71 Mach 1 - Novice Restoration

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Zach

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 7, 2023
Messages
98
Reaction score
67
Location
Minnesota
My Car
1971 Mustang Mach 1 351c 4 speed
Howdy, I recently acquired a 1971 Mustang Mach 1, it was originally a M-Code 4 speed car but the original engine blew up and has been replaced with a correct period 351c 2v. This car was originally owned for about 20 years by my aunt's father in law but due to old age, family, life, etc. it has now become a shattered dream for him. It was once a running and driving mustang but the FIN was an autobody expert by trade and wanted to restore what would be his dream car unfortunately he wasn't able to get around to that in time. As it sits now it is completely disassembled with 95% of the parts still intact and useable, including enough sheet metal to create a new car, which would normally not be needed but it suffers from pretty rough Minnesota Rust. My goal is to restore this car into something drivable and in the best condition I physically and mentally can achieve, looking for local car show quality but not good enough to be scared to drive it. Although I should preface this with my knowledge and know how in this field is minimal, I am 19 and nearly all of my automotive knowledge came from my dad and working on my own 1977 trans am. My weakness within this project is going to be my lack of experience, but with enough time and research I can accomplish a lot. The final vision for this car is faithful to how it came from the factory with some minor changes, grabber blue exterior, black interior, cragar s/s wheels (might trade for mags), mild engine hop ups, and maybe some other quality of life changes, I am starting with bare metal so I have plenty of time to plan and change things.

As for my current project, I will be in the rust repair department for the next couple of months before I can start piecing it together. Since it is apart I figured I should do it right and remove all the rust and make it a solid car. Future projects include, block sand, block sand, block sand, paint, minimal interior redye, small engine rebuild, the whole shebang. Everything will be my own labor done at home with some help from my dad and what ever knowledge the previous owner can lend to me.

That is about it for the initial post, looking for any input, information, and comments you guys have to offer through out this restoration. Thanks.

some pics...

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Howdy, Zach, and welcome from Texas! The Mach 1 sounds like a good project and your approach is reasonable. The members on this site offer you an incredible resource. The experience, knowledge, and willingness to share them will help you with your build. Don't hesitate to ask questions. Keep us posted on your progress.
 
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Hi Zach, here is another big welcome from Texas. It sounds like you have a solid plan for your build and I look forward to seeing you progress through your project.

You’re definitely in the right place for some great resources as the members here can provide allot to fill in the gaps when you need it!

Congrats and good luck!
 
Hi Zach,
Welcome from Chicago! Looks like you have a good plan to get this project tackled. You are wise to repair all the rust first and build on a solid body. I am also in the middle of my first Mustang build, my other cars are GM also. It's great to see someone your age embracing the restoration of these older cars. My sons (my youngest is 20, shown working on taillamp panel) help me in the garage and are also learning as they go. Mine is still a ways away from done but it's coming along.
Good luck with your project. As Sheriff and PoFoMoCO stated there are a lot really knowledgeable people on this site who are always willing to help. You just need to ask the question and someone here will have the answer. I have been learning from them since I joined the site and hope to keep on learning from them. Enjoy your build and take lots of pictures. If you have time, start a build thread and keep us posted on your progress. :)
 

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Hello and welcome from SW Ontario, Canada.
As others have stated in their welcome messages, we're all here to help. Looking at your pictures, the car looks to be pretty solid where it counts, floors etc.
I can't talk from experience as none of the 4 Mustangs I've owned needed a full restoration, but I'd work on one thing at a time and step by step. That way you won't get "lost" in the process and loose focus.
The Trans-Am looks pretty sweet too by the way.......... for a Chevy!!
All the best moving forward.
 
Good morning Zach and welcome from Ohio. As mentioned above, it's nice to see the younger generation get involved in these older cars.

Starting from scratch gives you some advantages on your build as you mentioned, but also can be a hindrance due to the fact that the car is striped and now you have figure out how some of the stuff goes back together. Hopefully your aunt's father-in-law took some pictures of things before he disassembled them and you can get access to them.

Make sure you check all this site has to offer. At the top of this page there is a good Tutorial section on how members have done things and also the 7173Wiki that has the wiring diagrams of our cars. Good luck on your build and keep us posted.
 
Hi Zach,

Looks like you are starting with good bones. I don't see anything that can't be fixed.
I think that it's great that a 19 year old is this into "yesteryear" muscle.
Don't forget to take time out's to go do 19 year old stuff.
Keep us posted during your build.

Regards
Ray Q.
 
I like your GM ride as well. I have a racing friend in town that is a Pontiac maven. So I learned to like that brand hanging around Bob at the races and at home. Good luck with the project. When you "finish" it (they never are LOL) you will have something to be proud of the rest of your days. Which unlike yours truly, you've got an abundance of! LOL
 
Welcome from NE Tennessee, Zach. You must be crazy to tackle a project like that, so you'll fit right in around here. I am just finishing up the Rickster, my 73 Mach 1 resoration, and started having flashbacks and broke into a sweat when I saw your pictures. You can find the build thread for the Rickster here.

https://7173mustangs.com/threads/the-rickster-a-73-mach-1-work-in-progress.16772/
In it, I tried to provide a bunch of detail on how I repaired all the rust, and I mean, there was a lot of rust and covered up collision damage. I would recommend getting a copy of the Weld and Assembly Manual from NPD or wherever, as it will show you exactly how the body of the car went together, how many welds to look for and how many will be needed to put in the new panels. Also, if you haven't already, check out JoDaddy's garage and Fitzee's Fabrication channels on YouTube. I learned most of my auto restoration skils from watching them, and I am now a bona fide graduate of the YouTube Technology Institute of Technology. ;-)

It's going to take a lot of work, but trust me, you can make that car look better than new when you're done with it. Feel free to reach out if you have questions
 
Hello and welcome from SW Ontario, Canada.
As others have stated in their welcome messages, we're all here to help. Looking at your pictures, the car looks to be pretty solid where it counts, floors etc.
I can't talk from experience as none of the 4 Mustangs I've owned needed a full restoration, but I'd work on one thing at a time and step by step. That way you won't get "lost" in the process and loose focus.
The Trans-Am looks pretty sweet too by the way.......... for a Chevy!!
All the best moving forward.
Unfortunately it somehow looks better in pictures but it isn’t awful. Floors are currently bolted in but their isn’t any rust except for the passenger rear, they must’ve had Fred flints one in there.

I like your GM ride as well. I have a racing friend in town that is a Pontiac maven. So I learned to like that brand hanging around Bob at the races and at home. Good luck with the project. When you "finish" it (they never are LOL) you will have something to be proud of the rest of your days. Which unlike yours truly, you've got an abundance of! LOL
I am a Pontiac fan to the bone however I am a sucker for fastback mustangs, I appreciate pretty much all muscle. This project prevents me from tearing my apart the T/A which helps a lot.

Good morning Zach and welcome from Ohio. As mentioned above, it's nice to see the younger generation get involved in these older cars.

Starting from scratch gives you some advantages on your build as you mentioned, but also can be a hindrance due to the fact that the car is striped and now you have figure out how some of the stuff goes back together. Hopefully your aunt's father-in-law took some pictures of things before he disassembled them and you can get access to them.

Make sure you check all this site has to offer. At the top of this page there is a good Tutorial section on how members have done things and also the 7173Wiki that has the wiring diagrams of our cars. Good luck on your build and keep us posted.
Yeah for sure, he has lots of knowledge along with my dad. But with forums and a Haynes manual I’m not stressing it too much. Bodywork is what’s really gonna test me.


Thanks to everyone else that said hi. This forum is a lot more active than I am used to compared to the T/A ones. Currently working on the trunk pan to practice my bodywork since it won’t be seen, getting the hang of it. Only peice of body that worries me is the entire rear lights panel, essentially the entire rear metal of the car, needs to be replaced I have a replacement but seems like a big job. I’m assuming someone has it documented but I still have to research that.

Thanks again.
 
Welcome Zach from Opelika, Alabama

Great Job with your Mustang, it is hard work and enjoyable but it will be so nice when you complete your ride. You have alot of cheering support on this site and we all ready to help you when needed. I do have a few parts as well as some of the other guys if you have needs.
 
The only part of my Mustang that had to be replaced was the taillight panel.
The best way to remove it is to get a spot weld cutter and drill out the spot welds. Grind off the remaining weld bits so it's smooth. The body guy who did mine drilled holes at the appropriate locations and mig welded through so they look like spot welds. Set up is vital of course. Do the trunk work first so you can get at it.
When you get to replacing the taillights, ask questions at that point on the best way to restore and seal the lights so they don't leak again.
 
Vintageman where are you located in Georgia? I used to live north of the Atlanta Georgia area for over 56 years
Bill, I am east of Atlanta in the Augusta area, about 2 hours east. Pretty good area but brother has it been hot here lately. Where are you located.

Tom
 
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