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
- 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.
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:
- drive shaft
- transmission mount , transmission
- bell housing, clutch
- lower cross member, steering linkage
- carburetor, head
- starter, exhaust manifold
- radiator, fan, water pump
- oil pan, crank shaft, pistons
- and finally, I “dropped” the engine bloc
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
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.
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
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
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
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, …
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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