High School Students Restore 1969 Mustang Hardtop To Raise Money

Posted by on December 20, 2010 - more

Students at Clearbrook-Gonvick High School in Minnesota were getting a hands-on experience with restoring a 1969 Ford Mustang Hardtop. Their creative teacher, Ross Faldet, came up with the idea that they purchase a project classic Mustang and restore it for their Industrial Technology class and then raffle it off for money to purchase school supplies and shop equipment. Another good thing about this? Hands on experience for the students!

During their 45 minute class session, the students got right to work on the project. They restored the hardtop, transmission, all of the body work, and even the paint. Last September, they raffled off their finished project for the school supplies, shop needs, and possibly another project car.

“The students love older Mustangs,” Ross told Mustang Monthly, “One kid got so fired up that he went out and bought a ’68 Mustang so he and his dad could restore it.”

This isn’t Faldet’s first vintage car restoration in the classroom. This restoration is his sixth “teacher’s aide” over the past 15 years. He restored one other Mustang in his teaching past.

Ross says, “I tell the students that we won’t be successful unless we can sell tickets to other students, as well as to their parents and grandparents. The Mustang is an American classic with popularity among all age groups. It’s also a great car for students to learn from because it’s easy to work on and parts are readily available.”

The Advanced Industrial Technology students during the first year were able to disassemble the Mustang, strip it to bare metal before welding in sheetmetal panels that were a much needed replacement. They planned everything out from ordering all the parts needed to complete the restoration and selecting the paint color scheme with stripes. They also decided to replace the original V6 with a 351 Windsor. That required an awesome field trip to Northwest Technical College to learn how to bore out cylinders, machine the block.

A few students graduated before the finished project, but the second year class took charge and handled the majority of the restore doing things such as assembling the 351, rebuilding the C4 transmission, putting together a locking rearend, reupholstering the seats, installing new carpet and headliner, rebuilding the dash with digital instruments, reassembling the body before primer and paint, rebuilidng the steering and suspension, and installing the disc brake conversion and stainless steal exhaust. (Phew!)

The students in Faldet’s class worked on the car daily, with additional “part-time” students helping out during the evening or study hall break. All together, 60 students participated in the Mustang’s revamp.

“The automotive industry is a big employer in our country,” says Faldet as he explains why he wants students to be more involved in auto projects. “The goal is to give each student exposure to different areas of auto repair and restoration, like mechanics, maintenance, collision repair, upholstery, electronics, welding, and machining. It’s troubling to me that fundamental education-welding, carpentry, etc.-is being totally replaced by college education classes. I feel strongly that the students need the fundamentals as well.”

After the car was completed, students started selling raffle tickets for twenty dollars each for a chance to win the restored Mustang. The raffle was conducted through the Gonvick Jubilee Committee for a drawing during the Gonvick’s Pumpkin Days Vintage Car this past September 25th. “The project was financially self-supporting,” says Ross. “Even though a lot of the value was ‘driven away’ by the new owner, the parts and supplies were used by students for two years and contributed to their education. Because we don’t have an automotive program at the school, we relied heavily on area businesses for tools, equipment, facilities, and expertise. This project would not have been possible without the generosity of numerous people in our community, including everyone who purchased a raffle ticket.”

Body: ’69 Mustang hardtop stripped, repaired, and refinished in Silver with Black stripes. Custom grille. Undercoated with POR 15
Interior: New black upholstery, headliner, and carpet. Includes Dakota Digital gauges and Custom Autosound USA radio, Grant steering wheel
Engine: 351 Windsor with Edelbrock RPM Performer package (aluminum heads and intake, 750-cfm carb), roller rocker arms, March Performance serpentine belt conversion, MSD electronic ignition, Hedman headers
Cooling: Edelbrock aluminum water pump, three-row radiator
Transmission: Rebuilt C4 automatic with B&M Shift Improvement kit, deep pan, and Hammer shifter
Rearend: Rebuilt 8-inch with 2.79 gears in Powertrax no-slip locking differential
Steering/Suspension: 1-inch drop front end, new control arms, urethane bushings, 1-inch sway bar, 17-inch chrome Bullitt wheels
Brakes: Stainless steel front disc brake conversion, stainless steel lines
Exhaust: Pypes stainless steel dual exhaust with chrome tips

Source: MustangMonthly.com
Photos: Courtesy of Clearbrook-Gonvick High School and Mustang Monthly.


  1. Donnie Smith says:

    That is awesome! Great job Clearbrook-Gonvick High School students!!!!

  2. Rob Lewicki says:

    Wow that’s incredible. That Ford Mustang is beautiful. I think I’ll be presenting this idea to my old high school! Nice post Amie and congratulations to Ross Faldet and his students of Clearbrook-Gonvick High for the amazing restoration!

  3. Clay Boggess says:

    Faldet hit a home-run on this one! He not only fulfilled the course objectives by teaching the students usable skills but the students realized that their skills translated into a realized return on their investment of hard work. The icing on the cake was that they actually raised money for their class. Why haven’t I read about this sort of thing elsewhere? What a great idea.

  4. This project is unique, good and creative. Mr. Ross and his students did an amazing job restoring that mustang. Keeping the car’s paint intact and dent-free requires good maintaining skills for the owner. The car really looks brand new and I’m sure that I’m not the only one who wants this car.

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