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
  • 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.
1966 Mustang Coupe

 

Watch the inaugural run

 

Listen to the engine running - first time in 25 years

25 year old flat dry rot tires
25 year old flat dry rot tires
front on jack stands ready for some "round" wheels
front on jack stands ready for some "round" wheels
replacing two front tires needed to roll off the carport
replacing two front tires needed to roll off the carport
ready to roll off the carport onto the car transport
ready to roll off the carport onto the car transport
ready for transport
ready for transport
winching onto the transport carrier
winching onto the transport carrier
car transport arrival
car transport arrival
coming off the car transport
coming off the car transport
move-in day at home in new garage
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
engine 1
engine 1
left side
left side
top right engine bay
top right engine bay
right side
right side
starter
starter
carburetor
carburetor
dry rotted boots
dry rotted boots
timing chain
timing chain
removed crank pully
removed crank pully
inside the oil pan
inside the oil pan
rust on block & crank shaft
rust on block & crank shaft
oil mixed with coolant - not good
oil mixed with coolant - not good
not what you want inside the  water pump
not what you want inside the water pump
not what you want inside the cylinders
not what you want inside the cylinders
block with pistons
block with pistons
bare engine bay
bare engine bay
parts original condition
parts original condition
reconditioning wheel hubs, oil pan, cross member, air cleaner
reconditioning wheel hubs, oil pan, cross member, air cleaner
oil pan painted
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
as it looked under the valve cover
as it looked under the valve cover
extra parts left under valve cover - NOT GOOD
extra parts left under valve cover - NOT GOOD
extra parts - what !
extra parts - what !
separating the head from the block
separating the head from the block
what is that gunk inside the cylinders !
what is that gunk inside the cylinders !
head as removed from engine 1
head as removed from engine 1
head with valves removed
head with valves removed
valve seats
valve seats
valve spring compressor
valve spring compressor
head top side intake
head top side intake
new valve seal
new valve seal
crack valve stem guide
crack valve stem guide
head with valves removed
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.
tried kerosene to free the pistons
tried kerosene to free the pistons
tried coca-cola to free the pistons
tried coca-cola to free the pistons
tried transmission fluid  to free the pistons
tried transmission fluid to free the pistons
wooded block & sledge freed pistons
wooded block & sledge freed pistons
cylinder walls
cylinder walls
severely pitted cylinder walls
severely pitted cylinder walls
block refurbished with new rings
block refurbished with new rings
bottom main bearnings
bottom main bearnings
rear main seal
rear main seal
Plastigauge used to measure bearing clearance
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
engine 2
engine 2
1970 Ford I6-200 rear
1970 Ford I6-200 rear
top left
top left
1970 Ford I6-200 front
1970 Ford I6-200 front
installing engine 2
installing engine 2
installed from bottom
installed from bottom
lifting engine into place
lifting engine into place
left side engine 2
left side engine 2
motor mounted
motor mounted
right side engine 2
right side engine 2

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
RF spring rusted & sagging
RF spring rusted & sagging
original & new front coil spring
original & new front coil spring
coil spring compressor
coil spring compressor
front coil spring
front coil spring
rear differential rusted
rear differential rusted
rear differential reconditioned
rear differential reconditioned
new steering tie rods
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
RR drum brake
RR drum brake
RF Wheel hub rusted surface
RF Wheel hub rusted surface
LF Wheel Hub reconditioned w Corroseal
LF Wheel Hub reconditioned w Corroseal
master cylinder piston sludge
master cylinder piston sludge
metal brake lines
metal brake lines
LR brake
LR brake
RR wheel hub & leaf spring
RR wheel hub & leaf spring
25 yr old dry rotted tires
25 yr old dry rotted tires
14" steel wheels reconditioned
14" steel wheels reconditioned
original spinner hub caps
original spinner hub caps
emergency brake mechanism
emergency brake mechanism
new Douglas tires 195/70R14
new Douglas tires 195/70R14
4 new tires - ready to drive
4 new tires - ready to 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, …
original interior
original interior
arm rests original & restored
arm rests original & restored
air vent full of leaves
air vent full of leaves
air vent restored
air vent restored
right rear foot well original
right rear foot well original
floor boards restored
floor boards restored
seat tracks
seat tracks
vinyl seats original
vinyl seats original
rear seat
rear seat
driver's door
driver's door
driver door vapor barrier original
driver door vapor barrier original
driver door removed to replace hinges
driver door removed to replace hinges
driver's door new paint
driver's door new paint
door panel backer board original
door panel backer board original
vinyl front separated from cardboard back
vinyl front separated from cardboard back
making new backer hardboard door panels
making 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 ………………………
front
front
front facia
front facia
hood with front facia removed
hood with front facia removed
front facia
front facia
trunk sanded & Corroseal
trunk sanded & Corroseal
trunk with fresh splatter paint
trunk with fresh splatter paint
trunk sanded & Corroseal
trunk sanded & Corroseal
trunk new splatter paint
trunk new splatter paint
move-in day on car transport
move-in day on car transport
remove trim & grind rust
remove trim & grind rust
4 new tires - ready to drive
4 new tires - ready to drive
driver door mirror mount
driver door mirror mount
driver door rust sports
driver door rust sports
driver door hing pieces
driver door hing pieces
right door jamb
right door jamb
right door jamb - new paint
right door jamb - new paint
driver door hinge - original
driver door hinge - original
LR quarter panel
LR quarter panel
LR quarter panel
LR quarter panel
LR quarter panel
LR quarter panel
bare engine bay
bare engine bay
engine bay Corroseal & painted
engine bay Corroseal & painted
left side engine bay
left side engine bay
rear panel
rear panel
grinding out old bondo
grinding out old bondo
rear panel repair
rear panel repair
RR quarter panel
RR quarter panel
RR quarter panel mice nest
RR quarter panel mice nest
RR quarter panel
RR quarter panel
fuel tank & sending unit
fuel tank & sending unit
fuel tank top trunk side
fuel tank top trunk side
rust holes
rust holes

Next Steps...

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