1971 Hardtop 302 Daily Driver - Printable Version

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1971 Hardtop 302 Daily Driver - Dope - 01-31-2019

Hello everyone, I just want to start by saying thanks to everyone for a fantastic site. I am reading and learning a lot, but I know I won’t be able do it all myself and will need your guys help. This thread will serve that purpose and to also to log my built. 

Intro: I have owned a e46 m3 and a e36 m3 (current). I love a good handling car but what I’ve always wanted was a classic car. My eyes were set on 65-66 but was never able to find one in decent condition. I’m a home mechanic and would like to aviod difficult body work repairs. So years of waiting and finding nothing, I folded and I pulled the trigger on the car you see before you.  

Car: 1971 Mustang Hardtop 302 C4 white/blue 60k on odometer. All stock and original as far as I can tell. Only dent is the minor door ding on drivers door. Car has only surface rust and trunk and floor board is solid and rust free. It’s a perfect start for my quest to make a classic mustang drive similar to a M3.

Goals: (no particular order and will update as I go along with built.) To build a fun and reliable daily driver to replace my m3. This is not a restoration show car, exact matching number build. I want to enjoy this car as much as I can.
- body work
- rust prevention
- oem brakes from any car
- oem suspension from any car

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RE: 1971 Hardtop 302 - Dope - 01-31-2019

First question, is my vinyl top dealer option? The trim on the car does not look oem. Vin says it’s a hardtop. Thanks.

RE: 1971 Hardtop 302 Daily Driver - Fabrice - 01-31-2019

Aside the wheels & mirrors, the car (& trim) looks pretty original and complete to me.

[ I love a good handling car]
Once "refreshed", you'll be surprised how "modern" it handles vs your first choice 65-66.

Good luck with the project!

RE: 1971 Hardtop 302 Daily Driver - Hemikiller - 01-31-2019

Looks like a great project. Being from CA, your rust work should be minimal.

Like Fabrice noted, everything on that car looks 100% stock to me as well.

A set of factory sport mirrors would be a nice addition. I see it's manual drum - a power disc conversion or a 4 wheel disc upgrade is virtually a necessity. Street or Track or Opentracker Racing can set you up with a nice daily driver suspension. Definitely upgrade to the variable ratio power steering box.

RE: 1971 Hardtop 302 Daily Driver - 73pony - 01-31-2019

Welcome from Iowa. Nice looking ride.

RE: 1971 Hardtop 302 Daily Driver - Carolina_Mountain_Mustangs - 01-31-2019

Welcome to the forum from North Carolina.
Looks like you have picked a good bone to start with. I would rather have a car that has never been painted than a shiny one full of filler and rust.
There are a few areas on these cars that are prone to rust. They never dipped these cars in primer. They did get two coats of epoxy primer. Depending on how early your car was might be red oxide primer but if built in Dearborn will be gray.
Areas to look at for rust.
#1: The cowl at base of windshield. The windshield lays on the cowl and there is a gap between the glass and metal. Trash collects in there and so rust is likely.
#2: Inside the cowl on an AC car you have only one opening going into the cabin that is above the heater box on the R.H. side. Mice, chipmunks and such love to build nests inside the cowl and the heater box. To stop them when you have rebuilt your car you need to add mesh wire under the cowl vents and between the cowl and heater box. You can look inside the car at the bottom of the cowl and if you see water marks or rust you have rust holes in the cowl. Simply washing the car causes this to happen.
#3: Rust around the tail lights. The tail lights bolt in from the inside and have a soft rubber gasket. There is a space that holds water and again simply washing the car causes rust. They did not do a good job spraying paint on the inside.
#4: Trunk floor and drop off to the quarter panels. This holds water if the tail lights leak and so feeds the rust.
#5: You should pull the interior out and look for your build sheet during the process. I have seen under the carpet, under the sound deadening, stuffed into the back seat springs, also stuffed in the seat riser welded to the floor. This sheet tells you everything used to assembly your car down the line.
Now that you have the interior out if the cowl has leaked it eats up the front floors. If you have leaks from the vinyl roof then rear floors and under seat will rust.
#6: On vinyl roof cars Ford did not spray top coats of color on the roof only the primer so not much protection. Leaks start around the holes for the fasteners and clips and the rust begins to creep out. Also around the rear windows and roof rails are subject to holding water and spreading the rust.
Your car looks correct for the vinyl roof. You can order a Marti report to get all the details on your car.
One thing on your car is the Protection Group. That is the side strips, and I think the bumper guards were part of that in 71. Not sure if you got the locking spare tire in 71 I think not. I need the side strips if you are going to leave them off the build.
Now to get one of these to handle you have the right engine. The 302 is the lightest of the V-8s that were available. You can get lots of power out of it tons of SMF performance items out there.
The chassis on these of course flexes, all do even your M. You can add sub frame connectors, better springs and shocks, different front upper and lower control arms, drop spindles, roll cage. Just depends on how serious you want to get.
Holman Moody took a unitized body Fairlane and won a class at LaMans in 1965 I believe. You can make any car handle with the right parts. The modifications to the Shelby Mustangs were developed by Holman Moody also. Simple, easy to do and not expensive.
When you start to take the car apart do not think you can just go buy and new part. Some parts are not available so be careful and take lots of pics and bag and tag everything.
The coupe will make the best handling of the three bodies due to having a shorter roof than the fastback and is probably stiffer.
I was building a convertible for track days I figured that no top lowered the center of gravity and would be better. Roll cage is required so that would stiffen it right up. 
Here is link to video and sound of a SBF on the track. Not many engines sound this good. https://www.facebook.com/sportscarvintageracing/videos/333395903919694/?t=67
Hope it works I get it right some times, lol.
BTW my son is head inspector at the BMW plant in Spartanburg, S.C. he is on the six line. He said he would never buy a BMW they have so many quality issues, lol. He drives a 2018 GT Mustang. At one time BMW hired a bunch of Jack Roush's mechanics to come to BMW and work in the plant to do repairs. They had over 5,000 cars in the lot that needed to come back into the plant and be fixed. They actually crush some cars that they cannot figure out what is wrong when brand new. If you knew the profit margin on a BMW you would pass out. $14,000 for and X-6 out the door.

RE: 1971 Hardtop 302 Daily Driver - OzCoupe72 - 01-31-2019

Welcome to the forum, you're in the right place
Good to see another coupe and looks like you have a great starting project
Like others have said you will be surprised how with just a few improvements these cars can handle well but don't forget to upgrade the brakes
My coupe was originally a 302W but I bought it with a Cleveland in it but I have owned a few 302's and have a soft spot for them
+1 on David's advice especially the cowl area and definitely take pictures, bag & tag
Oh and thanks for the music video David
Good luck with your project and will watch your progress

RE: 1971 Hardtop 302 Daily Driver - secluff - 01-31-2019

Dope, like David posted, It looks as though you are starting with a good solid platform. (Good Bones)! Under hood looks like everything is there that should be and not butchered. Tracking down missing brackets, fasteners, and all the little Do-Dads can be maddening.
The vinyl top on your car is a RPO (Regular Production Option) and on the hardtops was the same as the standard vinyl top on the Grandé. In 71 the Protection Group option included a vinyl insert body side molding and front (only) lower valance level bumper guards. There is a separate  bumper guard option which would include bumper height front and rear bumper guards (as on your car) and would reduce the price of the Protection Group since part of it was being replaced. The spare tire lock and door edge guards was included in the Protection Group only in 73.    Smile

RE: 1971 Hardtop 302 Daily Driver - Dope - 01-31-2019

Thanks everyone for the warm welcoming and tips, this site is awesome!

As for my vinyl top trims, the reason I thought they were after market is because of the bend and end caps. Was this just another style? Thanks again.

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RE: 1971 Hardtop 302 Daily Driver - Dope - 01-31-2019

(01-31-2019, 07:29 AM)Fabrice Wrote: Aside the wheels & mirrors, the car (& trim) looks pretty original and complete to me.

[ I love a good handling car]
Once "refreshed", you'll be surprised how "modern" it handles vs your first choice 65-66.

Good luck with the project!

Those are not the original side mirrors and wheels? They are color matched 14x7.