Quality control and finish of 60's and 70's cars

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My Car
1971 Mustang Mach 1 M code 351 4 speed
One of the things the younger crowd does not know, is how hastily put together these cars were, and how bad the quality control was. People go nuts trying to get the door panel gaps perfect, the stripes on their Mach 1 perfect, and a perfect base coat clear coat paint job. If you ever see original unmolested cars, you will see that all of them have paint drips, most of the time not in the major outside body panels, although they can be there, but inside the door jambs, inside the engine compartment, trunk, etc... Not one of these cars had what today we would consider even remotely acceptable panel gaps and fit, the factory paint jobs were of Maaco quality (if you took a fully disassembled car to one of the descent ones), the lower body stripes, were all over the place, and there was overspray on the door jambs and doors from the stripes. The hood stripes were usually not applied well, and you could have all types of imperfections, with overspray on them. The side decals would sometimes not be straight. It was truly a joke. Rust prevention was almost non existent, and the materials used for rubber seals and such was not even close to the quality of the parts we have today. So, the seals deteriorated rapidly, and water came in, and rust just ate these cars.
My first car was a 71 Sportsroof Mustang H code auto, and it only lasted me a couple of weeks before I wrapped it around a tree, and I can't remember many details of it. From there I had a ton of Mopars. This was the mid-80's so most of the cars I was buying at the time were mostly original cars, they all had original paint jobs and decals. The stuff I saw on those cars was incredible, the fit and finish was atrocious, no one would buy a car like that today, but it was normal at the time. things were different back then, cars had a one year warranty (buy a Hemi car and you had 90 days), and people would trade in their cars every 2-3 years. Auto loans were 3 years max, not like today where you can get 7 years. In 1970 GM was building 5 million cars a year, and Ford over 3 million. They had issues with the unions, and they were trying to put cars out as fast as they could. Quality control took a back seat. Cars ran well, and were reliable, but the fit and finish left a lot to be desired.
So, don't go too crazy when things don't fit right, your car probably came that way from Ford :cool:
 
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Joined
Mar 19, 2022
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43
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Location
Western Connecticut
My Car
1972 Mustang Convertible (Unrestored Original)
1988 Mustang 5.0L LX Convertible
"Drive 'em, don't hide 'em!"
My 72 and 88 convertibles have the passenger door proud of the front fender (both from the factory)... I swear the same guy work on both cars 16 years apart. Part of me wants to dial it, the other part, makes a great talking point.
 
Joined
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East Texas
My Car
1971 Mustang Mach 1 M code 351 4 speed
I think that is the way they came, the front fenders were a tiny bit further out than the doors. I was told by an old timer body man that the factories used to do this to limit wind noise between the fender and doors. Not sure how true that is, but that was the story I was told. I have a 1972 Olds 442 Convertible and the fender stick out a tiny amount more than the doors. Either way, these cars gaps were all over the place.
 
Joined
Jan 2, 2019
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155
Location
Wisconsin
My Car
1972 Mustang convertible, 351C 2V with FMX (#'s matching)
Currently equipped with 351C 4V 4BM, .060 over, roller cam, Sanderson block huggers, -AC
One of the things the younger crowd does not know, is how hastily put together these cars were, and how bad the quality control was. People go nuts trying to get the door panel gaps perfect, the stripes on their Mach 1 perfect, and a perfect base coat clear coat paint job. If you ever see original unmolested cars, you will see that all of them have paint drips, most of the time not in the major outside body panels, although they can be there, but inside the door jambs, inside the engine compartment, trunk, etc... Not one of these cars had what today we would consider even remotely acceptable panel gaps and fit, the factory paint jobs were of Maaco quality (if you took a fully disassembled car to one of the descent ones), the lower body stripes, were all over the place, and there was overspray on the door jambs and doors from the stripes. The hood stripes were usually not applied well, and you could have all types of imperfections, with overspray on them. The side decals would sometimes not be straight. It was truly a joke. Rust prevention was almost non existent, and the materials used for rubber seals and such was not even close to the quality of the parts we have today. So, the seals deteriorated rapidly, and water came in, and rust just ate these cars.
My first car was a 71 Sportsroof Mustang H code auto, and it only lasted me a couple of weeks before I wrapped it around a tree, and I can't remember many details of it. From there I had a ton of Mopars. This was the mid-80's so most of the cars I was buying at the time were mostly original cars, they all had original paint jobs and decals. The stuff I saw on those cars was incredible, the fit and finish was atrocious, no one would buy a car like that today, but it was normal at the time. things were different back then, cars had a one year warranty (buy a Hemi car and you had 90 days), and people would trade in their cars every 2-3 years. Auto loans were 3 years max, not like today where you can get 7 years. In 1970 GM was building 5 million cars a year, and Ford over 3 million. They had issues with the unions, and they were trying to put cars out as fast as they could. Quality control took a back seat. Cars ran well, and were reliable, but the fit and finish left a lot to be desired.
So, don't go too crazy when things don't fit right, your car probably came that way from Ford :cool:
You sir are spot on. This is why “we” love preserving history and enjoy every mile of it. Some obviously are collecting concourse “perfect” $$, and that’s great but I’m only interested in keeping my gal’s value increasing in whatever the market demands as I drive her as daily as possible to “live in the good old days” and will most likely never sell her (but everything is for sale at the right price I suppose)

Back to factory builds.. one of my brothers has a 69 383 RoadRunner (restored as a high value daily driver like mine) and we were comparing burn out rubber build up on our rear quarters when I noticed his chrome bumper was pointed “downhill” from the panel body line indents.. I asked if he was pulling boats from landings for a side job! His bumper and mounts are all original but it is 1” lower from where one would think it should be. He still gets to kick my nutz though as his mopar is still $15-20k more valued than my baby.. 🤷🏻‍♂️
 
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My Car
1971 Mustang Mach 1 M code 351 4 speed
When I started in this hobby in the 80's I was a Mopar guy, had a ton of Mopars: 1972 Rallye Charger 440 auto, 1972 Demon 340 4 speed, 1971 duster 340 auto, 1971 Barracuda Grand Coupe 383 auto, 2 1971 Road Runners 383 one auto one 4 speed. All these cars when bought were original paint cars, and all but the 71 Duster 340 were unmodified when bought. Back then those days cars were $700 to at max $10,000K for the 71 Barracuda which was mint and was the last one I bought in 1995, and by then prices were going up. Mid 80's you could buy almost any muscle car for under $2,000, a good runner that was a little rusty and crusty was like $700-800. Anyways, I was always amazed at how bad the quality control was on these cars, the dripping paint, ill fitting interior panels, horrible panel gaps etc...
 
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