'71 Mach 1: A Father-Daughter Restoration

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Joined
Oct 30, 2023
Messages
17
Reaction score
27
Location
Utica, New York
My Car
1971 Mach 1, Dark Green Metallic
2-door SportsRoof, 351C-2V V-8
[Day 1]

My first car was a $500 '73 Volkswagen Super Beetle--bright orange. The garage down the street did the engine work and I drove it. I did some body work myself . . . I covered the hole in the passenger side floor with a heavy floor mat. Then, armed with a scraper for the inside windshield, I'd trek out into the Upstate New York winter, breathing exhaust fumes and counting the first fifteen miles before the rear engine fed me a few extra degrees of heat. Since then, I bought a new car every 3-5 years, and someone else did the work on it. I'm a marriage therapist in private practice and enjoy woodworking, craft beer, billiards, mountain biking, and hanging out with my wife and daughter (the order depends on the day).

Over the past few years, my daughter, going on age 15, has somehow developed an interest in classic cars (I'm still unsure of where she gleaned that passion) and I had seen the list of her favorites . . . including a '57 Thunderbird. I imagined her driving one of her dream cars one day and hoped it was one of the slower, safer ones. When my cousin passed away, I became involved in cleaning out his estate. I knew he'd had a few classic cars, and we expected to sell them outside of the family. He was a Ford guy: a classic f150, a couple of '90 fox bodies, and two early '70's Mustangs. "Dad!! He has a what??" She grabbed her car list and waved it too close to my face to read it . . . focusing, I saw it, a few lines down: '72 Mustang Mach 1.

So, after an appraisal, a fair-price negotiation, and a call to AAA, I had, sitting in my driveway, a '71 Mach 1. Not quite a '72, but my daughter has no complaints.

She hadn't seen it yet. And when she came lumbering up the street after school, she nearly lost her mind. I'll admit, I couldn't keep my eyes off it: Long hood. Dual scoops. Rear spoiler. A couple small patches of rust. Barely noticeable misaligned bumper. Beautifully sloped rear window. Great color. And an engine . . . that I knew nothing about. Not a thing. "Dad, we'll learn together!" Well, we have already learned a great deal about the Mustang Mach 1, its history, the engine variations, and most importantly, where to begin in the task of bringing this thing back to life.

Here goes something . . .

[Day 3-5]

  1. The registration suggests that the car has not been driven since 1995. Both front wheels were locked so I couldn't roll it into the garage. I figured it was brake pads rusted to the drums (or wheel bearing problem). It was the pads. This took some learning how to free them (before that, I had to learn the best place to lift with a jack and to secure with jack stands--remember . . . marriage therapist, woodworking, beer). Being a tremendous overthinker, I took waaaay too much time trying to figure out how to get the drum off. I didn't realize that the studs were attached to the drum and was waiting to see some movement of the drum around the studs. Knowing that I would be replacing the drums with disc brakes, I became less concerned with preserving the parts. I got the drums off, removed the pads, and put the drums and wheels back on.
  2. While the drums were off, I found that the front suspension needs replacing (I'll wait on this until closer to summer: I can wait to spend $1200 or more). This doesn't look like a difficult job--but the map ain't the territory!
  3. I also siphoned out 15 gallons of 25-year-old gas. I will be ordering a gas tank this week--rust, rust, rust.
  4. I have the VIN but no door tag. I ordered a Marti report: H-Code (351-2V V-8),
  5. Dark Green Metallic with Black Knit Vinyl, Sport Interior. Yes, it is an automatic, which I am a bit bummed about. I learned that a Cleveland engine can be identified by the 8-bolt valve covers and by a radiator hose that enters into the block, not the manifold. Ahhhh...I have a Cleveland.
  6. Finally, I vacuumed the carpeting and cleaned the vinyl seats. I diluted Chemical Guys cleaner with water, which worked well as an initial cleaning. Mice had made the car their home for quite a few years, so I wanted to get crap off the seats and floor. I'm looking forward to replacing the mouse-pee carpeting and to learning the best way to deeper clean the seats and other interiors. My uncle replaced the factory radio with a cassette player--booooo. Maybe I'll see if I can get a hold of an original radio at some point.
Next step: drop the gas tank and install new tank and drain and replace other fluids. Hey, maybe this thing will turn over.

I'll be documenting my journey on video and will be posting again in the coming days.
 

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Got pics of the "after?" Mine is in very good shape for sure, which makes it much less daunting as a beginner. My biggest problem is impatience! Oddly, though, I'm enjoying being able to focus on one thing at a time . . . which is very much not like me.
 
[Day 1]

My first car was a $500 '73 Volkswagen Super Beetle--bright orange. The garage down the street did the engine work and I drove it. I did some body work myself . . . I covered the hole in the passenger side floor with a heavy floor mat. Then, armed with a scraper for the inside windshield, I'd trek out into the Upstate New York winter, breathing exhaust fumes and counting the first fifteen miles before the rear engine fed me a few extra degrees of heat. Since then, I bought a new car every 3-5 years, and someone else did the work on it. I'm a marriage therapist in private practice and enjoy woodworking, craft beer, billiards, mountain biking, and hanging out with my wife and daughter (the order depends on the day).

Over the past few years, my daughter, going on age 15, has somehow developed an interest in classic cars (I'm still unsure of where she gleaned that passion) and I had seen the list of her favorites . . . including a '57 Thunderbird. I imagined her driving one of her dream cars one day and hoped it was one of the slower, safer ones. When my cousin passed away, I became involved in cleaning out his estate. I knew he'd had a few classic cars, and we expected to sell them outside of the family. He was a Ford guy: a classic f150, a couple of '90 fox bodies, and two early '70's Mustangs. "Dad!! He has a what??" She grabbed her car list and waved it too close to my face to read it . . . focusing, I saw it, a few lines down: '72 Mustang Mach 1.

So, after an appraisal, a fair-price negotiation, and a call to AAA, I had, sitting in my driveway, a '71 Mach 1. Not quite a '72, but my daughter has no complaints.

She hadn't seen it yet. And when she came lumbering up the street after school, she nearly lost her mind. I'll admit, I couldn't keep my eyes off it: Long hood. Dual scoops. Rear spoiler. A couple small patches of rust. Barely noticeable misaligned bumper. Beautifully sloped rear window. Great color. And an engine . . . that I knew nothing about. Not a thing. "Dad, we'll learn together!" Well, we have already learned a great deal about the Mustang Mach 1, its history, the engine variations, and most importantly, where to begin in the task of bringing this thing back to life.

Here goes something . . .

[Day 3-5]

  1. The registration suggests that the car has not been driven since 1995. Both front wheels were locked so I couldn't roll it into the garage. I figured it was brake pads rusted to the drums (or wheel bearing problem). It was the pads. This took some learning how to free them (before that, I had to learn the best place to lift with a jack and to secure with jack stands--remember . . . marriage therapist, woodworking, beer). Being a tremendous overthinker, I took waaaay too much time trying to figure out how to get the drum off. I didn't realize that the studs were attached to the drum and was waiting to see some movement of the drum around the studs. Knowing that I would be replacing the drums with disc brakes, I became less concerned with preserving the parts. I got the drums off, removed the pads, and put the drums and wheels back on.
  2. While the drums were off, I found that the front suspension needs replacing (I'll wait on this until closer to summer: I can wait to spend $1200 or more). This doesn't look like a difficult job--but the map ain't the territory!
  3. I also siphoned out 15 gallons of 25-year-old gas. I will be ordering a gas tank this week--rust, rust, rust.
  4. I have the VIN but no door tag. I ordered a Marti report: H-Code (351-2V V-8),
  5. Dark Green Metallic with Black Knit Vinyl, Sport Interior. Yes, it is an automatic, which I am a bit bummed about. I learned that a Cleveland engine can be identified by the 8-bolt valve covers and by a radiator hose that enters into the block, not the manifold. Ahhhh...I have a Cleveland.
  6. Finally, I vacuumed the carpeting and cleaned the vinyl seats. I diluted Chemical Guys cleaner with water, which worked well as an initial cleaning. Mice had made the car their home for quite a few years, so I wanted to get crap off the seats and floor. I'm looking forward to replacing the mouse-pee carpeting and to learning the best way to deeper clean the seats and other interiors. My uncle replaced the factory radio with a cassette player--booooo. Maybe I'll see if I can get a hold of an original radio at some point.
Next step: drop the gas tank and install new tank and drain and replace other fluids. Hey, maybe this thing will turn over.

I'll be documenting my journey on video and will be posting again in the coming days.
What a great story and so nice to see a young kid so interested in these cars. This will be a great time for you two to bond. You will learn a lot just by browsing the many threads in this forum and if you don't find the answer feel free to ask. We all like to help.
 
It will be therapeutic, if it doesn't drive you insane. Be prepared for the occasional temper flare. Do not give up, learn, learn more, do more. If you can, bring your daughter along, she will learn much that will serve her well for the rest of her life. I have no daughter, but my two sons learned much that they still benefit from. Chuck
 
as for the front suspension. i just had mine done last month by a shop that does a lot of work on classics. i got the kit from jcpony for around $650. i needed to order the sway are mounts for it did not come in kit. shop took one day to do at $1000. then to ford dealership for the alignment. with that said about 25 yrs ago i really wanted a Tbucket st rod. so for 10 months (my second full time job) i built it ground up. never did it before but i kept at it and have a wall of trophy's to show for it. Sooooo keep at it, the end result will put a smile on your face.
 

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Great to see younger generation taking interest in older cars. My sons get involved in my old cars sometimes, and other times show no interest. Have fun and enjoy this father daughter project! Post plenty of pics and videos of your progress as you go.
 
Hoping at least one of my girls gets the bug and enjoys working on cars with me. You got lucky, not only for having a kid that got into cars, but one that actually had a '72 Mustang on her list. Hope you two have fun fixing it up, looks nice for sure. You could probably edit the videos and stick 'em on YouTube so others can follow along. I know I would! Good luck!
 
My bucket list of my life was hoping to get my two kids into vegetable gardening. I succeeded. My second was to get them interested in car related hobbies. I have, so far, partially, succeeded. My son is a big F1 fan and recently, I helped my daughter do a 4 wheel brake job on her 2014 Honda Pilot. They're on their way.

The car looks great. More pics please. Beside getting it on the road again, what future plans do you have for it?
 
First thing I would do is pull the plugs and squirt some Mystery oil in the cylinders. How is the carburetor, (they have new repop 2100 carbs on fleebay for under $100) hopefully clean no mouse nests. Next put a wrench on the crank and see if it will roll over, you want to go 360 degrees. Get it running and driving, the 351 is pretty bullet proof I will be surprised if it won’t turn over, most likely it will need timing chain (100k miles). Get it running and driving. Do only what you need to do to get it back on the road then decide what comes next.

My List…

Running

Brakes

New Fluids, engine, check transmission, rear end

Tires & shocks!!!, spring for the fake Magnum 500 wheels

Lots and lots of cleaning, blue tooth cheap radio...trust me

Please don't tear the car apart that will be the end of the project.

My 72 sat 18 years, drained the gas added a couple fuel filters before the fuel pump and fired her up (when the filters plug up, put in a new one, clear wixx are the best), never did put in a new tank, not even a fuel pump. My Daughter loves the Mustang, calls it her car, but she drives a 2010 VW Beetle, she loves that also.

1972 Mustang s.jpg
 

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