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Looking at a 1973 Coupe


jmcgill89
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Hello,

I'm new to the forum, and this maybe should be posted in the introduction forum, but I don't actually have the car yet, so I figured here would work.

 

I'm looking at a 1973 base model Coupe. It's got a 351C 2bbl, automatic trans, ps, pb, and ac. All, in all, a well optioned car. The body is in fantastic shape with no rust that I could detect (using a magnet) on the body, and an equally low amount of rust on the floors, torque boxes and frame rails. I've looked at a few old Mustangs, and most have either had bad floors or been filled with Bondo, but not this one. The one real flaw on this car is the paint job. It had a Vinyl roof, which the current owner removed. He painted the car himself, and it's not a professional job by any stretch....I guess it could be sanded down and polished, but it still wouldn't be great.

 

The car came out of South Carolina, and the odometer registers like 56K miles. The motor (aside from needing a tune-up) ran very well, and sounded great with no major knocks or other sort of wayward sounds.

 

Over the objections of my wife (she thinks it's too '70s) I went and drove it yesterday, and was really impressed. It drove really well, and even though the Cleveland was neutered by emissions crap, it still pulled very nicely, and it was a totally different driving experience from anything I've had before.

 

I'm a car guy, but have never owned a classic American car. I've had 4 VW's and have built motors, done suspension, etc on them. The Cleveland is a big motor compared to the VW unit, and I'm a bit frightened of working on it.

 

I guess I'm just trying to get some experiences/advice from the guys who are passionate about these cars, as I've not gotten much response on the other Mustang forums. I just don't want to end up with regret either way...from not purchasing it and wishing I had, or from making the wrong decision.

 

Thanks,

 

Joe

1973 Mustang Hardtop 351C 2V

2010 Harley-Davidson Street Bob

2002 Excursion 7.3L Diesel

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I actually looked inside the Cowl yesterday, taking the grates off. I will need to take a better look, I guess, but I didn't see any rust in there.

 

::welcome:: and before you buy it take a flashlight and look at the cowl area. You can look through the grates right below the windshield and under the dash. This is where they like to rust out and the parts are not reproduced yet.

 

 

1973 Mustang Hardtop 351C 2V

2010 Harley-Davidson Street Bob

2002 Excursion 7.3L Diesel

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Joe, Sounds like a fine car that you could enjoy while you work on it. As Roy mentioned, the cowl is a problematic area. It sounds like you've already examined the others in frame rails, torque boxes, floor pans. Look at the base of the shock towers as well.

 

If the car is priced right, go for it. I can assure you that if you have ANY question related to restoration, maintenance or performance as you go along, this forum has the folks with the answers who are always willing to share their knowledge.

 

Mark

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The seller is asking under $4K for it, which caught my eye, as I haven't been able to find rust-free VW's for less than that around here.

 

I will also look at the shock towers when I go look at it again this week.

 

Is there any consensus about how hard it is to work on the 351C? I've not had any experience with V-8's.

 

Joe, Sounds like a fine car that you could enjoy while you work on it. As Roy mentioned, the cowl is a problematic area. It sounds like you've already examined the others in frame rails, torque boxes, floor pans. Look at the base of the shock towers as well.

 

If the car is priced right, go for it. I can assure you that if you have ANY question related to restoration, maintenance or performance as you go along, this forum has the folks with the answers who are always willing to share their knowledge.

 

Mark

 

 

1973 Mustang Hardtop 351C 2V

2010 Harley-Davidson Street Bob

2002 Excursion 7.3L Diesel

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Sounds like a nice car and the price sounds good. +1 on checking out the cowl area, The 351C is an easy engine to work on and it doesn't have all the polution stuff of a modern car plus parts are readily available for it.

Jim

drive it like you stole it

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Is there a way you can remove some of the pollution stuff from the 1973 motor to restore some of the power robbed from it, or did Ford make internal changes to lower the compression ratio, etc that made it impossible to return the power?

 

Just checking, because it had plenty of pickup even with all the smog stuff on it (at least it seemed that way to a guy who drives a Mazda and who's other car is a Diesel Excursion).

 

Sounds like a nice car and the price sounds good. +1 on checking out the cowl area, The 351C is an easy engine to work on and it doesn't have all the polution stuff of a modern car plus parts are readily available for it.

Jim

 

 

1973 Mustang Hardtop 351C 2V

2010 Harley-Davidson Street Bob

2002 Excursion 7.3L Diesel

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All of the 2v motors were low compression. But aftermarket 4V intakes are available, as are headers and other parts. They used big chambered heads to drop the compression, so you could get a set of edelbrock or trick flow cleveland heads, among others.. and bump the compression a couple of points... Otherwise, you could enjoy rodding on cheap gas.

1973 Mach 1 Q code 351 4V, 9A paint, standard interior, 3.50 rear, C6 trans.

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Simply installing a pre-emissions (no retard) timing set and recurving the distributor makes a big difference.

 

Steeper gears make a huge difference as well. Any engine with the distributor in the front is easy to work on IMHO.:D

73 conv. 460, D0VE large valve heads, Performer RPM manifold, Voodoo 227/233 cam, Holley 950 HP carb, C6 trans, 3.25 trak-loc.

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Welcome to the site from Warrenton Virginia.

 

I came across this ad on Craiglist http://fredericksburg.craigslist.org/cto/2780707758.html

and if it is the one you are looking at it looks nice. The scoop on the hood is not stock. But the coupe looks like it came with the exterior Decor Option which gives it the honeycomb grill and the chrome stripe dividing the black accent on the sides. Racing mirrors and rear bumper overrider's were an option too. Sounds like a very fair price based on your description of the condition. May have been a Mustang Grande (luxery trim) if it had the vinyl roof. The body style code in on the sticker on the drivers door, Grande was code 65F and the coupe was 65D. Good luck and keep us posted. By the way I like the white/black color combo!

Mike AKA Ole Pony & Rare Pony
Our current Mustang garage/driveway
1973 Mustang Convert - Bought in 1974 - Still have it!
2004 Mach 1 Oxford White Auto, Bought Sept 06

20180127_082009.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

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the 351C is no more or less difficult to work on than any other pushrod V8. It does have double the cylinders of the VW and it is water cooled so a few more parts. But then again it doesn't have the Chinese sheet metal puzzle that attempts to create a heater on a VW. As others have said there are a number of low to medium cost changes you can make to increase the responsiveness of the car. Good luck, Chuck

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I think you're right about the decor option. The Owner said it was "made to look like a Mach 1" but as I researched I discovered that the decor group had all the things this car has.

 

He claims to have checked out the codes, and it wasn't a Grande...plus, the interior has no wood grain or little clock.

 

I'm going to look again on Wednesday with a buddy who knows American cars better than I....we'll see if it turns up any rust.

 

Welcome to the site from Warrenton Virginia.

 

I came across this ad on Craiglist http://fredericksburg.craigslist.org/cto/2780707758.html

and if it is the one you are looking at it looks nice. The scoop on the hood is not stock. But the coupe looks like it came with the exterior Decor Option which gives it the honeycomb grill and the chrome stripe dividing the black accent on the sides. Racing mirrors and rear bumper overrider's were an option too. Sounds like a very fair price based on your description of the condition. May have been a Mustang Grande (luxery trim) if it had the vinyl roof. The body style code in on the sticker on the drivers door, Grande was code 65F and the coupe was 65D. Good luck and keep us posted. By the way I like the white/black color combo!

 

 

1973 Mustang Hardtop 351C 2V

2010 Harley-Davidson Street Bob

2002 Excursion 7.3L Diesel

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The cleveland is a good base motor and extracting some extra HP out of it is fairly easy. Before you start buying parts do a little research and understand there were basically two types of Clevelands with the main difference being the cyl heads. Different years had different cams and valve trains but when you are looking at aftermarket parts like intakes and headers you need to know which parts to purchase. It's not complex, it's just something you need to know. Also, for also made a windsor and after the cleveland a 351M. Most of the parts do not interchange.

 

You can find several threads about the differences and what parts work. You can also post up 'hey I am thinking about buying this manifold will it work' here and get the correct answer. :)

 

A 4bbl carb and aftermarket intake along with an electronic distributor will really wake that motor up.

'Mike'

73 Convertible - 351C/4V CC heads/4bolt/forged flat tops/comp 270/rhodes/mallory unilite/tri-power/hookers/glasspacks/c6/3.50 limited slip/Gear Vendors/Global West sub frames, strut rods and shelby style traction bars/ Rear sway bar/tilt steering (not original)

 

Pics of modifications included in: [button=http://www.7173mustangs.com/thread-1973-convertible--3335]My Garage[/button]

 

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Good to know about the Cleveland. The guy said something about lead substitute in the gas....something about the valves needing it.

 

If my research was correct, the 1973 351 2v's came with like an 8.6 compression ratio. That would make it able to run on lower octane gas a tad better. I don't know much about lead substitues. In the old VW's they were such crude motors you could run crap gas and no lead substitute.

 

 

The cleveland is a good base motor and extracting some extra HP out of it is fairly easy. Before you start buying parts do a little research and understand there were basically two types of Clevelands with the main difference being the cyl heads. Different years had different cams and valve trains but when you are looking at aftermarket parts like intakes and headers you need to know which parts to purchase. It's not complex, it's just something you need to know. Also, for also made a windsor and after the cleveland a 351M. Most of the parts do not interchange.

 

You can find several threads about the differences and what parts work. You can also post up 'hey I am thinking about buying this manifold will it work' here and get the correct answer. :)

 

A 4bbl carb and aftermarket intake along with an electronic distributor will really wake that motor up.

 

 

1973 Mustang Hardtop 351C 2V

2010 Harley-Davidson Street Bob

2002 Excursion 7.3L Diesel

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WELCOME aboard, Joe!

 

The heads on the '73 351C utilized harden valve seats which negated the requirement for leaded gasoline. Most folks would agree that the 2V heads are a much better compromise performance wise "on the street" as the larger ports of the 4V motors work better at higher RPMs.

 

In the end, you can spend a little or a LOT, dependent upon where you want to go with your Mustang. It sounds as if you are looking at a prett solid Mustang and the asking price seems reasonable.

 

Whatever your decision, please note that you are WELCOME here to learn more and/or participate in discussions relative to the Mustangs that we love.

 

Again, Welcome!

 

BT

Do the RIGHT thing.

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I really appreciate all the help and insight!

 

You guys make me wish I already had the car. Toughest part is convincing the wife. There are two classes of cars I can buy for her:

 

1. She doesnt like the fact that I have it, but can accept the car

2. She hates the car so much that she won't sit in it.

 

I've had both classes, and trust me, the second class makes for a tough marriage:s

 

WELCOME aboard, Joe!

 

The heads on the '73 351C utilized harden valve seats which negated the requirement for leaded gasoline. Most folks would agree that the 2V heads are a much better compromise performance wise "on the street" as the larger ports of the 4V motors work better at higher RPMs.

 

In the end, you can spend a little or a LOT, dependent upon where you want to go with your Mustang. It sounds as if you are looking at a prett solid Mustang and the asking price seems reasonable.

 

Whatever your decision, please note that you are WELCOME here to learn more and/or participate in discussions relative to the Mustangs that we love.

 

Again, Welcome!

 

BT

 

 

1973 Mustang Hardtop 351C 2V

2010 Harley-Davidson Street Bob

2002 Excursion 7.3L Diesel

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I can only hope that is the case. I doubt she'd drive it at least not at first.

 

Put her behind the wheel once and you may find a hobby you can enjoy together! :-)

 

 

1973 Mustang Hardtop 351C 2V

2010 Harley-Davidson Street Bob

2002 Excursion 7.3L Diesel

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Welcome to our little corner of the internet, Joe. I agree with everything others have said. If you get the car (which I hope you do) you'll find the answers here to just about any question you have about your car. I'm in the finishing stages of rebuilding my '73 351 2V, and can't wait to let everyone know how she screams. :P I'll be more than happy to share everything I've learned.

 

Doc

Doc

Project started 8-7-10

Completed: All new suspension, rebuilt 351C H Code bored .030 over with mild cam and intake, new 3.50 TracLok, custom exhaust system

Current "mini-project": interior upgrade :-/

[button=http://www.7173mustangs.com/forum-garage?filterxt_uid=76]Doc's Garage[/button][button=http://www.7173mustangs.com/thread-1973-mustang-convertible-restoration-and-modification]Doc's Wiki[/button]

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Welcome to our group. Those who have posted have covered the bases well. I really understand the family issues. My wife HATED!!!! my Pro Street 64 GTO, she tolerates the Mustang much better.

[align=left]Jeff T.

 

When I die I want to die like grandpa, peacefully in my sleep... not screaming, like his passengers. [/align]

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Is there a way you can remove some of the pollution stuff from the 1973 motor to restore some of the power robbed from it, or did Ford make internal changes to lower the compression ratio, etc that made it impossible to return the power?

 

Just checking, because it had plenty of pickup even with all the smog stuff on it (at least it seemed that way to a guy who drives a Mazda and who's other car is a Diesel Excursion).

 

 

 

Welcome!

+1 for being a VW guy. Me too.

+1 for being a diesel Excursion guy. Me too.

I think you'll like being a mustang guy as well.

 

Also look at the cowl area through the glove box door with a flashlight.

 

spacer.png

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All,

 

I really appreciate all the responses.

 

I am going to look at the car again today/tonight, to check out those areas that I didn't check before like the Cowl.

 

Are there any noises or anything else that I should look for as the Cleveland is idling? I know that on my old VW's you could "hear" when an engine was in bad shape whether it was in the heads, or in the inner bearings. The 351 was pretty quiet, much more quiet than I thought it would be. There weren't any consistent rapping sounds, or things that would make me think that a rod was knocking.

 

Also, the guy wants $3500 for it. I hadn't thought of haggling with him, but I might if I find some things I don't like. You guys seem to be thinking that's a pretty fair price, and I'm inclined to go with your advice.

 

Joe

 

Is there a way you can remove some of the pollution stuff from the 1973 motor to restore some of the power robbed from it, or did Ford make internal changes to lower the compression ratio, etc that made it impossible to return the power?

 

Just checking, because it had plenty of pickup even with all the smog stuff on it (at least it seemed that way to a guy who drives a Mazda and who's other car is a Diesel Excursion).

 

 

 

Welcome!

+1 for being a VW guy. Me too.

+1 for being a diesel Excursion guy. Me too.

I think you'll like being a mustang guy as well.

 

Also look at the cowl area through the glove box door with a flashlight.

 

 

 

1973 Mustang Hardtop 351C 2V

2010 Harley-Davidson Street Bob

2002 Excursion 7.3L Diesel

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Ok, you've had time to check it out this evening. Are you now the proud owner of a 73 Coupe?

Mike AKA Ole Pony & Rare Pony
Our current Mustang garage/driveway
1973 Mustang Convert - Bought in 1974 - Still have it!
2004 Mach 1 Oxford White Auto, Bought Sept 06

20180127_082009.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

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In a word, YES.

 

I took my buddy down there with me, and we went over that thing with a fine-toothed-comb. Took it on a long drive, about 8 miles or so, and it ran great. The carb needed some coaxing, as it was cold out, but it ran well once warm. The only thing was that the fluid leak was still there from the auto. In about 5 minutes after we stopped it leaked a decent bit of fluid, but not from the bell housing, but from the passenger side behind the bell housing. My friend said he thinks its either from where the filler tube comes in or from one of the cooler lines.

 

The body is as straight as I mentioned before. No rust anywhere. Unfortunately, the previous owner mig welded all the holes for the quarter panel emblems and the trunk lid emblem. I'm going to have to either get stick on ones, or re-drill the holes.

 

This car is ORIGINAL. Most of the tubes in the engine compartment still have their "Ford tags" with the part numbers on them. It's got the AM radio as well as the Owner's manual. I was suitably impressed. The only interior piece that was disturbing was the fact that there were no lights behind the instruments on the left side, and the speedo light was dim.

1973 Mustang Hardtop 351C 2V

2010 Harley-Davidson Street Bob

2002 Excursion 7.3L Diesel

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