Eric’s Family Mustang

Talking with my brother in law a few weeks ago, he mentioned he is trying to figure out what to do with his dad’s mustang. His dad passed away last year and left the mustang he had for 20 years to Eric and his sister. I encouraged him to keep it and we could get it back to a driver so he could enjoy it like his dad did. This week we picked it up and brought it home.

It’s a second owner car. Eric’s dad bought it from an older widow in 1999 who’s husband bought it new in 65. There are a few nice features to it, including a few unique things that were probably dealer installed options.

Back in the day, I understand that JC Whitney had some aftermarket parts people could get for their cars. This hood ornament is one of them. I have heard of them before, but never seen it. People tend to love or hate them. At this point, I think it’s a neat feature that makes it kind of unique.

Another option was the passenger side mirror, then the spinner style hub caps. They don’t spin, but they look like they should. I am not sure that they are original, Ford parts, though they look much like what came on my 65, minus the spinners.

It’s an A code, so it has a 289 V8 with a 4 barrel carburetor. Behind that it has a 4 speed manual transmission. Both of those things makes it more desirable in my book. I also love seeing the original engine. This car is a time capsule in that its nearly original, and the repairs have all been done to original design. Most cars these day have had a bunch of modern updates to them, like new stereos, new engines, etc. The gold on black engine buried under all that grime is going to look awesome when cleaned up.

The steering felt really good, so I wiped the grime off the data tag on the gear box to see what it was. It looks like this is an original gear box based on the date, and it decodes to a 16:1 gear ratio, which is the tighter of the 2 available. Another nice option with this car.

At some point, someone upgraded the brakes to a dual bowl master. That’s a good change, and a good reason not to stay original. Now, the front and back brakes have their own system, so if either fails, the other can continue to operate. The original had a single bowl for the whole system. It also looks like brake fluid is leaking and we will need to do some work to get that sorted out. It’s worth noting that it stops nicely for having 4 wheel drum brakes.

The interior looks pretty good. it’s hard to tell if the seats were re-upholstered or if they were just not used much. The driver looks way too good for a 54 year old upholstery, but the design is correct, so it may be original. Maybe just an old re-upholtery job too.

I was excited to see the rally pack as well. Another nice option. The steering wheel feels really good too. I haven’t seen one that is not broken and shrunken all over. If the wheel is in this good of shape, maybe the upholstery can be too. It had to have been stored indoors and well taken care of.

Another welcome sight is the original stereo. More precisely, the dash was not cut up to put a modern stereo in it. All of the other 65 or 66 dashes I have seen have not been undamaged. The carpet is another story. That hasn’t held up well. It’s thread bare and brittle, like a lot of the other soft parts on the car. For example, the rubber weather strip on the trunk was crystallized and solid.

The door tag indicates it’s been here since it was sold in the area originally. It’s been painted at some point, maybe a couple times, but the drive train hasn’t changed. Neither has the interior.

Over all, it’s a great starting point. We should be able to get it back on the road with very little work. Maybe a bit of cleaning and some general maintenance. After that, it won’t take much to get it riding smooth and reliable. From there, its just a few projects away from a fun cruising car and feeling like new.

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