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BassTrix's 72 Mach 1 Project
I kicked off the project this weekend by running 3 tanks of gas through the power washer and then firing up the engine. Some fresh oil and a new fuel pump to start with and then I had to free up the needle valve and that's about all it took.

The good news is, she fired right up once I got oil pressure to show while cranking...the bad news is that I have a head gasket leaking externally, so the heads need to come off now....I was planning to reseal the engine anyway, so not a big deal.

Here's where I need your input: I observed a lot of bare metal under the car (you get filthy pressure washing under a car, by the way...but you already knew that) and much of the joint sealant (tar like substance that seems to be used liberally all over the place) is dried out, falling off, or has already fallen off....the bottom line is, I don't feel comfortable putting the car back on the road in this condition.

Additionally, I have some rust in the trunk floor and the tail light panel, I also have some rust on the driver's side fender apron fore and aft of the shock tower. It's not horrible, but it has to be fixed.

What are my options?

Obviously, I can do a rotisserie resto (which I'm considering) or I could do nothing, or I could do something in between.

Can you guys throw me some ballpark $$ numbers for what it costs to get everything stripped to bare metal? I think I can do the metal fab work...I have a TIG welder and most of the tools needed...I've never painted with anything but a rattle can... My attempts at body work have been less than stellar (with the exception of making paint shine) My shop situation is decent, but could be better. I can do all the mechanical stuff, but setting up to sandblast will be makeshift.

Looking forward to your input.

Some pictures of the trunk floor

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I would start with wire wheeling the trunk floor down to see what you really have going on. Considering how little rust is showing, I'd almost be inclined to either weld all the holes up (very possible with a TIG welder) or section in a piece of a repop trunk floor. I don't see anything there that makes me want to do a complete floor and taillight panel.

Stripping to bare metal costs nothing if you do it yourself. Just be sure you're committed to that level of a restoration. I had to do it on my Mach as it had deep surface rust on all the horizontal surfaces, but your car may not need it.


Thanks for the input. I miscommunicated about the tail light panel. It's not rusted, rather it's a bit beat up...there are dents in the curved area above/below the taillight horizontal, that, and the flat panel in the center isn't flat. Perhaps a good body guy could fix it up...the guy that painted it blue was supposed to fix it, but that's another story. The bumper braces are also a bit beat up and possibly rusted. They don't look quite as difficult to replace.

What is the preferred setup for wire-wheel stripping? I have an angle grinder with a heavy wire attachment. Is there something better I should consider buying?

I'm open to just stripping the underside of car and refinishing. What would be the preferred method if you don't want to strip the entire body? Also, I'd probably like to strip the engine compartment since its had more than one coat of paint. In the past, I've used paint stripper and that's a nasty job.

I like the name, btw....it reminds me of the custom license plate I wanted to get for the mach, back in the day....we had a ton of chevy guys in my hometown, so I wanted the plate to read RAT PSN.
Being you are in AZ, I would take Hemikiller's advice and just wire wheel (using your grinder as you described). Get some Rustbullit and just cover the rust, put down a little trunk spatter paint and clear coat it. The underside should not be a big deal as long as there is no rust. Again, being in AZ I would just clean it real good and maybe put down a little paint/undercoating to seal any bare metal.
As for the engine bay, using a good sander and a lot of hand sanding you can get this area mechanically stripped and painted. Detail the engine bay and it really makes an average car look good and a good car look great (at least in my view).
I find cup brushes and wire wheels good for more contoured surfaces. For flat surfaces I like flap discs about 120 grit.

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MustangMyWay;241952 Wrote:I find cup brushes and wire wheels good for more contoured surfaces. For flat surfaces I like flap discs about 120 grit.

Same here, I have a 7" grinder with a cup brush and a flat brush. The cup brush is great for the large open areas and the flat brush gets into the corners. I would use that to clean the underside of the car and then treat it with a rust blocker and then a paint of your choice. Redo your seam sealer before you paint, the Ford sealant manuals are available from the usual Mustang parts sources.

For the engine compartment, I normally strip it bare of every nut, bolt and bracket, sandblast, fix any rusted areas and then treat with a phosphate spray (MetalReady/RustBlast). Prime and then use a single stage urethane low gloss black.

I would try to fix the taillight panel before replacing it. Maybe find yourself a decent body guy that can work it back into shape.

I hate painting over untreated rust, because it always comes back here in the Northeast. I DA'd the entire outside of my car and used SEM RustMort to kill the rust. It worked very well and nine years later there are zero rust pops. It's designed to be used under a finish coat (primer/paint). If you just want to kill the rust and quickly cover it, I was a big fan of POR15's MetalReady back when I did my car in the early 2000's, but they changed the formula and now it pretty much sucks. I've heard good things about Rust Blast from KBS coatings, going to try some to see how it works on a very surface rusted 429 block.

I pulled the fuel tank this weekend and can really see the extent of rust damage (based on light through the holes!). All along the rear edge of the triangular sheetmetal piece in front of the tank is rusted through. I'll take some pics of this along with the surface rust on the undercarriage. I was surprised to see the gray epoxy looked shiny and new under the tank!

I also pulled the honeycomb panel and I think the tail light panel will be easy to fix by a body guy...I may try myself (scary). The panel trim is responsible for much of the "shabby" look in that area.

I'll be ordering a body assembly manual ASAP...is there any specific publication that is recommended?
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