The Rickster - a 73 Mach 1 work in progress

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Jul 5, 2013
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Jonesborough, TN
My Car
1973 Mustang Mach 1
Well, since my 73 Coupe burned, I've been working on getting another project. I was able to find a 73 Mach 1, and last weekend, my wife and I drove to eastern Tennessee and picked it up.

Yesterday, I was able to clean it out, and vacuum the trash from the floor to see just what I have. Well, I have a lot of work ahead of me, it what I have. The core support is bent and needs to be replaced.

The front right inner fender is rusted through under the battery tray.

It has frame mounts welded in for an unidentified type of motor, and I discovered today that the center section of the engine crossmember was cut out and modified. When I removed the front bumper, I found the front left mounting hole was bent and torn, and the capture nut for therear bolt for that bumber bracket is not longer captured. :(

The cowl appears to be okay. That is, until I poured some water into the vents on top and discovered water pouring into the passenger toekick.

The left and right side floors need to be replaced, along with both front extensions. In the back seat area, both sides also have a bunch of rust that was partially covered with fiberglass.

The trunk floor was covered with a sheet of galvanized sheet, that when removed, revealed about 1/2 of the trunk floor rusted out.

The trunk floor extensions, outer wheel houses, and both rear quarter panels also have significant rust and need to be replaced.

The taillight panel also was extensively rusted.

Both quarters are rusted, and the passenger side has about over 1/2 of Bondo where it was seriously caved in.

The passenger door bottom is completely rotten. I haven't taken the drivers side door off yet, but I did see a little bit of rust on the rear corners, sooo....

So now you've met my new Mach 1 project. I'm calling it Rusty, a name that really seems to fit it at this point. I've really got a lot of work ahead of me. I'm thinking a road trip to visit Don at OMS may be in my future.

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You definitely have your hands full. Look at it this way. This project will keep you out of the bars!!! Good luck. I'm looking forward to your progress reports!!

Wow, when I posted all my pictures of the 1972 Mustang I was thinking I had a lot of rust. Good to see I have good company. Keep the pictures coming! Love seeing new metal replacing rusty metal!

You have alot of work ahead of you. Good thing to know you have alot of the tools and equipment to get you there. Keep at it and don't loose sight of the goal. There will probably be some bad days ahead, but keep plugging away at it. Give me a call when you need an extra set of hands. Next time I will be more reliable than the last time for the unload.

You have alot of work ahead of you. Good thing to know you have alot of the tools and equipment to get you there. Keep at it and don't loose sight of the goal. There will probably be some bad days ahead, but keep plugging away at it. Give me a call when you need an extra set of hands. Next time I will be more reliable than the last time for the unload.
Thanks, Brian.

Unfortunately, I lose sight of the goal when you close your garage door. ;) After you came by in your Mach 1 shortly before Charlotte, the wife told me she is really excited about this project. It's a big project, but I think it will be worth it, when it's done. I really appreciate the offer of help. Just knowing I can get a helping hand from a friend just up the road, really helps to stay motivated. Thanks!

Wow. That's a lot of unexpected rust. In addition to the crossmember let me know of what else you need off the parts car.


Well, I've got the rear end out from underneath it so I can see more of what I have going on back there. The pictures pretty much tell the tale. The floors are completely gone, with new pans laid onto of the rusted out floor with fiberglass along the edges. I've got to get the front suspension pulled, and then it will be pretty much stripped. Oh yeah, I need to remove the moonroof, too. There are a few little things, like fuel and brake lines that I won't reuse and and miscellaneous nuts, bolts, and grommets scattered around to remove. Got a quote from Don at OMS for the sheet metal so I can get that ordered in the next couple weeks or so.

Today, it's raining all day, so the tarp stays on the car. I decided to dig into the 351C I got for it. It's got the 2V heads and intake that I won't be using, so if someone needs a boat anchor.... Really, if someone is going to restore one of these old beasts and needs some original parts, PM me. When I pulled the valve cover this greeted me.

And when I pulled the intake and valley cover, I found this.

What is this stuff? It doesn't seem to be baked on and scrapes off easily, but it looks really bad. Can someone tell me what this is? Usually when I open one of these up on my motors, its clean, oily iron, not this stuff that looks like really soft undercoating. I was thinking of freshening this old motor, but now I am thinking teardown, clean up, and rebuild may be in order. Since I have no history on the motor, it would give me a chance to check main and rod bearings, cylinder walls, rings, etc. Opinions, anyone? (yes, I know that was asking for it ;) )

That "stuff" is carbonized oil deposits. Running an engine short trips, long intervals between oil changes, blow by on the valves or rings will lead to this. Sometimes a good cleaning and new valve seals takes care of this. But I would definetely check the pistons, bearings, and plan on a new oil pump and pick-up. And far as those 2V heads, those are not that bad (performance wise). Unless you plan on a high revving killer Cleveland, the 2V do make a nice street motor. Just put a nice 2V 4barrel aftermarket intake on. I have a lot of Pontiac experience and those 2V heads look a lot like the Ram Air4 Pontiac heads. Those Ram Airs would go like heck!

But then again, if rebuild is what you want, go for it and find the 4V heads and really see how this engine can roar!!! Maybe embarress a few of the big block boys out there.

Oh man - this is looking SO familiar. ;) :D

When I rebuilt my engine, I stuck with the 2V heads, stock crank, and block - pretty much everything else was upgraded. According to the CamQuest utility from CompCams, I should 'expect' around 400hp, and slightly higher numbers in the torque rating. I effectively used the same formula as Doc (73vertproject), which his "Zero-to-100" videos were very convincing.

Considering the '71 H-Codes came with 245-ish from the factory, I'd say that's a pretty healthy upgrade... and will suit me just fine. Sure, the 4V set-up will rev higher and faster, and just goes up from there. But the best formula I've ever known is: "Speed costs money - how fast do you want to go?" ;)

I think the sludgey mess inside my engine was a little more rust colored than yours, though. rofl

Thanks for the confirmation. I may keep the heads, although I was hoping to lighten up the front end a little. I already have the Edelbrock Performer intake and a Edelbrock carb for it. I think I will still open it up to confirm the condition, since it came from the same place as Rusty. Make sure I don't have anything more than normal wear, (like a spun bearing or worse). Always interesting (and expensive, according to the wife) starting a new project. ;)

You car came with a generous amount of ferrous oxide. Calling it that instead of rust sounds better :)
OK - "I think the sludgey mess inside my engine had a higher ferrous oxide content than yours, though." rofl

Mine sat dormant since sometime in 1980 (last time it had an inspection sticker on it, anyway). When I popped the oil plug, about a gallon of water came out before the sludgey mess of what barely passed for oil followed.

Well, Thursday morning I pulled the trigger and gave Don at OMS a call to get some replacement sheet metal. Ordered the core support, right inner fender apron (under the battery tray), full floors (both sides), trunk floor, trunk floor drop offs, tail light panel, and trunk lid. They arrived at the freight terminal not far from where I work last night, so this morning the wife and I drove down and picked them up. I'm still stripping the shell and am about ready for blasting, so now I really have my work cut out for me. Now if I could only find my spotweld cutter.

Time to brave the heat and humidity and get back to work.

Slowly, but surely.


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