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1967 Ford Mustang - Buy And Revive A Project Car

Need to beat the high cost of vintage muscle? Think all the good stuff is gone? Observe as we buy and revive a project car

Photography by Terry McGean

Remember when the tricky part of building a street machine was the actual building part? Now a lot of us feel like just getting our hands on the right car is the most challenging part of the quest. The passing of time was a worthy opponent for the car crafter, deteriorating derelict cars further while other examples were being steadily scarfed up and rehashed by other motorheads. Today, as if that weren't enough, we have to deal with this surge in musclecar popularity where rich guys spend whatever it takes to get what they want and everyone else with any American car manufactured prior to 1972 thinks it's a "rare classic." Where does that leave the core guy who just wants to build a cool street/strip machine?

We were scheming and dreaming around the office the other day when we came to this realization, which just happened to coincide with our need to locate a new long-term project car. Car Craft is overdue for an in-house thrash unit-something to build and beat, then build again. A company mule suitable for flogging new wares or just taking unnecessary road trips as we tend to do. The last car we had that served this purpose was the Cheap Street Chevelle, but Hot Rod stole it and gave it away, which sucked, though it has provided an excellent excuse to go shopping.

This time we're in the market for a Ford. Yeah, you read it right. More than a few of our midday bench races have focused on Blue Oval hardware, so we figure we might as well assemble a suitable carrying case to afford us street- and track-thrashing opportunities. That, in turn, provides the opportunity for us to share in your pain and frustration when dealing with the classic-car marketplace. Initially, we thought about getting something a little left of the mainstream, like a Maverick, Comet, Torino, and so on. Then we found that most guys selling this stuff think it's nearly as valuable as the big-name models, which defeats much of the purpose for having an offbeat car and helped us make a decision: We would go mainstream and we'd do it on a budget. We'd just have to be crafty.

This lead to the acquisition of a '67 Mustang coupe. It's as Ford as Ford gets, it's from the right era, it's front-and-center enthusiast fodder, and just about every piece of it is reproduced. It is not, however, without its flaws. No doubt the first criticism lobbed our way will have to do with the fact that this particular Mustang has a straight-six. Yeah, we know-it's a girl's car. No worries; we know how to fix that. Our rationale goes something like this: If we'd paid more for a factory V-8 car, the extra investment would likely have netted us a clapped-out small-block that would get yanked, a tired C4 trans that would buckle under anything more than 250 hp, a worn-out suspension that would need rebuilding anyway, and four-wheel drum brakes that are pretty much intolerable at this point. In short, the only critical part we might not replace on a V-8 car is the rearend (six-cylinder cars have spindly 7 1/4-inch axles). No big.

Besides, six-cylinder cars are where a lot of the remaining deals on good steel remain. Still worried about our coupe's image? Take a look at some vintage photos from the '67-'68 seasons of Trans-Am racing and you'll see Mustang coupes, not fastbacks, battling the Camaros. Even Shelby ran them.

So fear not. Our new project will evolve into a street killer you'll want to steal. In the meantime, check over the saga of the purchase and our insights into obtaining a project without getting hosed and then reviving a vehicle that's been sitting dormant for years without wrecking stuff.

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