mustang restoration

8 Tips for Impeccable Mustang Restoration

Most restoration projects look like a ton of fun before you dive in. Granted Mustang restoration is a lot of fun, but it can be a lot of work too.


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There’s a certain type of adrenaline rush you can only get while you’re taking this car apart to turn into something beautiful. It’s no wonder that the Ford Mustang is one of the best selling sports cars in the world.

However, if anyone tells you that restoration is easy, they are lying. We’ve put together 8 things you need to do to keep your restoration on track.

1. Make a to-do List

It’s simple but most people skip this step. Having a written plan with realistic goals can help you stay on track. This and a manual will help you decide on the extent of your restoration.

If your Mustang is in good shape, or you have a smaller budget, the restoration might be less extensive.

We suggest you make sure to include any parts that you might need and any repairs that you might need a shop to help you with. It’s also good to start thinking about paint at this point, you might not think that you need it, but once everything else is nice and restored, you might change your mind.

Remember, it always takes more time and money than you originally thought. Roll with the punches and have fun.

2. Finding the Parts You Need

It’s always good to start a Mustang restoration by differentiating between what you need for your car and what you want. This is especially important if you are looking at a smaller budget or a shorter time limit.

If you don’t mind you Mustang not having its original parts, it’ll be cheaper and won’t take as long. Some owners are stickers on having all the original parts. It might be a little harder to track those down. The sooner you can order the parts you need, the better.

Same thing with any work you think you’ll need to get done at a shop. It’s best to schedule that out first.

3. Choose a Shop you Trust

If you don’t already have a shop that you goto, ask around. Word of mouth is a pretty good indicator of the shop’s quality of work.

Restoration is becoming a dying hobby, so finding a shop where the people know Mustangs and work on them regularly is your best bet.

Before you make your choice, double check that the shop can facilitate the repairs in the timeframe that you need.

4. Coordinate the Work

After you know what needs to be done, and you know what shop is going to help you need to coordinate when it’s all going to happen.

Time the shop’s availability with the arrival of your parts. Keep in mind it’s better to have the parts before your ready for them. There’s no good in having to wait around because you’re ready to do the repair but the parts or special tools haven’t shown up yet.

You also want to make sure that you can fit everything within your time frame. If you’re doing the restoration for a car show or something similar, you want to make sure that you finish everything ahead of time. That way so can work out any last minute adjustments before the event.

5. Use the Right Tools

There’s a tool for every job. During your Mustang restoration, you’re going to need an assortment of tools. Ranging from the common wrenches and screwdriver to the more obscure.

If your planning on getting the specialty stuff done at a shop then you’ll need less of the obscure tools. You will still need quality draining pans for coolant, oil, and things of that nature.

If you end up needing something you don’t have, which you should because you’ve planned everything out already (right?), you can always borrow it from an auto parts store.

6. Your Transmission Doesn’t Have to Leak

It’s a pretty popular thought that the classic Mustang’s transmission is always going to leak. That’s simply not true.

They leak because of improper sealing and badly mated surfaces. You can have the shop you selected check all of the mated surfaces and mill as needed.

Your goal here a perfect gasket.

7. Get all the Details Correct

If you are going to spend all of this time and money on a Mustang restoration, then you should pay attention to the details. Make sure you replace or upgrade all of the optional Mustang trim.

Like the leading edge on the hood of a 1965 Mustang, and the rocker moldings. You want to make all of the little alterations that you can afford. That way, when it’s all completed it sparkles. You want people to stop and gawk at your restoration, the little details will help make that happen.

Don’t forget to get the correct engine color, there are a few different shades of blue it could be depending on the year.

8. Whiten What You Can

This is one of those little details that can make a huge difference to your restoration. If you use white paint you can make your dated clusters look as good as new.

You can use a few coats to give it the best results.

Cherish Time spent on Your Mustang Restoration

Restoring a car can be a pain, but we all do it out of love. Seeing the finished product makes it all worth it. With a little bit of elbow grease, even the most hopeless mustang restoration can be turned into something beautiful.

If we didn’t truly care about these cars we wouldn’t put the time in. By following the 8 tips we lined out, you should be able to move seamlessly, or as seamlessly as possible, through your restoration.