Parked for 30 Years: 1973 Ford Mustang Convertible

You will need to roll up your sleeves if you plan to take on the restoration of this 1973 Mustang Convertible because the list of work required is not as long as your arm, but probably as long as both of your arms, and at least one of your legs as well. This particular Mustang probably represents one of the cheapest Mustang Convertible projects that we’ve seen for a while here at Barn Finds, but the price also reflects the sheer amount of work that will be required to bring the car back from the dead. Located in Arcadia, Indiana, you will find the Mustang listed for sale here on eBay. The owner has set a BIN price of $2,700 for this Ford, although the option is available to make an offer.

As I look at the Mustang, it’s a great relief to remember that glass doesn’t rust, because there is plenty of the dreaded tin worm throughout the car. The owner does state that he can’t see any rust in the frame, but I would like to get a good look under the car. The hood, deck lid, and the passenger side door look like they might be okay, but there is rust in varying degrees in every other panel. Given the fact that the majority of this is in the lower extremities of a convertible, I would be checking the floors, frame, and torque boxes pretty thoroughly. The engine bay also has a pretty solid coating of surface corrosion, so none of this bodes well for this car.

With the soft-top pretty badly shredded, it is no surprise to find the interior of the car looking pretty second-hand. On the positive side of the ledger, it does appear to be complete and original, and it looks like quite a few pieces would respond well to a good clean. The seats will definitely require new covers, but I get the impression that restoring the interior of this Mustang might well be the easiest part of the whole project.

Getting the Mustang up and moving is the original 302-2V engine, backed by a 3-speed manual transmission. In a nod to comfort, the car is fitted with air conditioning. The owner says that the Mustang did run and drive when it was parked in a barn more than 30-years-ago, but it isn’t clear whether the engine even turns now. The sheer scale of the surface corrosion under the hood makes things look a bit on the doubtful side, so this has the potential to be a bit of a lucky dip on that front. Even if the car can be made to live and breathe once again, that 302 is definitely going to make the Mustang more of a comfortable cruiser than a muscle car.

When I am looking at potential project cars, I really like to try to see things in a positive light. This Mustang does make this philosophy quite difficult because its outward appearance looks pretty bleak. What really compromises this car as a restoration project is determined by the car’s ultimate value if it was to be restored. The fact is that there are plenty of really nice ’73 Mustang Convertibles to be had out in the market today for under the $20,000 mark, and it is even possible to find some nice ones under $15,000. When you look at the sheer scale of the work required to bring this car up to even modest standards, I have to question whether this is a project that would be financially viable.


  1. JBP

    aw just aw….

    Like 1
    • JBP

      there cant have bin a Roof on that barn. for shure a moistry place. that car has seen as Little prep. for storage, as for selling it. if Frame isnt just as rusty, i believe miracles in the future..
      just a shame it could go so bad. even 2700$ i think is a bit high, when you start writing down whats needed just to get it safe to drive.
      plus al that we cant see.
      think we are Looking at a sad parts car…imo..

      Like 4
  2. irocrobb

    Boy did those years of fords rust fast. I knew a guy with a 1972 Mustang that drove it year round and in 1978 it looked like this.
    I think this car is way to far gone,

    Like 10
  3. Mike

    Note to owner ~ The engine does not turn now.

    Like 3
  4. Maverick

    Junk .

    Like 5
  5. CCFisher

    Wow. That’s rough. It’s highly likely that the condition of the underside matches the outer body. Mustangs did not rust “here or there,” they rusted everywhere. Too bad – this one is an unusual configuration. Most convertibles were automatics by 1973, and convertibles in such basic spec rarely had A/C. There are two ways to be noticed in the Mustang community: own something spectacular like a Shelby or a Boss Mustang, or own something unusual like a special-order color or uncommon configuration.

    Like 5
  6. Angrymike

    From the first pic to the last, it looks to me like a flood car. If it isn’t it sat somewhere the humidity is always high. I live in Ohio right on the lake and cars here don’t seem to rust this badly. It’s to far gone in my book.

    Like 3
  7. JOHN Member

    I picked up a 73 convert, 3 speed, manual, front discs, 9″ rear even, with factory A/C for free outside of Washington DC. It was very rusty, but the engine ran perfectly smooth smooth… the first “test drive” in the neighborhood, light acceleration in first gear the left rear quarter panel lifted up around 6 inches at the door jamb, the door popped open, the quarter was so rusted it separated at the rocker. the torque just twisted the crap out of it, and with a soft top, nothing to keep it in place. Too bad I didn’t have video. I brought it home on a tow dolly around the Beltway and was petrified the entire car would break in half on the trip home. Made it home, sold it for $500

    Like 2
  8. Tom

    Car must have been in a flood. Looking at the interior this car was under water. Look at the dried dirt film everywhere throughout the inside and dash areas.

  9. Philip Lepel

    My ex had one in three times better condition,with a rebuilt trans,new roof ,rebuilt carb and road and track suspension up grades,(I know I paid for them all.) And she gave the Car away for less than they’re asking for that pile of rust.

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