Classic Cars


Gems By John - Classic Cars

John has been working on cars since 1976.  He learned how to paint cars  starting with his first car, a 1971 Ford Maverick. The paint finish was Orange Peeled but the second car, Buster's 196x, Rambler turned smooth as glass. John has extensive experience with auto bodywork and painting cars and a few motorcycles and airplanes. He has repaired or replaced part on all of his personal cars and on many others for friends and family.

John’s garage workshop is in Lexington, Kentucky, where he lives with his wife and three daughters, all of whom make frequent requests for his automotive repair and maintenance services.

John is currently restoring a Classic Car 1966 Ford Mustang Coupe.


John has personally owned more than 40 cars.

  • BMW 320i, 325i, X3
  • Chevrolet Vega, Lumina, Venture
  • Chrysler PT Cruiser (2)
  • Fiat X-1/9 (2)
  • Ford Maverick, Ranger, Freestyle, Escape (3), Mustang
  • Honda delSol
  • Hyundai Excel
  • Infinity i30 (2), G30
  • Jaguar XJ-6
  • Kia Sportage, Soul
  • Lancia Beta
  • Mazda RX-7, Millennia, MPV
  • Mercedes ML-320
  • Merkur XR4-ti
  • Nissan Maxima
  • Oldsmobile Cutlass 442, Silhouette
  • Plymouth Challenger
  • Saab 9000t
  • Scion xB
  • Subaru Forester (3), Impreza
  • Toyota Matrix
  • Volkswagen Rabbit, GTI

1966 Mustang Coupe - Timeline

Restoring an American Muscle Car

  • 1966 the first owner purchased and drove the car in Georgia.
  • The second owner drove the car in Tennessee throughout his high school years. At some point the owners moved to Kentucky and the car was stored “in a barn” in Tennessee.
  • 1993 Jan. Kendall Motor Oil sticker affixed under the dash. Eddies Auto Parts 408 Washington Ave. Athens TN 37303 615-745-6500. I suppose this is about the last time the car ran.
  • Some years later the engine could not be started
  • 2008 the car was towed to Lexington Kentucky and sat outside on a car port
  • 2015 with no success the owner made some attempts to start the engine started
  • 2016 Apr. I bought the car after seeing it listed for sale on Craigslist. I began restoring the car in the spring of 2016 and on through summer and fall 2016. It basically sat idle in my garage through the winter of 2016-2017, spring & summer 2017. That’s when I re-engaged and began reassembling the drive train with engine 2, new clutch, and refurbished parts.
  • 2017 Oct. successfully started under its own power drove the car half way out and back into the garage, just enough to see if the clutch and transmission worked.
  • 2017 Halloween I installed four new tires to replace 25 years old dry rotted tires and made the inaugural test drive around the cul-de-sac.
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Watch the inaugural run

 

Listen to the engine running - first time in 25 years

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25 year old flat dry rot tires
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front on jack stands ready for some "round" wheels
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replacing two front tires needed to roll off the carport
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ready to roll off the carport onto the car transport
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ready for transport
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winching onto the transport carrier
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car transport arrival
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coming off the car transport
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move-in day at home in new garage

ENGINE-1  Removal

 Since a full restoration was planned, I proceeded to remove the drive-train back to the rear-end.

I removed the parts in this sequence:

  • Battery
  • drive shaft
  • transmission mount , transmission
  • bell housing, clutch
  • lower cross member, steering linkage
  • carburetor, head
  • starter, exhaust manifold
  • radiator, fan, water pump
  • alternator
  • oil pan, crank shaft, pistons
  • and finally, I “dropped” the engine bloc
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engine 1
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left side
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top right engine bay
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right side
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starter
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carburetor
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alternator
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timing chain
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removed crank pully
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inside the oil pan
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rust on block & crank shaft
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oil mixed with coolant - not good
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not what you want inside the water pump
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not what you want inside the cylinders
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block with pistons
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original condition engine bay with motor removed
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parts original condition
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reconditioning wheel hubs, oil pan, cross member, air cleaner
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oil pan painted

ENGINE-1  Head Rebuild

The head was in decent shape. It had a lot of carbon build up, a small crack, and some rust.

  • new valve seals
  • refurbished the intake and exhaust valves
  • welded a small crack on the head
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as it looked under the valve cover
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extra parts left under valve cover - Not Good
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extra parts - what !
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separating the head from the block
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what is that gunk inside the cylinders !
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head as removed from engine 1
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head with valves removed
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valve seats
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valve spring compressor
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head top side intake
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new valve seal
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crack valve stem guide
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head with valves removed

ENGINE-1 BLOCK REBUILD

The block was a mess. The cylinder walls were pitted with rust.

  • cylinder honed walls
  • rings installed new
  • main bearings installed new
  • crank shaft reconditioned

 

  • At this point the crankshaft would not spin free as it should.
  • My diagnosis - the engine block appeared to be warped. Either the engine overheated or froze causing the block to warp.
  • So, unfortunately I could not complete the engine rebuild with this engine block. I decided to set this engine aside. And, I searched for a replacement engine.
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tried kerosene to free the pistons
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tried coca-cola to free the pistons
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tried transmission fluid to free the pistons
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tried SUCCESSFULLY wooded block & sledge freed pistons
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cylinder walls
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severely pitted cylinder walls
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block refurbished with new rings
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bottom main bearings
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rear main seal
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Plastigauge used to measure bearing clearance

ENGINE-2

On the outskirts of Louisville Kentucky I found a Ford in-line 6-200 cubic inch engine for sale. It was from a 1970 Mustang. The engine was sold with an automatic transmission. The seller who was rebuilding a Ford Fairlane originally bought the engine from the owner of the 1970 Mustang. But after finding a V8, he no longer wanted the I6.  That seems quite common for folks restoring Classic Muscle Cars, more people seem to like the V8 over the I6.

  • Engine paint new
  • Motor mounts new installed
  • Valve cover gasket new installed
  • Oil pan gasket new installed
  • Vacuum carburetor to distributor hoses new installed
  • Carburetor rebuild
  • Fuel pump new installed
  • Gas tank and sending unit new installed
  • Water pump new installed
  • Spark plugs & wires new installed
  • Distributor cap new installed
  • Condenser painted
  • Thermostat & water hoses new installed
  • Fan belt new installed
  • Heater hoses new installed
  • Alternator cleaned installed
  • Battery new installed
  • Starter solenoid new installed
  • Starter painted installed
  • Batter cables new installed
  • Clutch equalizer bushing new installed
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engine 2 - Ford inline 6-200 ci
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1970 Ford I6-200 rear
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1970 Ford I6-200 top left side
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1970 Ford I6-200 front
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engine 2 - installation
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engine 2 - installing from bottom
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lifting engine into place
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left side engine 2
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engine mounted
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engine 2 - right side

SUSPENSION

The suspension was in poor condition. Every piece of rubber was hard or cracked, every joint was leaking grease. Basically everything that was rubber or needed grease needed to be replaced.

  • wheel bearings front new installed
  • coil springs front new installed
  • shock absorbers front & rear new installed
  • upper ball joints new installed
  • lower control arms new installed
  • steering control arms new inner and outer installed
  • steering arm new installed
  • sway bar links front new installed
  • control arm bushings front new installed
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RF spring rusted & sagging
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original & new front coil spring
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coil spring compressor
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front coil spring
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rusted rear differential
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reconditioned rear differential
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new steering tie rods

BRAKES

There was no way that I was going to take a chance trying to stop the car using a fifty year old brake system that sat idle twenty five years. So, I replaced everything touched by brake fluid. And, rebuild the drums.

  • Master cylinder new replaced
  • Brake lines new replaced
  • Wheel cylinders new replaced
  • Drum Brakes rebuilt and refurbished
  • Brake shoes new installed
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RR drum brake
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LF Wheel Hub reconditioned w Corroseal
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RF Wheel hub reconditioned with paint
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master cylinder piston sludge
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metal brake lines
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rusted RR wheel hub & leaf spring
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reconditioned RR wheel hub & leaf spring
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25 yr old dry rotted tires
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reconditioned 14" steel wheels
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original spinner hub caps
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emergency brake mechanism
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new Douglas tires 195/70R-14
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4 new tires and ready to test drive

INTERIOR

The interior was in decent condition. The carpet was faded. The driver seat back was bent back a bit. The dash rubber was a bit wavy. The radio was missing. But the seat vinyl and headliner were in relatively good condition.

  • Window tracks refurbished
  • seat tracks refurbished
  • door panels new backer board – to be installed
  • heater box refurbished
  • ash tray refurbished
  • radio purchased preowned – to be installed
  • rear deck new installed
  • Lots more To Do ……………………… new speaker, underlayment, carpet, window seals, …
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original condition interior
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original and restored arm rests
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rusted air vent full of leaves
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reconditioned air vent
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rusted RR foot well
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reconditioned floor boards
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seat tracks
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original vinyl seats
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rear seat structure
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driver's door removed
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original vapor barrier driver's door
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driver door removed to replace hinges
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new paint on driver's door
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original backer board driver's door panel
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vinyl front separated from cardboard back
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new backer hardboard door panels

BODY

The body was in fairly good condition.

  • The worst rust was behind the right rear wheel. I ground out and repaired the cancer with fiberglass.
  • a few small rust spots at the lower front of both doors were ground out and filled with fiber reinforced bondo.
  • Prior bodywork bondo was cracked and falling off on the rear tail light body panel near the gas cap. Previous owner said that panel was hit when he drove the car. And, that panel was repaired and the car was repainted in the original paint color, Signal Flare Red. The trunk lid was sprung when closed which meant that rear body panel was not correctly.  I bent the rear panel aft about half an inch and added bondo to smooth out the panel.
  • There was a small dent in metal of the hood with bondo over top. I ground out the old bondo, pushed out the metal, and added new bondo to smooth out the panel.
  • Lots more to do ………………………
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front view
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front facia
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hood with front facia removed
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front facia disassembled
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trunk sanded & sealed with Corroseal
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trunk with fresh splatter paint
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trunk sanded & sealed with Corroseal
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trunk reconditioned with new splatter paint
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move-in day on car transport
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R side removing trim & grinding out rust
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4 new tires and ready to test drive
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L door mirror mount rust ground out
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driver door small rust spots
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driver door hing pieces
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R door jamb original paint
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R door jamb with new paint
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driver door hinge - original
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LR quarter panel original condition
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LR quarter panel & wheel
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original condition engine bay with motor removed
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engine bay reconditioned with Corroseal & paint
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left side engine bay reconditioned and painted
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rear panel broken bondo
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rear panel grinding out old bodywork bondo
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rear panel repair bondo and primer
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RR quarter panel paint bubbled signs of rust
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RR quarter panel mice nest
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RR quarter panel fiberglass patch
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fuel tank & sending unit
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fuel tank top trunk side
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rust holes in the gas tank

Do you need help restoring your classic car ?