I dont Know if I have ever shared this but here is the story of my rustang It all started with helping my Dad when I was younger sitting in the engine bay helping him work on his ‘78 F150 . When I was 14 years old, I spent a couple months searching craigslist and came close to making a move on a few rusty trucks before I found a ‘68 Mustang with an automatic and L6 that appeared to be in decent shape for 800$. After sharing a few emails with the seller, my grandpa and I went to take a look at it. We got lost on the way and got there after dark so we weren’t able to get a good look at it. On the second trip we went over it and realized that it had a lot of rust and needed a lot of body work. Less than a week later and after talking my dad into going 50/50 on it, we brought it home. I couldn’t have been happier. Within a couple days my grandpa and I had gotten the car running; well we were able to get it started, but it wouldn’t stay running. This wasn’t the end of the world because we just wanted to confirm that the engine wasn’t seized. Then the fun started. It was 2009 and I was 14.
The first things I did was strip the car. The car had a lot rust in the usual places, the floor boards, the cowl, the fender apron on the battery side etc. my first sheet metal project was to cut out and weld in new floor pans. The pans arrived by courier from National Parts Depot. It was the first time I used a MIG welder. As time went on I got a lot better at cutting out the rust and welding in new body panels. The rust repair included battery tray and aprons, floors, lower and upper cowl, door skins, rear passenger quarter panel, the panel between the rear glass and trunk lid, wheel well and the trunk drop off panel. By the time I had finished the rust repair with the help of my Dad, my Grandpa helped me rebuild my C4 transmission and my L6 engine. I added a B&M shift kit to the transmission. The engine had a bent pushrod and a stuck valve so the head was sent out for a rebuild and upgrade with new rocker arm springs and retainers , new valves, hardened valve seats, and the engine was honed and re-ringed and re-assembled with new main bearings and gaskets. After deciding not to keep it stock I swapped the rear end to an 8 inch 5 lug one out of a GT, and put a Wildwood 4 piston big disc brake kit on the front along with a power booster, wildwood master cylinder and an adjustable proportioning valve. Then I moved onto the suspension. The suspension restoration and upgrade included replacement of all of the front suspension linkages, steering box, KYB gas-adjust shocks, a “Shelby-Drop, roller spring perches, 1” cut coils, lowering blocks on the rear along with all polyurethane bushings all around. After that I put my engine and transmission back in, I worked on the exhaust. I put a dual header connected to 2.5” SS exhaust with an H pipe blowing through a set of FlowMaster 44s. Then came everyone’s favorite, electrical gremlins. After many failed attempts at fixing shorts, a few outings with no brake lights, my parents caved and bought a new wiring harness for the car. We went with an American Autowire one. When I first opened the box it was a little over whelming it looked like a box of spaghetti, and to be honest for the first time I felt like I might have bit off more than I could chew. After I studied the instructions for a while I gave it a go. After I got the fuse box in and all mounted up it wasn’t as bad as it seemed, the kit was very well organized and easy to put in. After shredding my hands feeding wires into all the nooks and crannies I finally had a car that all working lights and interior. With that being accomplished I could bring myself to put the tatty old torn up seats back in the car so I hopped back onto good ol’ craigslist and found some used racing seats from a newer mustang that seemed too good to be true. The seats are vinyl that had some minor cracking in a few places and for the price I couldn’t pass them up. I went to my local auto parts store and got a vinyl repair kit witch to my surprise fixed and has held up rather well over the year I have had them. Pretty much all the other interior parts are new in the car except for the sun visors, the A pillar pads, and the rear my seats. To the dismay of my Dad I decided to do a few subtle body modifications. I broke out the trusty die grinder and welder and went at it. I shaved all the emblems and trim, relocated the gas filler to inside the trunk and shaved the filler hole. I shortened the rear bumper. After all that was done I painted my car. After all is said and done and 4 years later it’s on the road.
I can’t say there hasn’t been any setbacks. The first couple times I drove my car away from the house, I pushed it back home. I found that I don’t have the patience needed to properly prepare before painting, but at least it’s the right color. Through all the ups and downs, I wouldn’t go back and change anything. This project has brought me and my dad closer and has opened many doors in my life, along with many great memories. At age 19, I love that I’m able to say I have built my own car. It gives me a great feeling of accomplishment and pride. It shows how a little will power and dedication can take you anywhere. I owe a BIG thanks to my parents and Grandpa for being able to help me through this project, not only with technical guidance, financially backing but also morally support; there were many times during this project when I was ready to throw the towel in and sell it but my mom would talk me out of it or my Dad would go out there and help me fix it. I am truly blessed to be able to have this chance and appreciated it greatly.
Well you certainly have my respect Travis! The fact that you were able to stay with that project and see it through until the car was back on the road is quite an achievement. I always applaud the person that does all of their own work... That is the car that always wins in my book!