, TKO600, Hooker headers with electric cut-offs, FiTech EFI w/ RobBMC PowerSurge pump

Strange center section with Truetrac, 3.5 gear and 31 spline axles, 4-wheel disc brakes

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Let me throw out an idea

 

C4 corvette front suspensions have been adapted to many other vehicles. I see them used and in good shape. usually they are only about 700 with the R&P all it should take is some custom brackets to put it in the front rails and linking up the steering. The butchery would be gone and factory available parts would be there for servicing in the future. As it would eliminate the need for shock towers and coil spring it would leave plenty of room for any motor. other than swapping the front wheels for a gm pattern or redrilling the hubs and rotors the hard part is done likely can use the ford power steering pump. Early units are 60.5 later ones are 61.5 early units have 11" brakes. Later units after 87 IIRC use 12" WHICH WILL MAKE STOCK WHEELS INCOMPATIBLE!

 

I have three right now going into projects ranging from a 29 Tudor, a 56 F100 and . . . perhaps a 73 Mach 1 if the others ever get wrapped up.

 

 

 

Oh and as to pointing the strut rods backwards- he probably got the idea from a Ford 4x4 truck which is sort of set up that way

http://www.7173mustangs.com/gallery/1_01_07_15_8_53_18.png

 

"I love my Hookers!" and "Get some Strange" probably have a different connotation to non automotive enthusiasts!

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