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!

Home – I’m gonna sleep!

I have arrived home safe and sound and My Uncle’s Mustang is now at it’s Restoration Headquarters. Today has been a long ride – but it was AWESOME for more reasons than one – but I am not going to write about it tonight. I am exhausted, and I’ll write about it tomorrow.

I will say that I stopped at my Cousin’s this morning in Virginia beach, my parent’s in Little Egg Harbor, NJ, my house to pick up my wife in Keyport, NJ, my uncle Jimmy’s and Aunt Laura’s not far from my house to show him the car and then back down to south central NJ (Toms River) to drop the car off at its temporary digs. All is well.

Restoration Headquarters

I’m here!

Thank GOD today’s flight was uneventful – even on time. To say that Monday’s flight to San Antonio for my business conference SUCKED COMPLETELY would be a total understatement. But today was good. It was relaxing.

So my golf clubs arrived at my cousin’s house unharmed early in the evening yesterday. The plan keeps falling into place – I could golf all the way home if I want. Me? I arrived to my cousin’s house early in the evening today. Doug picked me up at the airport. It was great to see him and talk to him. We were so busy talking about “stuff” that we missed a turn off and had to wing his Toyota Pickup around to right ourselves. I forgot that u-turns are not only legal in Florida, but necessary!

We got to the house, and I was immediately brought back to the late nineties – the last time I was here with my future wife, actually! I remember, Aunt Lotte and Uncle Pete both giving me their resounding approval of her – and implored me to get married. It took another 6-or-so years to get down to that, but I did – finally!

So I walked into the house ahead of Doug Sr, and called out “Hey Cuz!” and out walked my cousin Mary. She hasn’t changed at all – she still has that beaming smile that is only Mary’s. After hugs and some catch-up, we walked into the garage, and there it was – My Uncle’s Mustang – the center piece of all that matters this very moment. My thoughts spun out of control as my minds eye recalled my Uncle, my Aunt, my cousins, all his family that I don’t see nearly enough. With cleared thoughts, I had a look and my hopes were confirmed – the car is in great shape.

I took this myself

On the ride over, I asked for some more detail about what had been done to the car, and Doug told me that it was my cousin Phil, Uncle Pete’s son, who had done all of the work on the car over the years. He  filled me in on some of what Phil had done before Uncle Pete passed away. Engine work, body work, interior work – he did it all and kept the car running and respectable. Phil is and always has been a huge-hearted man and as Doug told me what Phil did to keep his Dad’s car on the road and in such good shape, I wasn’t surprised.

I started to feel some guilt about what I was doing. Taking the car from the garage it’s sat in ostensibly since my Uncle passed away is a disruption to what has likely become a familiar setting. I thought that maybe keeping the car in the family might be of comfort, albeit cold comfort; that bringing it to a luster long since faded will heal any wound; that the very thought of the Mustang restored will invoke reflection about his Dad like it has for me.

I am doing this for all of us. For my Dad, for Phil, Doug Jr., Mary, Doug Sr, and all of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I am doing it for Aunt Lotte (who’s car it really was initially) and I am doing it for Uncle Pete. My heart and my emotion tell me that what I am doing is right – like it needs to be done. I don’t know why, but I am here today, touching the car for the first time in over a decade and it all feels right. Today I am here and I am just going to keep putting one foot in front of the other with the hopes that what I am doing is right.

Go Pony, It’s Your Birthday….

Today is my Nephew Michael’s tenth birthday. Double digits, and it feels like only yesterday I was waiting around in the hospital for the first child of the next generation of my immediate family to be born. It’s painfully obvious based on his pension for wiseassery and understandable impatience for the adults (read, ME, haha) that it wasn’t yesterday and yes, in fact, he is most certainly TEN.

Forty four years ago today – a little over a year before I was born – and exactly thirty-four years before my nephew was born, My Uncle’s Mustang rolled off the assembly line in Metuchen, NJ. I was searching forums to find out where abouts the plant was, and I think it was somewhere just south of Interstate 287 on the southbound side of Route 1, but I am not sure. The plant has long been demolished, but leaves behind a legacy that will live long in Ford Mustangs like my Uncle’s.

I was trying to find a vintage picture of the Tahoe Turquoise Mustang Coupe to get an idea of what it looked like off the line – but I haven’t found one. I will. Today has been a day filled with nostalgia – a happy day – and a very Happy Birthday.