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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
restoring this car, dammit!

Alright, I admit it..a car is only original once, but I'm needing some guidance on what constitutes "original", and what a guys should do when there are just a few immediate easy fixes one can make to clean up the look of a Cat. The interior is literally perfect. The body is what it is-old and tired but I've managed to make it shiny. Maybe a couple of touch ups on the unsightly areas of bare metal down on the rocker panels?

Cleaning up the hood latch assembly and center grille support and restoring a couple or ten of the bolts right up front, the hood catch handle and dowell, replacing a radiator hose , adding pedastal style clamps on a water line or two, removing unwanted paint from wire harnesses, changing out an old crusty starter selenoid, removing crust off fender bolts, and stripping paint off a hood hinge or two doesn't constitute "restoration", does it?? :uhoh: Maybe take off the horns and hangers and bead blast and repaint? Someone decided a can of rustoleum sprayed in the back of grille area was a good idea..

I don't want to kill the originality of this car (the GT) but it's all just so tempting!! (and fun) The toughest stopping point is gonna be this pitted Drivers door handle and window beltline weatherstrip replacement.

Naw, weatherstrip isn't restoring..it's a necessity..We can't have those unsightly gaps..


Somebody stop me! I'm sick..truly sick :bloated:


Now, about this poorly repainted door and dent in the other front corner..
 

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This is what is so tough about the "survivor" cars. I see ads all the time advertising a car as all original and survivor. Many of them have been repainted and had other such restoration done on them.

In my mind, cleaning things is fine but once you start repainting, replating, reupholstering, replacing non-consumable's like weatherstripping, you've stopped having a surivior or original car and now have an in-process restoration.

After I sold my restored 68 sunroof car, I bought several other cars with the idea that I could leave them alone and just drive them. I failed miserably at that so I sold them and bought a car that I totally restored. Once you've had a nearly perfect car, it's hard to live with one that isn't.
 

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Brian,

There is a fine line between preservation and restoration. To me, "undoing" changes that previous owners have already made is acceptable. Cleaning the over-spray off the wiring harness, removing the rattle-can paint under the hood, and replacing incorrect items (hoses, clamps, etc...) with factory correct parts are all acceptable. The problem is, once you blast and repaint the horns and the hood latch, they are going to stand out like a sore thumb. All the original parts will look dingy in comparison. It's a slippery slope, and like meth or Pringles, it's hard to stop once you start. If you do have to replace trim parts like the door handle, I'm sure Don could find a clean used part that wouldn't look out of place on your GT.

I faced a lot of the same issues with my '62 Coupe deVille. It had 38k miles when I bought it, has mostly original paint, and was a well preserved car that had sat in storage for a long period of time. At one point the right front fender had been replaced, and the paint color didn't quite match the original lacquer on the rest of the car. Since the fender no longer had its original paint, I didn't have a problem having it stripped and painted so the color, finish and shine better matched the original paint. The car had combination leather and cloth seats from the factory. The driver's seat had a small area where the original cloth had started to rip where it was stitched to the leather. The rip gradually got larger, so I had an upholstery shop stabilize the cloth by backing it with a sturdier fabric. The repair wasn't visible once the cover was reinstalled, and it preserved the original cloth. If I had replaced the torn fabric, it wouldn't have matched the other panels, and I eventually would have wanted to replace all of it so it matched.

Have you looked into the AACA's Historic Preservation of Original Features (HPOF) judging category? Prepping a car for a preservation-class show can be good motivation for preserving rather than restoring a car.

Owning and preserving an original car is a challenge, but it is also a lot of fun. You have to accept that, after 40+ years, the car has some well-earned battle scars. But you come to appreciate the history that those flaws represent. If all you see when you look at the car are its flaws, then an original "survivor" car may not be the thing for you, and that's perfectly fine.

Sam
 

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Or it goes the other way. If you make the a car too perfect you won't want to drive it. I am all for having lots of choices in how we have fun with our cars, so this is not a criticism of concours restoration, just amking the case for cars that you don't mind driving.

I drive my GT-E every where. It is a blast to just go to the post office or the auto parts store or Target. I park it in the parking lot and don't worry much. I use reproduction parts where they are equal in quality to modern equivalents. I use modern stuff where it is less likely to fail. I would replace old worn out rubber parts like door seals and so on because they detract from the enjoyment of the car.

If the car is a driver, then just accept that fact and fix what is wrong with it. There is nothing wrong with making it pretty
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Compelling thoughts, guys..I appreciate it. Although I was just sharing and having fun here, it is nice to hear some thoughts on the subject of "where to stop". I have no thoughts of a repaint, or a re-emblem or trim replacement anywhere..and the inside is ducky..that leaves the underside (suspension and steering) which is in very good repair.

I guess I might have "overdone" it with the hood latch assembly, but it was pretty rusty and cruddy and, well, It was just right there accessible and ready for treatment once I took off the grill/latch support piece (which had this strange thick paint/undercoat all over it, definitely needed some TLC). I just realized a good "originality" treatment for it now-a little glazing of some thick motorcycle chain oil. Or some of my used motor oil.. Then we have the look of bare metal with the "hot oiled" treatment from the factory. Shining up and replacing the black oxide bolts around this region will just clean it up and things will just look nice and still original. The rest of the area (the valence paint and black latch support) are actually still real nice with a WD-40 rub down.

She is a driver, I accept that and will enjoy that, I solemly swear!




Thanks for the reality check and sounding board, gang ;)
 

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Keep her out of the sun/rain as much as possible.
Keep it polished, replace the broken, leaky or worn parts with NOS or OEM parts.

I'm always amazed at the amount of ten year old cars that are ready for the junkyard while some people drive 20-30-40 year old cars daily. Just a matter of a good maintenance schedule and a dry garage.
My $.02
 

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Brian,
You could replace pitted door handles with better used ones from Don's yard. Things like that IMHO would not be a bad thing. New or restored Chrome may look out of place.
 

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Turn up the radio, to allow yo to ignore a few extra squeaks/rattles, and just fix up anything that will deteriorate or worsen fairly quickly. Enjoy it for awhile.....'cause you know whats going to happen anyway! Start making the list <sigh>
 

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Brian, you need to stop before you start buying rare (and expen$$$ive)s NOS parts. Using B-grade used parts do not constitute a restoration, just an 'improvement'.
 

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Don't repaint anything. Just clan and preserve. It's OK to install replacement parts that are period correct good condition originals but don't start installing reproduction radiator clamps and repro hoses. The originals are out there.
 

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I went through this last year with a 35,000 mi 70 Mach 1. When you are used to at least striving for perfection, it is very difficult to control the urge to "fix" flaws in an unrestored car. I learned a lot by having the car judged at a national Mustang Club of America show. The car ended up being just a couple points shy of a Gold in the Unrestored Class. The judges main advice was "Remove, Clean, Replace". Also, if something looked out of place or was substandard to the condition of the rest of the car, find a nice, USED, original part and replace it.

I think Bill B. hit the "nail on the head" about driving it. I know I have put time and money into too many cars to make them them too nice to drive, and then sold them to someone else to have all of the fun.

Fran
 

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Fran,

When we drove my wife's 20k-mile '70 mach to the 30th Anniversary Mustang Show in Charlotte (1994), the judges didn't even want to look at her car... MCA was too busy bowing and scraping for the Bill Clinton 'surprise visit'. Her car has rust on the exhaust. It had road grime underneath. That's because we drove it 600 miles in the rain to get there! Anyway, we never did get judged. We were super-peeved!

I call her car unrestored, but MCA sees it differently. Her car got 'keyed' at a local cruise-in back in '83, and had the right fender and door repainted to fix that. Unfortunately, two consecutive body panels painted is one of the criteria that MCA uses to classify a car as 'restored'.

Anyway, we'll NEVER go to another MCA show!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I think if I followed MCA guidelines and wanted to get all caught up in the show circuit, I'd be strangling myself by now..luckily, in a way, Cougar shows are usually limited to cruize ins and very casual situations for me, so I'm not chasing plaques or trophies, really.

I don't think I've described the condition of my car accurately enough. It has had the engine pulled and rebuilt. And it has had a lot of the engine bay resprayed, in addition to (inexplicably) some key areas of the back side of the grille, the hood springs, the selenoid, etc..and a lot of the clamps and hoses were tossed years ago or last year when it was pulled out of storage and cleaned up. It is very original in the interior and underbody (although sprayed over with some rattle can undercoating) and the body, for the most part, but by no means is it in the engine bay..so that ship (the "unrestored show car") has sailed. At this point it's pretty much my car to keep and retain or clean or restore as I see my judgement pointing me. That's why I have had to make some hard decisions. But then if something was sprayed over with black or some weird undercoating or accompanied by a really rusty nut/bolt, I have gone ahead and made some revisions to my taste. It has been pretty clear (to me anyway) where to "stop" and it's getting clearer, that's the good news!

But I like the "pull, clean, replace" philosophy whenever possible, that tends to be the cheaper route, too. I've replaced some hoses and clamps with repops, but only when it was replacing a really obvious aftermarket part from a NAPA, etc. I'm not a very good swap meet guy or browser for NOS parts, but I'll enjoy keeping my eyes open, Royce!
 

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Fran,

When we drove my wife's 20k-mile '70 mach to the 30th Anniversary Mustang Show in Charlotte (1994), the judges didn't even want to look at her car... MCA was too busy bowing and scraping for the Bill Clinton 'surprise visit'. Her car has rust on the exhaust. It had road grime underneath. That's because we drove it 600 miles in the rain to get there! Anyway, we never did get judged. We were super-peeved!


I call her car unrestored, but MCA sees it differently. Her car got 'keyed' at a local cruise-in back in '83, and had the right fender and door repainted to fix that. Unfortunately, two consecutive body panels painted is one of the criteria that MCA uses to classify a car as 'restored'.

Anyway, we'll NEVER go to another MCA show!
I think the rules have changed since then. I usually don't care much for "judged" car shows but sometimes it is the only way to find out where you stand with your restoration, or in the case of the Mach 1, to find out if your car is really what you think it is.

Does your wife still have her Mach 1? What is the color and drivetrain?

Fran
 

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You have received some very good info from members on this site.

I would go the (PULL, CLEAN, and RE-INSTALL method) when possible. As others have stated, THERE ARE ORIGINAL PARTS out there, and try that route. Make it a game, see just how many things you can do to SAVE the original stuff. Often you will find that it doesn't need paint, just wipe it down often to prevent rust action.

Have fun doing it, FUN IS GOOD!

Dale in Indy
 

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Discussion Starter #17
So here's another example..What would you guys do with the hood springs?

They are really coated with some gunky black paint/oil/dirt/paint again stuff..definitely not original/untouched. But then again, I've seen a lot of old cars with their hood springs/hinges all gunked up over the years. Should I blast 'em and then just leave alone to rust naturally? Blast and oil up? Clean and have this old paint/gunk laugh at me (it's virtually impenetrable)?

Or of course there is the leave alone option, but what fun is that? ;)
 

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Buy a 5-gallon bucket of carb cleaner/parts degreaser and soak them, hose them off. Done.

Oh, do I ever wish that the original Hydro-Seal formulation was still around. That stuff removed everything! -- even combustion chamber carbon! Seriously, I'd soak a head in there and it'd come out looking like a new casting!
 

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Permatex gasket remover.....or is it skin remover? It'll eat anything off I think!
 

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So here's another example..What would you guys do with the hood springs?
I used the Caswell phoscote solution. Not exactly a phosphate hot dip but looks really nice. I cut a piece of 1/2" ENT conduit probably 7-8" long, notched the ends, stretched the springs over to separate the coils. Blasted, then coated.

Another (driver) option is blast, epoxy prime, then use a "cast-blast" type paint. Some of it looks amazingly like phosphate coating. For different texture, mist the final coat from a distance of 18-24".
 
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