Introducing Our New Mustang Project Car

BF's Mustang Project

Yesterday we hinted at a new project car that might be joining the Barn Finds fleet. Even with only a single photo of the fender, most of you were able to guess what it was. You know you are amongst real car guys when all they need to identify a car is a curve! Anyway, Josh and I picked her up last night and as you can now fully see, it is a 1964 1/2 Ford Mustang. It’s a little worse for wear, but we are excited to tear into it and hopefully save it from uncertain doom.

Ford Mustang Project

I hadn’t planned on buying another car so soon, but while trolling craigslist I spotted this Mustang. It looked a little rough in the photos, but the seller was only asking $3,500 so I called them up and setup a time to take a look. At first glance the exterior appeared to have been haphazardly sprayed in primer. Upon closer inspection though we realized that someone had attempted an amateur paint job over the original wimbledon white long ago. Most of the stark white top coat was worn off showing the grey primer and factory paint below.

Mustang Interior

The blue interior was dirty and worn out, but there was a shift stick poking out of the transmission tunnel. The owner came out to greet us and was happy to discuss what he knew about the car. He had only owned it for a few years, but he had been busy trying to get it operable again. The owner before him had the bright idea of slowly stripping off any parts they thought were of value and selling them. The car had also been stored under a tarp and needed a lot of help just to make drivable again. Well, it is still barely drivable, but we think we can remedy that.

Mustang Inline Six

The 200 cubic inch inline-six runs great, but the exhaust is shot and the clutch pedal needs adjusted badly. The owner told us that he didn’t like pushing the pedal down so far so he set it so there is only about an inch of travel. The idea might be good in theory, but in practice it just makes cleans shifts an impossibility. Perhaps it was a cheap anti-theft device? After a little haggling we arrived at the reasonable price of $2,800. I would have liked to have gotten it cheaper, but I feel that is about right. Then after a little practice with the clutch, Josh hopped in to make the trip back home. The car did look menacing as I looked into my rear view mirror.

Barn Finds Pony

On the cautious journey home we received more thumbs up and smiles than we have ever experienced in any of our previous projects. There is just something cool about old Mustangs that everyone can appreciate. Ours drove like a truck, but everyone else seemed to loved it. After we arrived safely back at the garage, Josh grabbed a terry cloth and some rubbing compound and went to work. After only a few minutes of elbow grease, it became apparent that most of the original paint was still underneath and possibly salvageable. We did find rust in the rear quarters and a few other small spots here and there, but overall the body is straight without any major damage.

Mustang Trunk

The last owner used the trunk as a storage locker for spares. He told us that when he would do a tuneup, he would throw all the old parts in the back just in case they were needed later. Then a story about an exploded coil was told to justify the practice. Luckily, he had also sourced a new exhaust manifold and and a timing cover because the ones currently fitted to the engine are cracked. Most of the stuff will get thrown away, but we would rather buy a car from someone who saves everything than from one that throws everything out. He saved many important screws and trim pieces from the interior that may come in handy later.

Bullet Hole

Every car has a story and we have a feeling that ours has a very colorful one. A 22 bullet hole is a scar from wilder times and the rims were someone’s attempt at making this Mustang their very own. We could go any way with this one because anything is better than the direction it was headed. It was parked on the street out in the elements with a nice coating of bird droppings and tree sap. Our first order of business will probably be to address that clutch and the obnoxious exhaust. After that we will turn to some of the cosmetic issues and see what we really have to work with. What would you guys like to see us do with this one?

1964 Mustang

As most of you already know, I’m into European sports cars. I love the idea of driving something around that most people have never heard of. Quirky engineering and strange styling intrigues me. A high-revving small-bore engine and a manual transmission are my propulsion methods of choice. That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate American iron though. Muscle cars and old trucks were common sights in the little Wyoming town where Josh and I grew up. Camaros, Corvettes, and Mustangs were everywhere.

1964 Ford Mustang

The first generation Mustangs were always the ones that caught my eye though. I learned as much about them as those pre-internet days allowed and even put together a scale model of one. When driving age approached, I remember finding a  ’64 1/2 in the newspaper classifieds and convincing my father to take me to try it out. I believe it was my first time driving stick and I will never forget that short cruise around the neighborhood. We ended up not purchasing that car for whatever reason, but since then I have lusted after one of these early Pony cars. Sure, it will never be European or even a sports car, but I love it!

BF's Pony Car

It felt like Christmas morning when I woke up this today. After rushing down stairs to sneak a peek, I hurriedly got dressed and took our new old Mustang for a ride. The car needs a lot of work, but we are very excited to have something as iconic as a 1964 1/2 Mustang in the garage. We figured it was a little more in tune with the theme of this site and will hopefully be more appealing to read about. We do expect to hear some moans about the fact that we bought a six cylinder equipped car, but we have some plans to keep things interesting. So, please join us as we start this new journey together in a 50 year old Mustang!

Recent Project Updates

WANT ADS

WANTED 1975 – 77 Ford Granada 2 door Would like a V8 in decent shape Contact

WANTED 1960 to 1980 International Scout 4×4 Contact

WANTED 1957 Chevrolet Nomad Looking for a rust free Chevrolet Nomad, Sierra Gold, Adobe Beige, PW, PB, PS, A/C, nationwide Contact

WANTED 1988-1994 Toyota Pickup or 4Runner 200,000 miles or less, no rust Contact

WANTED 1977 to 1982 Ford courier I am looking for a 77- 82 ford courier 4×4 pickup, or parts for a courier 4×4 pickup Contact

Submit Your Want Ad

Comments

  1. Dolphin Member

    Congrats on the newest addition to the garage, Jesse. It looks like a very fair deal, and once it’s cleaned up and the most important needs are attended to it will be worth more than you paid for it. Be sure to keep us posted about the progress.

  2. James

    Lovely glad its getting saved and look forward to the updates.
    any chance off getting a copy of the first picture in full resolution?

    • Josh Staff

      Of course you can James! We are going to post links to several of the photos resized to the most common wallpaper sizes. Is there any size in particular you’d like or do you want the full 18 mega pixel image?

  3. jim s

    i love it. i hope you will keep the six in it with maybe some hot rod parts. keep the manual trans. get a dual master cylinder/upgrade the brakes. work on making it handle better. keep the stock paint.

  4. delace

    I would get it mechanically sorted and drive as is. Then I would do something about that upholstery.

    Keep the drivetrain. It’s bulletproof. Trust me.

  5. Randy

    I truly loved my 1965 coupe, I did not loose a penny when I sold it.

  6. jim s

    fix up the interior and install up to date belts. you will need to think about doing something with the gas tank because any impact behind the rear wheels will cause the tank to leak. yes been there, done and seen that to many times. this is going to be a lot of fun. be interesting to see if anyone desides to buy and build along. thanks

  7. Heath

    Great find! I’m also here in the valley and would love to meet up sometime and see your new ride. We own 4 65-69 mustangs, a 67 ss350 camaro, and several other cars (one ‘barn find’ that my family bought new in 59 and stuck in one of our barns in 1972. Its a 59 Galaxie 500 that we finally pulled out of the barn and are bringing back on the road, 48k original miles, paint, interior, and for now – even the tires.). Good luck on the progress!

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Thanks Heath, we would love to see your collection some time!

  8. David

    Nice ride, love the six cylinder. Advice? clean it up good, look through the suspension, maybe rebuild the front end, brakes and get some cool seat covers until you get to the interior. I like the stock steelies on them too. Get a good radio to listen to when your out driving it.

  9. sunbeamdon

    What a great find/project. I’m reminded of the ’63 Falcon six cyl – two door HT with four speed my brother-in-law and I convinced his dad to buy (new). That car was a first class sleeper/canyon carver.

    Do the interior, brakes and UPGRADE the suspension, swap in a bigger, six add dual exhaust to fool the masses (a big six with headers and glasspacks makes wonderous sounds!), leave the paint! And for S’s and G’s add 427 emblems all over the place (OK, I’m only partly serious about that – maybe just sneak one onto the rt front fender)

    Blow-out the 944 boys in the canyon!

    Best of luck – do keep us posted.

  10. Rancho Bella

    Ahhhh, now wez talkin’. I have so many things I would suggest but it ain’t cheap. If I can live long enough I will do another one in…….wait for it…..’65/’66 Mustang coupe not a fastback. The weight distribution is better.
    To keep prices within reason, ’70 Boss 302 spec springs for a ’65 (front and rear). Rubber suspension bits not poly. Koni oil shocks not gas. Shelby drop in front and drop blocks in the rear or when ordering springs from Detroit Eaton go with mid eye or reverse eye leaves.
    Widened steelies no caps.
    And that is just the beginning of me, spending, your money.

  11. paul

    Hey cheap to buy, cheap parts prices ,it’s a 64 1/2 & largely rust free, can’t go wrong with this one. I suppose if you wanted to find a 260 or 289 that would be good if it’s a 3 speed find a 4 speed. Great car good luck.

    • Rancho Bella

      What Paul wrote. Last year I gave away a ’63 289. Thez cheaper than dirt and Ford made a gazillon of em’.
      Also new top loaders can be bought new (David Kee) or used are abundant . Gawd….I’m all a flutter with is project. Ohhhh I just thought of one more item. Paxton super charger, the old style with wrinkled finished cover. They can be had from the supplier in San Marcos Ca.

      • paul

        Thank you sir, & sometimes simple is a beautiful thing & these are simple easy to work on.

  12. Shilo

    I am sooo glad you bought that Mustang!!! You saved it and your enthusiasm for the car is great. Cannot wait to hear about your progress on this little car. Congrats!!!!

  13. Shilo

    Oh what do we want you to do with it??!! Put a Pony Interior in it, upgrade it to a V-8 and put an awesome Ford Racing crate motor in it OR find an original HiPo 289 with a top loader. Paint it black and give it gold Shelby stripes. That’s all I can think of now.

  14. JW

    Nice find, keep the six, add some muscle via fordsix.com, leave the paint just clean it up, check brakes and lines along with a dual master cylinder for safety, as stated in another comment spend a $150 for a tank armor cover for the gas tank another safety item. I see it has a alternator which didn’t come on Mustangs until 65 , 64 1/2’s had a generator so someone must have converted it or it’s a 65.

    • jim s

      for people who do not want to install a fuel cell the tank armor cover looks like a good idea.

  15. RIck

    Nice photos. Good luck. Looks like one hell of a project.

  16. MikeW

    200? It should be a U code 170 if it’s a true 64 1/2. I’m looking at one right now for a daily driver.

  17. Jim-Bob

    Nice find! As you seem to want to go in an alternate direction, I have an idea. Instead of the usual V8 swap, why not a turbocharged four? The later Rangers came with a DOHC Duratec four and a 5 speed transmission that might make a good basis for such a conversion. No one would ever expect to see that at a local cruise night! Add a nice, loud blow off valve and a front mount intercooler (behind a Shelby GT-350R type valance) and you would have an early Mustang that is actually built with a new idea. For a turbo, you would need one that was properly sized, but the cheap route would probably be a T-28. They are good for somewhere around 250-270hp, if memory serves. I would also add a new front suspension and steering system too as these early Mustangs weren’t exactly the best handling cars.

    • paul

      Very interesting & light weight great for handling those twisty roads, I like it.

    • skloon

      Ecoboost ?

      • Jim-Bob

        It’s a better system, but there is no off the shelf engine management system (to my knowledge) that runs a direct injection engine. The factory system may sound like an obvious answer, but modern cars are so interconnected (CAN-BUS,etc.) that divorcing the engine and transmission from the rest of the systems would be nearly impossible. These systems, while better from an engineering standpoint in a new car, are part of the reason a lot of cars are now getting scrapped due to high repair cost rather than being truly worn out. It’s also why fixing the A/C system in my 1991 Geo Metro is very straightforward, while the system in my 1998 Nissan Frontier is giving me fits.

        The Geo largely didn’t integrate it’s systems while the Nissan did. The issue with the Nissan is in the PCM itself (it turns the A/C compressor off when the ignition is on and on when it is off) and would require PCM replacement as well as a trip to the dealer to flash it in order to not shut down due to a non matching odometer (cost? around $500 for a 380k mile shop truck living on borrowed time with signs of a failing head gasket). So, since the rest of the PCM’s systems work fine, I have to build a bypass module which requires me to program a small microprocessor board (Arduino pro mini) and figure out how to make it interact with the A/C system without needing to talk to the PCM (I have actually done this, but need to write the code, something I am not good at yet). This is for a simple, multi port SEFI pickup truck. Trying to make everything work and integrate between a 2014 DI system and a 1964 car would require someone with a rare set of skills that most of us do not possess. I think it would be a challenge even for an engineer at Ford who designed these systems.

  18. Don Andreina

    Nice one guys. How about a Bertone Mustang replica? hehehe

  19. cliffyc

    Surely a nice Indianapolis 500 Pace Car replica?, I mean it’s already white?. Hello from the UK!,love the new project car,enjoy!.

  20. Paul B

    Keep it, sort it, drive it. Amazing how many of these I’ve seen with the little six and three-speed manual on the floor. A friend’s mom had one when I was a kid and we used to ride around in it all the time. We tend to think of early Mustangs as hot cars today but I recall most of them being sporty affordable cars for people who would otherwise buy Falcons. As such, they brought tremendous joy and lots of smiles to owners, riders and viewers alike as part of the ’60s scene. Sixes, 260 V8s in abundance. The 289 was considered a big step up. Those were the days. The fun days.

  21. The Other Doug M. (West Coast) Member

    Great Find! The fact that it’s a 64 1/2 makes it much better than all the other mustangs out there… first of the series! Great choice, have a lot of fun, and keep us posted,

  22. Charlie Member

    Being a believer in, and owner of,cars old enough to be interesting, not good enough to be in museums, and therefore just fine to drive a lot, I would install a dual master cylinder, shoulder belts, the gas tank shield, and later seats with head restraints (and, as I do, keep the originals for resale some day). And replace the parts made of rubber or cork, and then drive it.

  23. Chuck Foster Chuck (55chevy)

    Looks like a good deal, parts are very affordable and cheap. I agree with sunbeamdon (a big six with headers and glasspacks makes wonderous sounds!) and whoever said fordsix.com, would be cool with a SC. The original Indy Pace Replicas were white with blue interior.
    Back in high school I bought a 65 289 4 speed for $150, red with white vinyl top, pony interior, and it had a small chain running from the alternator to the fender instead of a bracket. NE Indiana car so some rust through in spots, that thing would fly down the road, it may have been a hi-po, I had no clue back then.
    Bought a 66 6 cyl in 2006 for $5,000 in Orlando, because it was a fastback, finished restoring it, and made a few bucks, wife liked it so much I bought a rusty 65 fastback shell a few years ago for………………….$400! body is probably not salvageable, but it has all of the fastback interior parts, so will be the most ambitious resto project yet for me, some day.
    A former boss told me he worked at the LA CA Mustang plant, they hadn’t named the car and the had a lot of them stock piled in a big lot, he said they had to go out to the lot and drill and mount the Mustang name/letters. He also said the 6 cyl 4 speed was as fast as the 260 so they quit offering the 4 speed in the 6.
    Oh, I got a european sports car a few months ago for $1500, a 1980 TR8.
    http://s115.photobucket.com/user/57charley/library/Mustang?sort=3&page=1

    • Kristi Evans

      Love this story… Good post.

  24. ron

    Jesse….do your self a big favor and find a nice 289 – 271 hp and enjoy that Stang the way it should be, with …..BALLS! A nice Borg Warner T 10 four speed will compliment the 289 nicely! If God had intended for you to have six cylinder in your car, he would have seen to that you were born with only one nut instead of two ….man up dude….mine (65) was faster than hell and a couple of glass packs made it (semi ) feared……you owe it to your self to find out, hell, make it a nice tribute car and paint it a darker color and add the original GT stripes along the bottom (rockers) fog Lamps and trumpet exhaust. P.S. …tribute cars are, as I am sure you know, are bringing more dollars at auction than ever before….best wishes with your restoration…..my profession was for 40 years …restorations!

    • Blake

      While they fit, putting the 289 in this car would quickly necessitate a rear end change after he blows out the differential, which would escalate into a front spindle/hub/disc brake upgrade, into lots of money for a car that would take a lot to make really nice. This is a perfect example of a car that needs to be maintained, made pretty, and driven for fun. Get it all working and have fun.

  25. Sid C Member

    Clean out the candy bar wrappers, fix urgent mechanical items and leave it just as you found it. There are a million restored Mustangs out there but very few like this one.
    This reminds me of the 1959 Corvette barn find story you ran a while back that ended up worth more than a restored one by simply leaving it alone.
    (You might put some duct tape on the drivers bottom seat cushion)

  26. ConservativesDefeated

    2800 doesnt buy you what it once did, does it?

    Jeez………a stripper with a 3 speed? I’d go the original route. Once you make it run you can always sell a Mustang without a slushbox.

    Wimbledon white over that blue interior is one of my favorite combos……….sano

    Sort the front end, the clutch tranny.spend some money on the interior, clean it up and drive like jehu!

  27. Graham Lloyd

    Nice car. But to really stand out from the crowd, do something different and leave the drivetrain alone. So many people want to do something “different” and create yet another ho hum V8 Mustang.

    fordsix.com and Clifford 6=8 has so much information about these engines and how to hop them up, if you want to, A done up six will draw more attention than any v8

  28. sunbeamdon

    Hey Ron – lighten-up – there are some incredible six’s out there! 280Z with aftermarket 10# boost turbo; big six BMWs, etc, etc, ad nauseum!

    let me digress – the six makes sense, but I am a FORD man and have a BB 427 (452CID) in my Kirkham and a SB 289 in my Mk II Tiger, a Boss 302 shortblock and two early hi-po SB under my bench!

  29. Dirty Dingus McGee

    I think you should make a clone of the Barris customs done for Sonny and Cher.

    Ow, stop hitting me. I’m kidding dammit.

    Perhaps a later model junkyard V-6 and a 5 speed for a swap. Less weight, more power and better fuel mileage. Looks like a fun project. Good luck

  30. doug johnson

    I have a 66 Mustang 6cyl automatic which I love driving. This weekend I am 3/4 way changing front drums for power disc brake setup so mamma can drive also.Mine is white with blue interior great looking car. Have fun!

  31. ron

    O.K. SunbeamDon. You are right there are some great 6’s out there BUT the one he has is not one of them…..think I’m going to put an 826 horse power 426 Mopar in my Triumph TR6, if I can get the front end off the ground, it should be fun, may plow a bit but who cares. Guess I’ll need a titanium oil pan as well. Damn, this is getting expensive! Maybe I’ll just add some wheelie wheels to the pan …..lol

  32. sunbeamdon

    Hey Ron, forget the TR-6 let’s go for an early TR – say a 2 and wedge the Wedge into it. The front suspension could (or maybe not!!??) handle that big block – leave the hood off, open exhaust and scare the wee out of the rice rockets that haven’t already gone into hiding!

    Find a good supply rubbers – oops rubber and keep lots of cash on hand.

    Good hunting!

  33. Red Riley

    Leave the six! Crab a Clifford Performance catalog http://www.cliffordperformance.net/ and pump up the performance, then upgrade the rest of the drivetrain and drive it! And the patina is great. If you can rub it down to the original paint that would be awesome.

  34. ron

    I have to leave the hood off , I just located a blower for that 426, I may have to stand up just to see the road! Congrats on your engine choices Sunbeam and your cars for that matter, some of us just have good taste….I can almost hear that Tiger growling!

  35. Cameron Bater UK

    This looks like a pretty basic saloon, I would have bought a fastback as I prefer it’s lines to the saloon which looked like a kids drawing of a car.

  36. Rene

    Giv it a lot of power. Maybe an air intake sticking up through the hood. Or maybe some air scoops in the hood.

  37. erikj

    jesse, Nice buy!!!!!!!!!!!! My vision would first keep the drive train. It may not be a v-8, but through the years now you don’t see a lot of plain janers. and these days they are nice to see.As far as the car , go through the mech. I would do some upgrades with the engine,suspension and brakes.The int.,seat covers,carpet ect . Wheels steelies with poverty caps. clean up the rust which looks minimal .and clean the body up,and if you decide to go for paint, Please keep the original color. The stang looks original so I would stay with that. NICE find. Goodluck

  38. Mark

    Upgrade to a late model 5 speed, keep the 200 /6 upgrade the brakes next, you can find disc upgrades that use the drum spindle and hub. I have owned early Mustangs that had the 200 CID 6 and they will surprise you with top speed you can get out of them. Power steering makes these a pleasure to drive.

  39. Paullrr

    Jess, go your own way man with this. Whatever makes you happy is the right plan. Just drive the bejeezus out of it while you’re doin’ it and once it’s done. The World doesn’t need any more trailer queens. 6 cylinder and Mexican blankets is fine by me, as is a stroker, a Tremec and Recaros.

    • doug johnson

      I just used a SSBC power brake kit for my 6 cyl automatic 66 mustang to upgrade to front discs and the kit was great! Mine is white ext blue interior and a blast to drive.

  40. Chris A.

    After I received my NY license back in ’63, the first American car in our family was a Wimbledon White with Blue interior ’65 Mustang coupe 4spd /289 4bbl. No disc brakes, just HD drums and a stiff suspension. Dad wanted a cruiser so it had a tall rear end somewhere around a 3.0. He and Mom brought it home about this time of year and it was weeks before i got to drive it. The first Saturday we had it, Dad said he needed my help with the Mustang. “Chris, its a Ford, so we are going over ever inch of it and make sure everything is tight”. Pulled up the trunk mat and found a wonderful assortment of trim screws, nuts and bolts in the trunk area. Just a couple of missing scres, but a lot were loose. We checked everything including the wheel nuts until it was squared away. Loved that 389. The car was nose heavy which was a big adjustment for me coming from VWs. The 289 was a dead reliable, smooth engine and worked well with the 4 speed. The car had only two problems; The shifter trigger cable for reverse broke as the plastic sleeve cracked in the winter and the white paint started coming off and rust started just in the first winter. Mom loved the car and made Dad and I commute in the VW. Great car, good memories, wish I still had it.

  41. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    Wow, lots of great ideas guys! We have read everyone’s comments and will try to come up with a plan of attack this week. Stay tuned!

  42. Chris A.

    How about a thorough cleaning inside and out, putting it up on the rack and seeing just how much of the car is rust infested. The rust damage will tell you how far and what makes sense on bringing it back both body and mechanical wise. You also have a unique opportunity for an accessory few Mustang owners have. I’d carefully trace where that .22 bullet went. Chances are it is still somewhere i the car. Drill a hole through it and hang it on the Mustang key fob. And leave the bullet hole in the body. Name the car “Bonnie & Clyde Mk.II”.

  43. RickyM

    Well done guys. Love it, especially the old bullet hole ! Brilliant, and I’m looking forward to seeing your updates in due course.

  44. sunbeadon

    Hi Ron – just a small problem with that blower that a few phone books would cure! Although you might need a bug screen for your face and a towel to wipe the smirk away.

    Gopher-it, lad

  45. ron

    Ha, I have a Darth Vader mask ( normally worn at radar photo traps)

  46. Tony D.

    If we can help you with parts on the rebuild, shoot off an email. Our shop specializes in Ford products. Then lets hop it up and let it burn rubber

  47. Sean

    Scott from CJ Pony Parts gave me your information today and I am more than excited to help you restore your find! Anything you need, I’m your guy!

  48. DT

    lowered a little,high performance suspension parts,shocks,disc brakes.wider steel wheels, meaty tires,4 speed or maybe 5 speed,header,3 in exhaust, free flow muffler,race seats,race belts, run that 6 ’till it doesnt run anymore. slowly dink with the body,pounding stuff out and touching stuff up

  49. DT

    another thing I wanted to mention,6 cyl mustangs have 4 lug axels and v8 mustangs have 5 lug axels,so maybe an upgrade

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.

*

Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.