I've never had a project car

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MooseStang

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Marti is great, but...  it's a starting point. When I got my vert, I got practically zero history on the car.  And as I dig into stuff, I occasionally find things that don't match.  Expect the occasional unexpected,  and ask lots of questions.   I know I do.

 

71 gbvert

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Bought it in 1986. Base model convertible with a 302 3spd.
Welcome from Illinois!  That is a great backstory to your car, and your friend. The advice you’ve received by the others before me are all good and I’ll just add two more.  

1. Take a lot of pictures of everything - it’ll help you in the future and because as said before, we like pics!

2. DO NOT throw ANYTHING away. There are considerable amounts of parts being reproduced, but there is an even greater number that are not.  Read through some build threads and you’ll understand. Our friends outside the US understand this sometimes better than we do here.

Just take your time, get it drivable, and make your plans on what you want to fix or get done next.  Enjoy your Mustang!

 
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Welcome from Western Canada. Sad story about your best friend.

I echo everyone’s advice here, but I suggest most importantly have fun with the car.

Don’t let restoration “creep” take over your life and pocketbook, if you can help it...but easier said than done.

Similar to you my car has sentimental value....as it was my high school car.

My car was parked in a garage for almost 30 years...but was in good shape

in winter of 2018, I had the body and paint redone

in the fall of 2019, I decided to redo the interior...it started with reupholstering the seats, and replacing the carpet.

While I was at it, I added this and that and so on (ie restoration creep) ....last night I finally moved the car out of the garage, after almost 2 years of it being apart.

I still have work to do...but over time I have to say it was tough to stay motivated.   For me everything that should have taken an hour to do, took a weekend or a week.   I installed parts, then had to redo things multiple times.

In hindsight, it was fun, frustrating and rewarding at the same time...but it was nice diversion from all the nonsense going on in the world these days.

good luck, with whatever you decide to with your project..And have fun doing it

 

MikeGriese

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Body work will be your most expensive cost, mostly due to labor.  This is where you really need to think about what you want to end up with.  I took my car to a shop that I trust and know does excellent work.  I told them my car was their lowest priority and to work on it whenever they got around to it.  They took me at their word.  Everything was stripped from the car and every panel, seam, weld, and fastener was evaluated and corrected.  Eight years later I have a fabulous paint job with all corrosion removed.  The body is "flat" - you look down the sides and can't see a ripple or seam.  Park the car by a window and stand with the car between you and the window and you cannot see the color of the car in the reflection from the window.  All of the factory spot welds were reproduced when any bodywork needed to be replaced, and the minimum amount of steel was removed.  Patches were taken out of replacement panels vs replacing entire panels.  Very labor intensive, but the shop used the car as a way to work out techniques and processes for their staff.  The finish is better than new.  Sounds great, but that totally raised the bar for all of the other parts that go back on the car, so now I'm "that guy" looking for proper finishes and date codes for everything else.  On the plus side, I am learning a lot more about these cars and the things I can do myself vs having to pay a shop for (although to be honest, with the number of times I have to redo something because it's not quite right makes the cost thing a wash - or worse).  The downside is, the car has been off the road a lot longer than I intended, and there is still about 2 years to go.  But damn - it's gonna be nice.  Basically, beware of scope creep.

With your floors and trunk needing replacement, I would expect to see rust in the rear wheel housings, cowl, and core support.  What you replace or repair will depend on what you want of the car when you are done.  I would recommend anything structural be replaced, and anything that can lead to future damage (like a leaky cowl) be at least repaired.  Anything cosmetic is up to you.  All of these parts are reproduced to one level or another (cheap stampings from China on eBay to pretty faithful reproductions from Dynacorn).  In general, the less you pay for the part, the more you pay in labor to get it to fit properly.  If you are going to do any of the work yourself, particularly disassembly and reassembly, take pictures of EVERYTHING, from as many angles as you can, even of things that seem unimportant - like holes and brackets.  Lay parts you take off on the floor in an exploded assembly view and take pictures of that, with closeups where fasteners go.  Bag and tag anything that comes off the car.  Don't get rid of anything until you have a replacement on the car, even if you are replacing them with aftermarket parts or upgrades.  I like to group things by subassembly, but that's just me.  Add notes to the pictures, and save them in folders that make sense to you and then back them up.  Twice.  They will become invaluable when you get ready to sign off on bodywork before the car gets painted, or you put stuff back together.  A lot of the reproduction panels don't have all the holes put in them for all of the features of the car - like holes in cowls and firewalls for vacuum lines, brake proportioning valves, or any other option you have, the AC condensation drain in the floor, or various wire passthroughs, fold down seat supports, spare tire supports, etc., in the trunk floor panels.  You can't always count on the body shop to know where these things go.  And no matter how many photos you take, you will wish you had taken just a few more.

As far as shop selection goes, it's a bit of a crapshoot if you are going in cold.  Go to car shows and talk to owners who have cars that look like where you want yours to end up and ask them where they got their work done and would they go back to that shop again.  Then visit the shop and ask for a tour.  Shops that do collision work as their mainstay have a different mindset from shops that do custom work or shops that do restoration work.  I would recommend against a force fit between what you want vs what the shop is best at.  Be aware that no shop can guarantee an estimate (time or cost) and Run Away from any shop that does.  Old cars contain secret surprises that don't get revealed until the car comes apart, and by then you are committed to dealing with them.  Most shops aren't doing this to mess with you - it just is. 

Well that got a lot longer than I expected.  I could go on and on, but I think I'll wait to see what questions you might have so far.

 

Don C

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A set of Shop Manuals (5 volumes plus wiring diagrams) would be the first one I would get. Even if you don't plan on doing all of the work yourself it is a good reference to make sure whoever is doing the work isn't blowing smoke when they tell you what needs to be done.

While a set of Assembly Manuals are a great reference for reassembling your car, taking pictures of the tear-down are even better. The illustrations in them are a good reference as well as some of the detailed instructions on how some things go together.

The Parts Manuals are also a good reference, especially the illustrations, which show exploded views of the parts.

Hard copies of the manuals are available, repro from vendors, originals from eBay sometimes. Electronic (pdf) versions of all of them are also available from vendors.

SHOP MANUAL, PRINTED, 1971 FORD MERCURY CAR - #L-27A - National Parts Depot (npdlink.com)

SHOP MANUAL, 1971 - #L-SM-71C - National Parts Depot (npdlink.com)

The colorized version of the wiring is nice, but not necessary, the wiring diagrams are available on this forum in the Wiki section.

WIRE DIAGRAMS, 1971 - #L-WD-71A - National Parts Depot (npdlink.com)

CD, FACTORY ASSEMBLY MANUALS, 1971-1973, 6 VOLUME SET - #L-FAM-7173A - National Parts Depot (npdlink.com)

Ford eBook Downloads 3 (factoryrepairmanuals.com)

If you don't have one, the owners manual is also nice to have, also available from many of the vendors in hard copy.

By the way, welcome from Oregon.

 

Bentworker

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Don is spot on with the books.  I have all the ones he listed and find myself looking at the assembly manuals most often.  If you disassemble the car take a lot of pictures and save them in multiple places.  I had a ton of pics on my encrypted work phone.  My youngest decided at about 5 years old that she was going to play games on my work phone.  After multiple wrong passcodes the phone wiped itself clean.  I lost my pics and learned a lesson. 

On the subject of shopping for paint / body folks.  It is tricky, 90% if shops want nothing to do with restoration work.  I suggest going to some car shows within 100 miles of you, and walking around looking for the nicest paint.  Strike up some conversations and find out who did the work, when they did it and if they would use them again.  In your case you will need some pretty serious metal replacement so finding someone skilled in that will be a must.  Be prepared to sell a kidney.

 

DryCreekNurse

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A set of Shop Manuals (5 volumes plus wiring diagrams) would be the first one I would get. Even if you don't plan on doing all of the work yourself it is a good reference to make sure whoever is doing the work isn't blowing smoke when they tell you what needs to be done.

While a set of Assembly Manuals are a great reference for reassembling your car, taking pictures of the tear-down are even better. The illustrations in them are a good reference as well as some of the detailed instructions on how some things go together.

The Parts Manuals are also a good reference, especially the illustrations, which show exploded views of the parts.

Hard copies of the manuals are available, repro from vendors, originals from eBay sometimes. Electronic (pdf) versions of all of them are also available from vendors.

SHOP MANUAL, PRINTED, 1971 FORD MERCURY CAR - #L-27A - National Parts Depot (npdlink.com)

SHOP MANUAL, 1971 - #L-SM-71C - National Parts Depot (npdlink.com)

The colorized version of the wiring is nice, but not necessary, the wiring diagrams are available on this forum in the Wiki section.

WIRE DIAGRAMS, 1971 - #L-WD-71A - National Parts Depot (npdlink.com)

CD, FACTORY ASSEMBLY MANUALS, 1971-1973, 6 VOLUME SET - #L-FAM-7173A - National Parts Depot (npdlink.com)

Ford eBook Downloads 3 (factoryrepairmanuals.com)

If you don't have one, the owners manual is also nice to have, also available from many of the vendors in hard copy.

By the way, welcome from Oregon.
Heck yeah, this is exactly what I want to know. I don’t want to spend $80 on a set of vintage service manuals online only to find out they’re not going to be helpful. My public library card went to an online format, I’m trying to get my card to work in the new system. 

I picked up a new 3-ring binder, it’s fabulous and I love it.

  F5AA28C3-1A50-4BDD-B32A-2938A613EDC1.jpeg

My spouse is at drill today, so I’m watching Game of Thrones and working on an excel workbook for parts. 
 

Painting is probably the only part I’m not sweating over. I hauled it down to my uncle’s place, he’s a painter.
I didn’t ask him if he’d do it, I asked him if he’d teach me. I said, “You’re gonna croak someday, and I need you to pass your wisdom down.” He said I have to come over and help him with his roof tomorrow. I’d love to learn how to spray, I’d paint everything if I knew how. 
 

 
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Big welcome and nice project to have   :beer:

My first piece of advice is the base 3 ...

  1. Make a list of all the jobs 
  2. Try and list out all the things each job will require 
  3. Cost it out - and prepare a budget 

From these basic steps one can prioritise and plan  :wrench:  to take on the mountain of work one piece at a time. 

And in these forums - no question is a dumb question :help: - loads of people here with a wealth of experience ...don't be afraid to ask  :thumb:

 

detritusmaximus

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1970 Sportsroof #2 almost as long
1971 Sportsroof M-code #3 needs money
2008 GT #4 where the money went
One thing to remember/decide, not every car has to be a 100 point show quality restoration. There is much more interest these days in cars with 'patina'. There are two benefits to this, one is that you don't have to rob a bank and the other is that an imperfect driver is not as anxiety inducing as an expensive resto. A good mechanical restoration of the drivetrain, suspension, brakes and fixing any rust issues can be done in steps as time and money permit. Even the interior can be done. Body and paint, potentially the priciest part,  can be decided later, while you enjoy driving it.

 
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cwalker509

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1971 Mustang Convertible
1971 Mustang Mach I
1972 Mexican GT-351
First, sorry for your loss but it is special that you have such regard for your friend after all these years.

Second...welcome from MO!

Last.....listen to the folks here. Restoring a car is painstaking and, at times, frustrating. Set your expectations for what you want it to be when you are done. My restoration started 26 yrs ago and languished for a good portion of it. I hope u can keep your car inside or at least under a roof with concrete or a vapor barrier underneath it. Ask questions here. It looks like some members are sorta close by. Go to some local car shows and find similar cars. Strike up a conversation with those owners. Look for a local or regional Mustang or Ford club. In a year or two you will have a few local folks. I have a few around me that are on this forum. More pics are always welcome and there are no stupid questions (only arrogant answers)

 

Fredensborg

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Welcome from another Minnesotan! Sorry for your loss, but glad to hear you were able to keep the car in your circle.

 

DryCreekNurse

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I’ve been carefully pulling up carpet and looking inside the dash with sniper mirrors hoping to find a secret hidden build sheet. 
Like Nicolas Cage on some kind of motor city treasure hunt. 

Then today Marti museum sent me an email about my VIN matching the Lois Eminger records. 

What in Great Odin’s beard, they just have boxes of old paperwork that a plant worker pulled out a dumpster 50 years ago? I’ve been trying to wrap my head around the idea that someone had the foresight to save this paperwork. 

 

7173Vert

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One thing to remember/decide, not every car has to be a 100 point show quality restoration. There is much more interest these days in cars with 'patina'. There are two benefits to this, one is that you don't have to rob a bank and the other is that an imperfect driver is not as anxiety inducing as an expensive resto. A good mechanical restoration of the drivetrain, suspension, brakes and fixing any rust issues can be done in steps as time and money permit. Even the interior can be done. Body and paint, potentially the priciest part,  can be decided later, while you enjoy driving it.
In my experience, 99% of them are less then a 100 point restoration. These are one of the toughest car’s to restore back to factory, so the majority choose not too. Hat’s off to those who take on this difficult challenge to try and preserve the original history of some these car’s…

 
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Welcome and my sincere condolences for the loss of a friend. 

This site has been incredibly helpful in our restoration. I could not be where we are without this site and all the great wisdom that is shared. All the vendors here are top notch.

A big help before our Mach 1 was started was reading through many of the builds. Tips were stored away for later, ideas for planning out the stages really popped out and frustrations put my mind at ease, knowing I'm not the only one that can have a bad day in the garage.

Don't get locked into a timeline for completion (stuff happens). Remember the good times with your friend and the Mustang. Hang onto the vision you dream about no matter how tough some days are with your restoration. Yes, pictures, lots of them. Ziploc bags and a sharpee are a must for parts that come off.

Good luck and wrench well.....

 

droptop73

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Welcome from west Michigan! Before you go wild buying parts, what do you really want to do with the car? There's no sense in building a 500 horse engine to drive to the Whippy Dip on Saturday nights. These can be great road cars (mine is) and handle real well with just a few inexpensive mods. 

 

turtle5353

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Welcome from west Michigan! Before you go wild buying parts, what do you really want to do with the car? There's no sense in building a 500 horse engine to drive to the Whippy Dip on Saturday nights. These can be great road cars (mine is) and handle real well with just a few inexpensive mods. 
Hey there’s  nothing wrong with 500+ hp to go get ice cream!! Lol. 
Thats  where my car gets drove most. 

 

mach71351c

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Sorry to here about the passing of your friend.

What started out as a front end rebuild, heater core, quick paint job turned into ten years 25k and it's still not done. Project cars snowball.

IMG_2829.JPG

 
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