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Northwest Classic Rally: Day 1

NW Classic Rally - Day 1

Today BarnFinds comes to you from the passenger seat of our 1965 Mustang. We’ve spent the past three weeks in a frantic dash to get her put together and ready to take on the Northwest Classic Rally. Well after many long days and sleepless nights, we are underway. We started out in Boise, Idaho and just left the small town of Bakers, Oregon without so much add a hiccup. Even averaging 18 mpg so far. We haven’t done an update on what all has been done to her in the past few days and so this seemed like the perfect time to take a look at what all has been completed!

Mustang - Old Interior

When we got this Mustang it was in a sad state, but it ran and drove. The interior was in shambles, the paint was dull, and the clutch rarely engaged fully. Having spent plenty of time in old cars, we know the issues that will drive you insane on a long journey and the mechanical weak spots that would need to be fixed to keep our car on the road for the near 1k mile round trip. When we put together our list of repairs and things to be done, it seemed like an impossible task, but somehow we pulled it off. We can thank the guys at Midas of Boise for putting in some overtime to get their part done and California Mustang for getting us all the necessary parts so quickly! We also have many of you guys to thank for giving us advice and moral support!

Mustang - Rebuilt Shifter

We tried to prioritize our list into two categories, the must do to make it safe and the want to do to make it comfortable. The must do list included fixing the clutch, installing a new exhaust, installing a dual bowl master cylinder, and doing a complete engine tune-up. First up on our list was to fix the clutch, as it never engaged properly, which left us concerned that we would need a new clutch and possibly a transmission overhaul. The previous owner had adjusted the clutch so that the friction point was at the floor. This meant the clutch pedal would hit the carpet before it could ever engage fully and made it nearly impossible to shift gears without grinding. Thankfully, after turning a few nuts, we got the clutch working properly again. After having the transmission flushed and new fluid added, the transmission now works infinitely better, although it still grinds occasionally if your not careful.

Next on our list was the exhaust. We could have made due with the existing system, but we wanted to arrive in Salishan with our ear drums intact, plus we didn’t want to be breathing exhaust for 6 hours straight. We could have ordered a brand new complete system, but we decided we wanted to keep a little bit of that throaty exhaust note, so we had the guys at Midas build a custom system. Now we can cruise comfortably down the highway at 70 mph without having to wear ear protection and when we want to draw a little attention at intersections we can still do so. We also had them go through the suspension, which involved installing new lower control arms and ball joints.

Mustang - Engine

The engine in our Pony was running well enough when we bought it, but we had no idea when the last time it was serviced by the previous owner. We went ahead and replaced the valve cover gasket, installed new plugs and wires, replaced the temperature sensor, and installed a new oil pressure sender. We also had all the fluids changed, including coolant, engine oil, and differential oil. Now that we had the must do items taken care of, we started on the want to do items. Since we were already in the engine bay, we went ahead and installed a new battery tray, so that we wouldn’t have to worry about the battery bouncing around. The brake system was working correctly and passed inspection, but we decided to go ahead and replace some of the rubber hoses for peace of mind. We also had a dual bowl master cylinder installed for a little extra security.

Mustang -  cleaned interior

With the car running great and mechanically safe to make the trip, we turned our attention to the one area that could make or break our journey, the interior. It is one area that is often overlooked, but the condition of the interior can make a trip either a comfortable one or a miserable one. Had we left our old smelly interior alone, we would have already gone insane. The seat cushions were nearly disintegrated to nothing, the vinyl covers were torn, and the carpets were dirty and covered in coffee stains. Worst of all the car smelled like dirty shoes and vomit, neither of which came out easily. We went ahead and got new cushions for the front and new covers all around. Jesse than painstakingly installed the new cushions and covers to the original seat frames. We also installed a new dash cap, it wasn’t even remotely necessary, but certainly looks great. Before reinstalling the seats, we pulled the carpets and had them professionally cleaned. While they were out, we vacuumed the floors and cleaned them with disinfecting foam cleaner. Once the carpets were dry we reinstalled them and the seats. Since we are going to be working from the car, we also installed a USB charger to keep our phones and electronic devices up and running.

Mustang - Recovered Seat

When the seats went back in we were down to the last few hours of our final day to prep for the trip. We could have stopped there, but since we had a little time left, we decided to go ahead and tie up a few lose ends. The rear window tray had been cut for speakers and never given any kind of protection from the sun, so we pulled the old sun burnt and rotting wood tray out and used it as a template to cut a new one. We ran to the fabric store and bought a cheap piece of blue vinyl, but in our haste we forgot to buy new material to make the tray out of, so we ended up having to use a piece of cardboard. It doesn’t look perfect, but is a massive improvement over the old piece of falling apart wood. With the interior looking much better and more importantly smelling better, we decided to clean up the seat belts we found in the trunk. We aren’t sure if they will provide much protection in an accident, but they add an element of originality to our otherwise new interior and they have to be better than nothing!

Mustang - Finished Interior

As you can see, we have been very busy getting our Mustang ready to make the trip. We are now underway, so let’s hope all the prep work will pay off and our trip will be free of any mechanical issues. If we do have problems, we have a trunk full of tools and spare parts! Let’s just hope we don’t have to use them. And since we didn’t manage to get this posted before making it to Portland, we decided to go ahead and post a couple of the photos at the starting gate!

Recent Project Updates


  1. Bruce Rolfe

    Have fun Jesse. Keep us updated as the race weekend continues.

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  2. Smitty

    New cars and my eyes glaze over. Especially with Mustangs and Camaros, but I always stop to gawk at ones that aren’t factory or better than factory. Great job!

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  3. PaulRR

    Sounds like you guys are having a ball both before and during the rally – and for a whole bunch less cash than any of the other cars I can see in the line up. Show us the way!

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  4. stanley stalvey

    I’m not a big Mustang fan but you guys are certainly doing a fine job of cleaning things up with this one.. Very nice.!

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  5. Horse Radish

    You’re my hero , Jesse.
    I’ll buy you a pack of gummi bears if you win this !!

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  6. cliffyc

    Your Mustang coming along nicely,keep up the good work!.

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  7. George

    Have fun and keep the shiny side up

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  8. Don Andreina

    Go Team Barnfinds!

    You have special dispensation to check out any juicy looking barns along the way.

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  9. paul

    Great going, greater luck to you both, you have done well & I might add that floor in your car is worth every penny of the price you paid, here in the east you would be very lucky to find a floor that perfect. I also see your traveling with some very fine cars, I have never seen an add on hard top for a 120 Jag yet their one is, very nice & of course I spotted a Duetto ( Alfa Romeo) I had one of those for 26 years in dark blue.

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  10. paul

    My mistake that is a 140 Jag it has the full bumpers not the little 1/4 bumpers.

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  11. jim s

    the car sure looks great. you and the owner of the fastback can compare notes. you got a lot of work done in a very short time, great job. this is fun, thanks.

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  12. Dolphin Member

    The pics at the start show some terrific looking cars, but I’m nominating the Barn Finds Mustang team for the People’s Choice Run-What-You-Brung Team Award.

    I just made that up, but if it doesn’t exist, it should, and you should be a top contender. After all, a perfect silver 300SL or red Ferrari isn’t required for someone to have fun.

    Great story! I know we’re all looking forward to updates on your progress.

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  13. sunbeamdon

    Well done! A finely patina’d car is like a fine box wine (there are some!) As often as not, a gleam in the eye of the beholder: cheap to own; cheap to consume, but none-the-less a joy!

    We don’t need no stinkin’ MB 300 Gull Wing (or do we?)!!!

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  14. chef dave

    It was nice meeting you guys yesterday. Car looks great. looking forward to updates.

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  15. geomechs geomechs Member

    You’ve done well. Now the main task is to go out and enjoy it. Of course, you’re doing that already.

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  16. Mark in Medford

    That is the spirit of the car hobby, go have fun and dont worry what the people not having fun have to say about you.

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  17. mike

    good job in 3wks..have fun and keep us jealous readers posted.

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  18. gunningbar

    Agree with mark from medford….have fun…and i m vicariously enjoying it too! Also..a 6 cyl stang! Gotta love that!

    Like 0

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