My car officially is turning into a project, so I’ll start a thread on what I’m doing to it. I’m looking at doing things in a couple of phases - the first is to get the car back in shape for the road and the second is to make it nice. For the first round I’m working on cleaning it up and getting the underside rust taken care of. I’ve already done some work on the fender aprons, but this is essentially the “before” shot of the engine compartment:
I’m working on getting the engine and transmission pulled so I can clean things up and put a new clutch in it. I’ve got some torque box and floorpan repair to do, which is something I’ve never tried before.
My second phase may end up being a couple of years down the road. Along with some new (well, different anyway) rear quarter panels, I’d like to get it swapped out to an FE and manual (probably 5-speed) transmission.
I like the idea of the FE 5 speed. Are you thinking about WAY down the rd. on a big block? The only reason I ask is that in the short term, a stroker kit for that small block would also put a smile on your face when you mash the gas.
Sorry, that’s the cheap skate in me talking. Big blocks are a lot of fun, and having driven a friends low perf 390 1/2 ton pickup back in highschool made a believer out of me. For a stock engine with nothing more than duals, that thing would MOVE!!! Yeah, wait and build an FE. they’re awesome.
I think it will probably end up being 4-5 years down the road. I’ve been doing a lot of contemplating on engine until that point. I’ve got several options available, but the cheapskate in me says leave the 289 alone and just drive it. It ran mid 14’s when I had it at the track in the early 2000’s, so it will at least get out of it’s own way. I really hadn’t thought of a stroker kit, but that may be a decent option, too. It would probably help out my lower-than-optimum compression ratio with the '69 351W heads I’ve currently got on it. Another possibility I would have is putting a 302 out of a 2000 Mountaineer into it. I’d have to buy a few parts, but it would still be relatively simple and inexpensive.
I grew up with having a mid 70’s F250 around with a '67 Cyclone 390 in it. That’s part of the reason for wanting an FE instead of a cheaper and higher horsepower 460. A friend of mine drag races a stock class '67 Cougar with a 390/4-speed and I’ve always loved the sound of that thing (along with the sub 11 second time slips), too. The other reason is that it’s the closest thing I’ll have to a '68 Bullitt replica, which wouldn’t be proper without an FE and manual transmission.
I’m hoping it will be a fun one. I suppose as long as I don’t find too much more rust it will be OK. I’ve wanted to do this for about the last 15 years or so, so it’s nice to finally get started.
Here’s my latest:
I need to get the engine and transmission out yet before I do too much more. As you can see from the picture, I got the radiator support removed. The old one was cut up pretty badly and it made sense just to replace it. I still need to cut the lower part out yet, but am leaving it there for support until the engine is out. I got a new fender apron to replace where the battery box mounts (currently cut out), and I must say the quality is terrible. It’s a Canadian made piece, so I expected a little better. The shape is vaguely similar to the original sheetmetal. Fortunately, the area I need to replace is actually pretty close, and will pretty much be covered up by the battery box anyway.
It’s a Crane HI-6. I was impressed with how smooth the rev limiter is on it when I bought it. I’ll eventually get something with a 2 step, but I’ll probably just use it for now. I’ll definitely get another digital unit when I do change.
Ok, at first I thought it was a Mark Ten B box from Delta products. Which are collectable when guys are doing period correct day two restorations as that was a good ignition street/strip upgrade back in the day with points. I would think the older crane boxes have some value as well. http://selectric.org/delta/index.html
It does look pretty similar to the Mark Ten B box. This unit is from about 2000, so it’s probably not on the “classic” list yet. I switched from points to a Duraspark ignition system fairly soon after I got the car (early '90’s) and eventually switched over to the Crane box. The conversion from points to the Duraspark system was really pretty easy. I had to cut a notch into the distributor housing for the wiring to come through, but otherwise I didn’t even remove the distributor from the car. I eventually ditched the Duraspark unit for the Crane box, but the internals in the distributor are still the same.
From my understanding of Bullitt, there were only 2 Mustangs used for the movie - both GT’s with 390’s and 4-speeds. One got crushed shortly after the movie was shot and the other one is in hiding but still mostly in one piece. That being said, the small block has been fun. It’s made probably 50 passes down the drag strip since I’ve had it. It started out with mid 15 second passes and eventually ended up with mid 14’s before the clutch gave up. I’m hoping to run some low 14’s when I actually get it back together.
Here’s the next set of pictures with a before and after. Before:
I’ve still got a long way to go on my sheetmetal skills. This probably explains why I’d like to have a professional do the more visible work on the exterior. I’ll probably still play with it some, but I think body filler will be necessary to make it look good. The battery should hide it nicely, though.
I was going by a Hemmings Muscle Machines article a few years ago on the 390 GT stangs that made the Bullit references, so I could be very wrong, but at least as far as the article goes, they claimed that they actually did use a couple of 289 'stangs. That being said, I HAVE found discrepancies on some of their info like descriptions not matching the photos (claiming holley carbs in the side caption for a photo when it is clearly a Carter AVS). Like I said, I could be VERY wrong and probably am. I’ve emailed them a few times on those things and gotten a really snotty response, so I’ll take your word for it over Hemmings. Their is , by the way a REALLY nice '68 390 GT Bullitt tribute running around here in Conyers, GA, that is running a 390 4 speed. The next time I see it I’ll snap some photos.
I hear you on the welding thing, Caleb. Got my certifications in high school, and haven’t welded anything since. Will be doing some upper control arms for my step dad (welding the screw in ball joints in his Duster since some idiot at a repair shop decided to press them out and back in), so I am practicing in advance to get the rust off.
No problem. Everything I’ve heard through the Bullitt club is that there were 2 consecutive VIN numbered cars that were equipped identically and that’s all they used as far as Mustangs. It’s also possible that I’m missing some info, too. I wonder where they got their information from. I know not everything that gets published is looked over particularly well. A friend of mine has a rare Mopar that got published in a magazine as “one of 5 4-speed cars” and was actually one of the 6 automatic cars made. There were numerous other mistakes in it despite the corrections sent in by my friend.
A '68 Bullitt tribute would be high on my list of cars to get if I had the $$. I’d be interested in pictures. I actually got my '08 because it was the closest thing I could get to my Cougar. I thought it was pretty neat that the car was exactly 40 years newer and a new interpretation of the same color. Since my '68 isn’t going to be original, I’ve had thoughts of painting it the '08 color. Seeing the 2 colors side by side, the new color is a bit darker.
I hear you guys on the welding, too. I should probably spend more time practicing, but I’d like to get the car going again sometime this year. One thing I’ve already found out is that if you don’t pull the trigger on the MIG gun long enough (doing tack and stitch welds) it looks like it’s not getting any gas to it. If you hold it down just a little longer then the welds look nicer. That is, if you don’t burn through. It’s been a bit of a balancing act that will take some more practice to get consistently right.
The later Bullit green would be awesome. The reason my '68 is highland Green is because of that movie. Next time I go by the shop it sits at, I’ll get some pics. They did an awesome job down to the lack of logos and lettering, but minus the dent the movie car had.
If two cars is correct, then it’s a testament to how durable those cars were because McQueen and Cary Loftin (the stunt coordinator who also handled some of the hairier driving chores- check out the incoming traffic scene and compare it to the similar scene in Vanishing Point and watch the wheel work-same guy, awesome stunt driver) put those cars through torture.
Speaking of stunts, my uncle Danny (uncle by marriage), did some stunt driving for TV back in the 70s. He did some stuff for CHIPS, and did the exploding coffin on That’s Incredible.He also did some stunt work on The Fall Guy.
That’s cool that your uncle did some stunt driving. That takes a lot of skill.
They did a fair amount of bracing to the suspension and front end to try to keep things in one piece. Other mods I remember hearing about were shaved heads to increase compression ratio, distributor work, and a Shelby steering wheel. I’d like to get something similar to that Shelby wheel for my car eventually. They said the Charger was actually significantly faster than the Mustang, so it was a bit tricky trying to make it look like the Mustang would catch up to it. The Mustang used at the end of the chase scene where the front suspension broke was the one that ended up getting crushed. It was the one that did most of the high speed stunts.
That would be great to see some pictures of your car.
Here’s my latest picture:
I’m getting ready to pull the engine and transmission so the exhaust and shifter came out today. Nothing like old school glasspacks and a Hurst 4-speed shifter.
Thanks. The car green centers would look nice. You’re not letting the grass grow under your feet. You’re getting busy on that car. It’s funny that most of us look at glass packs as kind of antiquated. I can still remember when they were all the rage.