New photos added to the Picasa Photo Album – check them out!

We are finally starting to put this thing back together. The only thing that is keeping us from going all out balls to the wall on this is money (of course) and getting/coordinating the time to do it. Thanks so much to my cousin Doug, though. He said in the beginning that he would help out with purchasing the parts, and he came through. After he had some of them sent over to me from CJ Pony Parts, Bobby went to town and did a good bit of work – see the most recent cowl and radiator support work! Go to the album at

Battery Apron, Radiator Support, Lower Cowl Extension installed -

After Doug purchased the parts, and I helped with the demo, Bobby went to town tacking in the Battery Apron and Radiator Support - and installing the passenger side floor, firewall extensions and Lower Cowl Extensions

It’s all coming along!

The New Floors are Here! It should all start to come together now, right??

Floor Pans are here

Floor pans arrived.

I bought the floor pans, seat platforms, grommets and caps for the floors, along with the cowl side panels and floor-to-firewall extensions from CJ Pony Parts on sale. They backordered some of the parts – and I should get those by the end of this week, I hope. During the week we will decide how much of the floor to cut off, how high up on the firewall we want to go, and whether or not we should also repair/replace the lower cowls once we get the cowl side panels off.

Got some good articles, pics, and advice here, here and here. Bobby was right on with his rosette welding strategy, and I think that is definitely what we will do where the previous welds were spot welds. Also, based upon the articles, stitch welding will be necessary as well. The question was do we overlap or but weld the seams. Turns out the discussion on Mustang Forums addressed this very issue – and the winner is…. But the seams in nearly all cases using high-quality seam sealer and a good weld.

This is the fun part. Installing the floor pans will mark the first act of putting My Uncle Pete’s Mustang back together!! I am excited about this and hopefully it marks what will become a relatively timely reassembly of the car. It all depends on finances at this point as well as garage availability – the latter being the more pressing issue of the two because as I mentioned in my previous post, the garage is good for a month to a month and a half.

Sitting here watching the wheels go round and round….

Part of me wishes that were true. Just sit and watch the wheels go round and round. The wheels of cars as they whirl by while I am sitting on my front porch sipping coffee; the wheels of airplanes taking off and landing on the tarmac as I wait to board my flight to tropical climates – but none of these, while nice all of them, can affect me more than seeing the wheels of my Uncle’s Mustang speeding down a New Jersey highway under the power of it’s newly rebuilt 289 2v Ford power plant. I dreamt the other night that was exactly what was going on – except in my dream, the Mustang was a convertible – not the classic Luxury Coupe that it is in life. The color, Tahoe Turquoise, gleaming fresh out of the paint booth. All a dream – but one that I will achieve soon.

I know, it’s been a while since I’ve written on this blog. A long while – but during my “blog hiatus” I was still working on the car, making progress. We all know that I was afraid of my own proclivity for slacking off from the work (best case) or just plain neglecting the project (worst case), and while I did slack off with the blog, I am happy to say that I didn’t slack off with the work on the car. It’s slowed down because I was limited by the lack of tools, knowledge, cash, and a car lift. Between that and not being able to afford the luxury of renting my friend Gary’s garage, it was time for a change of venue.

In its new temporary home!

I started to work on my own garage – cleaning it out, relocating stuff to other parts of the house. Time was running out on me and the car, and once again, it all fell into place. Months before, I had met my friend Bobby. Bobby and I, I found out through sheer coincidence, had a mutual friend, Leo Barnaby. Leo, a prolific race car designer, engineer, and driver, was killed in a 2008 car accident, and in some hard-to-believe chain of events, Bobby and I met a couple of years after Leo’s death. Bobby, a gifted A-plus mechanic himself, built a garage (my dream garage, for sure). During the planning phase to get the Mustang here and not long after I committed to bringing the car to Gary’s, he offered to let me work on the car at his garage. He’s also be very generous as time has gone on with tools, advice, moral support, and now, his garage.

The change of atmosphere is good for me, Bobby says it’s good for him, and I know it’s good for the car. More room, and Bobby and I are getting a lot done together. And that’s good, because we don’t have forever in this garage.

Generosity Rules

So Bobby’s garage is, frankly, the shit. The dream garage of any auto enthusiast, mechanic, or tinkerer alike. Pictures don’t do it justice. It is better than some of the shops I’ve worked in. It’s large, clean, and equipped with state of the art equipment and he has generously offered up space in his garage to do some of the fabrication and metal work on the car – as well as engine disassembly. While he has freely offered it up, this kind of generosity comes with some rules – not from Bobby – but set up by me to keep from taking advantage. What my father and some of the principles of Uncle Pete’s Golf Etiquette has taught me demand that I not only keep from looking this gift horse in the mouth, but I also reciprocate my friend’s generosity. If not for him, I would still be paying a lot of money per month to store the car. Money that (if I had it) would be better spent on the car itself. He know’s I am grateful, and we’ve talked about and established some goals and boundaries. I basically have 2 months – now a month and a half, to do as much work on it as I can. I may have more – but that is entirely at Bobby’s discretion.

What We’ve Done Over the Last Couple of Weeks

Well – you can check it out on the Picasa Progress Picture album for specifics. We are moving along fast, and the only thing that will stop me is financials. If you want to help, buy Toner and Ink from my company, Green Peak Imaging Solutions, LOL!!

  1. The engine and transmission are finally out:
  2. No Tranny! Bobby took it out!

    Coming out - took like 5 minutes.

    On the Stand

    No Engine!

  3. Engine is disassembled:
  4. One of the Heads - They Need Rebuilding

    Top of One of the Pistons - where'd that drill hole come from?

    Parts Table


Coming up next – metal work!

Still working, but I just quit my job….

So I haven’t been writing as much lately. And this was bound to happen – but here is really good news: I have been making some really good progress working hard on the car.

The front of the Mustang nearly all disassembled

Passenger's side disassembled

I’ve completed quite a bit since the last post – removed the fenders, the splash shields, disassembled the door panels and kick panels (which I had to remove to get to the last fender bolt – THAT was an adventure, haha).

I don’t have a disassembly book yet, and I am thinking that I need one. Make that, I definitely need one. I spent a good half hour trying to figure out the location of that last fender bolt. It was fun, but it took too long.

I have been taking a LOT of pictures, and one thing I did do, per my father’s suggestion, is I have posted them – but not on this blog. I will post some of them on the blog, but like I said – I take A LOT of pictures. Have a look at them in my Picasa album that I created for the blog.

I am getting closer and closer to removing the engine – but I need to get a “cherry picker” to Toms River. In the mean time I am going to continue the disassembly. I want to make the blog better, too. I want to get a cheap laptop to bring to the garage so that I can update some of the blog real time. Also, I am going to have much more time. On Friday I handed in my resignation at my job.

Among other things, I am hoping that I might have more time to work on the car and this blog. I am starting my own business, so I fear not…. We’ll see.

Catching Up

So I have a lot of catching up to do. But here’s a quick look at some of the Progress that I’ve made. I haven’t written in a while, but there is no good reason why other than I have had other stuff on my mind. One of my challenges is to remain consistent with this blog, and consistent for me is every once in a while taking an unexplainable hiatus from the blog.

But not from the car.

I’ve been working pretty hard on the car. My main goal was to get the car started. This was a seed planted by my friend Chris, and it started with me rebuilding the carburetor.

Carb was pretty lacquered up with varnish

I was a little nervous about this until I actually started to do it. I am putting together a separate page for the blog that details the rebuild – an idea I had when I started a blog entry that was a step-by-step, blow-by-blow account of how I rebuilt the carb.

In short, first I removed the carb. The carburetor was stained with old gas – giving it the bronze patina indicative of its age and illustrative of the time it has sat, idle in the garage. I actually thought for a moment that the carb was supposed to be that color.

I brought the carb home to my place and took a couple of weekends to rebuild it. I got a carburetor rebuild kit from CJ Pony Parts (which I see has been reduced in price since I purchased it, goddammit!), I found myself a Gunk brand carburetor dip, disassembled the carb, soaked the parts for days in the dip.

I reassembled the carb, and said my prayers. I brought it back to the car with a plan – but first I needed to get rid of the old gas in the car. That took some doin – but ultimately, I was able to drain the gas tank (they actually have drainplugs – as I recall, GMs don’t). Two trips to my ex-brother-in-law’s used car lot with the stinky, varnish-like gas and the deed was done.

My goal, again, was to get the car started – and after some challenges dealing with getting a fuel filter for the carb, I hooked her up, got the firing order from one of the old books that my cousin had with the car, dropped a fuel line from the fuel pump into a gas can with a gallon of fresh gas.

And then? Well, see for yourself.

With my friend Gary’s help, the car sang for the first time in perhaps a decade. That was what I needed. It was music to my ears – the inspiration to continue the journey. The car was speaking to me and I called my wife and started the car for her, my parents and started the car for them, my cousin, Mary, and even though it was her voicemail, I started the car for her, too. After calling and starting the car for my friend Irwin, I called my buddy Ed, and started the car for him. He had doubts as to whether or not I rebuilt the carb correctly.

What’s the next step? Well, I wanted to drive the car, of course. I didn’t. Actually, I couldn’t. No valve covers, so it would have blown oil out everywhere. No brakes, so I would not have been able to stop. No gas in the actual gas tank, so I would not have gotten far anyway. Just hearing the engine run was going to have to be enough, and you know what? It was.

Next, I spent the rest of yesterday and today prepping the engine for removal. Have a look before:

Back Before It All

And After:

And Now After - Almost Ready for Extraction

Now – how am I gonna get that engine out???

Gotta be in it to win it!

The '67 Shelby

I’ve entered a couple of sweepstakes to win a Mustang since I started the blog. The one that I entered today, in particular, is very cool. It’s the Mustang Dream Giveaway Sweepstakes, and I now have a chance to win, not one, but TWO Shelby GT500 Mustangs. To boot, one is a restored 1967 Shelby GT500 and the other is the 2010 “Patriot Edition” GT500.

The 2010 "Patriot Edition" Shelby

These freaking cars are HOT, but they are not the only reason why YOU should enter this contest. The real reason is that proceeds go to the Healing Heroes Network. Read up on them, they are a charity that provides therapy to members of the United States armed forces injured in the line of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan on or after 09/11/01 – all at no charge. Healing Heroes Network provides treatments and services not currently covered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, for which these troops are in desperate need.

Worth it, in my humble opinion.

So, if you want, give it a try, go to the Win the Mustangs website and buy some tickets. If you do and win, hook me up and let me drive one so I can say I did!

Ti-i-i-ime is on my side (or is it?)

It’s funny how time just rolls on. Sometimes slower than is bearable, but most times these days time passes so fast I can hardly keep up with what is going on. I spent a great deal of time a few weekends before my trip with my young Niece and Nephews. Watching thier insane play reminded me how much I wanted the time to pass sometimes.

Wow - this one brings back memories.

Time was the enemy – especially at school. I was a clock watcher. I would watch the clock, try to pass the time by replaying the previous night’s Happy Days episode in my mind, by pretending to read a text book, or by passing the time with daydreams. My teacher would get pissed and scold me when she caught me watching the clock, so I became a pro at being discreet about it, and the scoldings stopped – or maybe the teacher just gave up?

Regardless, as I sneaked glances at the black-rimmed, white-faced clock I often swore that the red second hand was standing still – or worse, moving backwards. To this day I am certain it did. The daydreams never seemed to drown out the white noise of teachers droning on about all of the homework we were going to get that night – homework I would never do, EVER. The only thing that mattered was getting the heck out of school and getting to the business of youthful insanity, and that couldn’t happen fast enough.

You can actually buy this clock - click to see!

So watching my niece and nephews as my trip to San Antonio and then over to Fort Myers to pick up the Mustang approached, the days crawled. I’m not watching the clock per se, and it’s not the teachers droning I hear – but I do have a boss (actually multiple bosses) and some coworkers who provide a consistent low hum rather than that ear ripping drone, thank God – but it’s a drone nonetheless.

None of that matters in the scheme of things, though. It’s taken my whole life to learn about what really matters. I am reminded of it on a daily basis.

That Sunday, at my Nephew Ryan’s communion party, there were three generations of family accounted for starting with my Father and his sister, Aunt Frances, along with my Mother and her brother and sister-in-law, Uncle Jim and Aunt Laura. Rounding out the trifecta of generations was my Aunt Frances’ children and grandchildren and my Father’s and Mother’s children and grandchildren.

This is from a '67 Mustang

At the party, as I was telling my family about what I planned to do with Uncle Pete’s Mustang, I started to wonder if the connection would continue? I mean, I was around Ryan’s age when I started realizing who my Uncle Pete really was – Ranger Fan, War Veteran, Mailman…. I had questions, and my Dad always answered them – and if Uncle Pete was around, he most certainly would answer them, too. Now that I am an Uncle I wonder if my Neice and Nephews like to have me around as I did my Uncles. They have gotten to know me – I am Uncle Denny, the Uncle with the long hair (sometimes), the 3 cats, the red Mustang, the Yankees tickets, Ranger Fan, etc.

The nephews are Michael – the oldest, and who was ironically born on the same day as My Uncles Mustang was just over three decades before; Ryan, Michael’s younger brother. He’s the middle son of my middle sister and he – is – a – goof – ball. He’ll be a comedian for sure; Christopher, my Godson, and the youngest brother of Michael and Ryan and the youngest one that calls me Uncle. It would never surprise me if he turns out to be the toughest of the three boys. . Then there is Katie, second in age to Michael, and she is my baby sister’s daughter. If I had to predict who would follow the path of restoring their Uncle Denny’s 96 Mustang GT Convertible in 20 years, it would not be any of the boys – it would be Katie. I’ll try to keep it in good condition for her just in case :-).

I love all of the kids very much and I often brag about them to friends and acquaintances. I know Uncle Pete felt the same way about my cousins and I. I can only hope that at least one of them feels about me the way I felt about Uncle Pete and the rest of my Uncles and Aunts.

How do I measure the pride I have for these kids? My cup overfloweth. My heart fills with pride and joy as I watch them, sometimes with complete amazement. It’s at those times that I want to slow the clock down. I have come to realize how valuable my time with them and my family is. As I watch the next generation enjoy their youth, working hard on chaotic play, I realize that the red second hand standing still, even just for a moment, wouldn’t be so bad. These days when time is flying by lickety-split, its astonishing – even unnerving. I’ll take the slow days with family and friends – those are the days when, yep, time is on my side.

The Last Leg – Part 4 – The end, the beginning….


The Mustang approached New Jersey long before schedule, thanks to a bit of help/luck and the Cape May-Lewes Ferry. My sense of satisfaction evolved into a sense of anticipation as I thought about showing the car to my Parents.

I pulled out of the boat and I had mixed emotions about the trip close to being finished.

And then I got lost in Cape May.

On the Beach in Cape May

Yep, one of the smallest towns in New Jersey, the Garden State Parkway signs are on every corner, and I got lost. How? Well, I called my wife on the phone and was bragging to her about how cool the boat ride was, the people on the boat, the dolphins, and before I knew it I was on the Beach Avenue on the southeastern shore. Please don’t ask how, I just looked at a map and I can’t figure it out.

The houses were very nice, though. Getting lost wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, and I just turned left and started up Beach Avenue. I stopped for a bit and relaxed. I took the picture to the left from across the wide Beach Ave, and posted it on Facebook to let folks know I was nearly home from my trip. Then I got back in the car and made my way to my parents house. I smiled as I contemplated that if I had gone the long route via I-95 through DC and the New Jersey Turnpike, I would still be in Delaware.

Mom and Pop and the Mustang

The ride to Little Egg Harbor from Cape May was a quick one. As I pulled up my Parent’s street and approached their house, my Dad peeked out from his front porch. He no doubt heard the clinking and the clunking of the truck and trailer. He smiled as he walked out while I pulled the 40 foot auto apparatus in front of his house.

My Mom followed not far behind, and they both inspected the car – I think above and beyond everything else, she was glad that the car and I made it safely home.

Their next door neighbor came home and was looking over at us and my Dad said, “This is my brother’s Mustang, my son just brought it up from Florida.”

The Mustang, Pop and I in front of his house

I was hungry, and I wanted to take pictures and then eat something. I had my heart set on a PB&J and after Mom took a picture of Dad and I together in front of the Mustang, we went in to the house. I laughed because my Mom had the peanut butter and bread out on the counter all ready for me. Either it was the Mom Psychic-ness or I had mentioned that I had a hankerin for a PB&J to her from the road.

They had a lot of questions, and while I was making and inhaling I tried to answer all of them – How’s Mary and Doug? Did you see Lea? Nicky? Philly? How are the kids? How old are they now? Did you see Phil? How was the ride? Who were the people that you wrote about on the blog?

We talked a bit about the people on the blog and Pop mentioned that this was a journey. The Mustang, even though it was strapped to a trailer behind me the whole way, was taking me on this journey, and my mind started to wander through some of my other life’s journeys that I have taken – both literally and figuratively and the thought brought a smile to my face. I have much more to experience from life, I hope, but this journey with my Uncle’s Mustang has become more than just me getting it and restoring it. At least right now, it has become therapeutic, healing, and it has at the least brought family together and fueled the fire to bring them together again soon.

In front of our house

I left after about an hour because I was on a schedule. I had to get home. It was getting late, and I wanted to get the car in the garage in Toms River before 10pm. I made it home in a bit more than normal time because I had to get off of the Parkway – no trailers or trucks.

With daylight still lingering, I was able to get a few quick pictures of the car in front of our house. There is no doubt that at this point I was feeling some relief, and I wanted to keep moving. I unpacked the truck and brought my luggage and pile of garbage in the house. Eileen was waiting and was ready to go – but first she took some pictures. I took one of her in the car, me beside it, the one you see here in front of the house – I was feeling a sense of pride and building excitement that the end of my trip was near.

We battened down the Mustang (I always checked the straps and the hitch on the trip) and got back on the road. It was later now and dark, but something told me to call my Uncle Jim whom I mentioned earlier in my blog – he also had a ’66. It was his first car out of the service, so I called and my Aunt Laura answered and gave us an enthusiastic green light to stop by.

Uncle Jim was delighted as were Eileen and I. “Bringing back memories,” was the mantra, and he reflected upon every aspect of the car – so similar to his.

We had to get back on the road, though – it was late and dark now and we still had nearly an hour to drive down to Toms River.

New Home Pro Tem - Safe and Sound

After driving for what seemed like all day, the Mustang was minutes away from the end of the trip. We pulled up to the house. I unlatched the car, and within 20 minutes or so, we had the car in the garage. It took some elbow grease and Eileen’s driving prowess while a sleepy Gary and I pushed the car up the driveway into it’s new home pro tem.

The trip was over, but getting the Mustang here marked a new beginning for the car and hopefully our family.

I’m tired. I have been since I came home – and on Saturday, the path to the car’s restoration begins. A customer of mine who restores cars had a great recommendation and I am going to take it. He recommended that I try to get the engine running. I was going to just pull the engine and tranny to get the heads redone, the transmission tuned and the whole powertrain blasted and painted.

Change of plans. I am going to squirt some Marvel Mystery Oil into the cylinders, pull the carb, rebuild it, and then start the engine if for no other reason, to hear the car run. Chris, the guy who recommended I do this, does this and says that it is a great motivator to hear the engine run and in the case of the Mustang, it would be a nice start – the car hasn’t run in 10 years at least.

So while this marks the end of the trip, it marks the beginning of the restoration – and the lessons continue.

The Last Leg – Part 3 – Horizons

Welcome Aboard!

I was quite relieved when I made the ferry – and a bit amazed once again how it all was working out. Not once before the night before my last travel day did I even consider the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, and yet here I was driving onto the boat. As I drove on board, I felt a strong sense of satisfaction that soon I was going to be back in New Jersey with the Mustang – and a comedic irony that I was driving the car onto a boat. I wondered if Uncle Pete took the ferry when he drove the Mustang down to Florida from my Aunt Frances’ house in northern Jersey.

Safe in the Belly of the Boat

I started thinking about him as I pulled further into the belly of the boat. As I followed the instruction of the attendant on the Ferry, I wondered if Uncle Pete would be happy that I was bringing the car to my parent’s house for my Father, his baby brother, to see. The instructor guided me to within a foot of the car in front of me. I shut the engine down, and got out and walked to the back of the car. The Mustang was the last in line, and another attendant put a wheel chuck behind the trailer wheel to keep it from sliding back I guess.

People started to exit their cars and a number of them came over to the Mustang. The guy who scanned my ticket asked me if it was a 64 1/2. I told him it was a ’66 and he told me that he had a ’65 – I think he said it was a fastback. Then a gentleman named Ray from New Jersey came up. He complimented how good the condition of the car was.

I told him the story – My Uncle Pete was the original owner and the car has been sitting in his garage in Florida for more than a decade. I mentioned that he took good care of it with the help of his son.

“You know,” I added, “I think he’d really love all of the reaction this car has gotten from people during this trip.”

I showed him the interior and we walked around the back of the car.

“It’s really in good shape,” he said.

He then added that he had a doctor in Philadelphia that had a 64 1/2 convertible (pretty rare car!). It was gorgeous I would think, and I was shocked when he told me that they traded it in early in the ’90s for a Mercury Grand Marquis. Wow. If only they’d known.

He snapped a picture of the Mustang and I with his cell phone – my first pic with the car outside of Florida! I didn’t want to leave the car behind, but I did want to go upstairs. Before I did, I snapped one more pic from a distance:

DEEP in the Belly of the Boat LOL

I made my way up onto the deck, and relaxed. We were moving at a good clip, and then someone announced over the loudspeaker that there were dolphins playing along side the boat. I ran to take a picture – and I saw them, but they dove down before I could snap a pic. You’ll just have to believe me. I have never seen a dolphin in New Jersey waters before. This was collectively a trip of firsts – first time driving by myself from Florida, first time hauling a car, first time seeing my young cousins kids, first time on the CMLF…. On and on and on.

Delaware Disappears

The ride was nice. It was peaceful. I sat towards the front of the boat first and then made my way to the back of the boat to watch the last few days disappear beyond the horizon. I realized that as I looked back, how very special this trip had been and I was only a few short hours away from it ending.

I couldn’t help but think about how I loved this trip. I felt myself smiling as I thought about the reunion with my cousins – Lea and her daughters Emily and Mary, Nicky and her sons Nicholas and Nathan, Phil, his wife, his son Phillip Cosmo, and his newborn son, Peter – not to mention Doug and Mary.

The way it’s all worked out till now could be luck, but I believe I am blessed. There I was on a boat, just a few minutes away from being back on New Jersey soil and only an hour or so away from my Pop’s house. I couldn’t predict what my parents’ reaction was going to be when they saw the car, but I was going to find out soon….

New Jersey Appears