1965 Ford Mustang: Preserve or Part?

Swiss cheese hood

There are some cars that beg the question of whether they should be restored or if they would be better used as a parts donor. This 1965 Mustang found here on craigslist on Florida does not have a listed price but does appear to straddle the line of preserving or parting. The hood and roof look like they bore the brunt of being exposed to the elements, with heavy corrosion on the front end and discoloration from runoff up above. Surprisingly, the interior looks quite nice, with clean white upholstery, a decent dash and stock steering wheel. I can’t quite figure out how the insides survived so well considering the exterior appearance – maybe a restoration was started and never finished? Either way, I see other spots of corrosion all over the body, so this one warrants an in-person inspection. So, would you preserve it or part it out?


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  1. roger

    I would fix outer body shell.
    Since it is just a 6cyl 4 lug car here is what I would do.
    Then cut out floor and put on S10 chassis.
    This has been done with great success.
    Then you can even run chevrolet V8
    This would be better than scrapping it.

  2. Dave at OldSchool

    advertised price is about right ….. 1/2-$1

  3. J.W.

    I would have to do a closer inspection of the floorboards / trunk to actually make a honest bid. It looks to be mostly there but that also could mean it’s a parts car bonanza.

  4. MikeW

    Most coupes aren’t worth restoring moneywise, and especially this rust bucket. Sorry but it’s just a parts car. My group https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/classicmustang/info

    • don

      agree parts car at best , to far gone and a 6 banger to boot

  5. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    The seller claims that it could be a ’64 1/2. Anyone see any proof to back that up? At a couple hundred, it could be a decent parts car for someone.

    • J.W.

      I noticed that and the only way I know to tell is looking for a generator rather than a alternator but I didn’t see either one (missing).

      • MikeW

        The generator is just one, and it usually gets replaced with a alternator. The others include the vin with the engine code, in this case a U for 170. The main thing I look for besides the vin is the 3 extra louvers in the radiator support for cooling the battery.

    • Stan

      There are several ‘signs’ on “64 1/2” cars – but unfortunately the pictures listed don’t show ANY of them to indicate this is in fact a true 64 1/2 car. But, if it IS, what people need to understand is that of all 64 1/2’s only 17% were the 170 ci 6 cyl. Depending on what the seller is willing to take and what the buyer’s level of experience is – it could be a good deal

      • Rocco Member

        It does NOT have a ‘641/2 headlight assembly. They are beveled for the hood to clear, because the hood is lower at that point. If those are Mustang seats, they’re upholstered with some funky covers.
        Like MikeW said, the eng. has a dual vacuum advance distributor that didn’t come out until ’68, but that could have been replaced over the last 50 yrs. along with maybe the eng.
        It is what it is. Parts, if any are good.

  6. skloon

    It’s done bury the body

  7. GaryK

    Those white stains on the driver floor mat look like salt. This could have been under water at some time. I don’t think I have ever seen an air cleaner rust like that before either.

  8. Alan (Michigan)

    I like the caption: “Swiss-cheese-hood”


    One of the most weirdly rusted cars I have seen in a while. I’m wondering how the fender tops escaped whatever nibbled away at the hood and air cleaner. Very strange.

    • racer99

      Alan, have to agree. How you could have a completely gone hood with decent fenders and a rotted air cleaner with the rest of the underhood decent is a mystery. The top to me just looks dirty but as JW mentioned there’s a whole lot that goes unknown with the way the pictures are done. Title is questionable as well and nothing mentioned about engine/drive-train condition. Probably worth a leap at $500 as a parts car and you may get lucky and find it a decent driver.

  9. Tom Stewart

    It’s almost like the hood is off a different car.

  10. Gary Fogg

    I have a roof with all four pillars all cut off and ready to weld onto that one….just saying.

  11. MikeW

    The engine looks like a 66-68 200 ci. this one would have to have the engine code “U” to be a 64½. the other sure way to tell is for the radiator support to have the 3 extra louvers for cooling the battery/generator.

  12. BradL

    There are too many decent Mustangs available for anyone to waste their time and money on this one. Parts car.

  13. Karl

    The hard thing for me to believe is that after all these years of Mustang restoration, there are still some unrestored rustballs like this still out there. It makes you wonder if any were ever scrapped. Maybe after spinning a rod bearing by running it without oil at 150,000 miles, everybody said to themselves, “Well, I could make $100 by turning it in for scrap, but no, I’m going to park it in the swamp behind the house, leave it there for 20 years, and then make some REAL money.”
    I restored one just like this almost thirty years ago, and I agree, there’s no real money in it. Ford just made too many 6-cylinder coupes, and anyway, the V8 is the real car to have. You do a car like this because you want to. Having said that, if the underneath of the car looks like the hood, its a goner. But the fact that the hood is SO much worse than the other body panels makes me wonder if the hood is from another car, or another source; for example, maybe its a copycat part made overseas (they were available back when I was restoring mine, IIRC). In that case, the jury’s still out, and the car is still viable. I hope so; I hate to see a Mustang scrapped. It’s just wrong.

  14. Cameron Bater UK

    There is a third option, seeing as the chassis can handle at least 1200 HP (English fuel) without strengthening why not take it, strip it for parts and rebuild it to your specs as a performance racer?

    • Rocco Member

      Where did you get the idea that the stock chassis even IF new could handle 1200HP in any language? Maybe 600HP with a 6-point cage welded in a good body to start with. 1200HP would require a full tube chassis, with just a body bolted to it for looks.

  15. ktreece

    I am late to the thread, but I would get a donor hood and be thankful breather was on there to protect the carb body. Leave it as original as possible and keep the L6. Do it right or sell it for parts to someone who may take the opportunity to take the time to do it correctly.

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