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Project Car Buyer Guide
#1
Before I Purchased My 73 Vert project car in knew nothing about the 71-73 Mustangs, except that they where very cool looking.

Seeing how many new member we now have on the site that purchased a project car, I thought that collectively we could advise new and potential members with their journey on finding a project that will actually end up getting finished and help promote the 71-73 mustang era.

The more of these cars that are restored, will makes the our cars more valuable and reproduction parts more viable to produce, which is good for us all.

So if every one can chime in and comment on what they think is a good thing to look for when trying to find a viable 71-73 mustang project and something to stay away from when finding a project car, it will be a good starting place for new members

Speaking from my own experience i wish i had this benefit before i found my project.
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#2
Any car is only original once. If you can find a car that is a one owner it is easier to figure out what has changed. many original owners will give you a file with the car with every receipt for all work done on the car.
Most people today are not purists and do not try to make a car 100% to the way it was when it left the factory. It is about impossible the way the rules writers have made certain cars the base and anything else is wrong. Ford and all manufacturers made changes to keep the line going.
If you want to ever consider getting your money out of your car always look for high end cars. Not that I am saying a car that has had a lot of money spent on it but a car say a 1971 429 SCJ. Now there are only so many of those made so you progress down to a Boss or an R code or a Q code or even and H code. When you get to the 302 F codes you should have seen a stair step of prices coming down as you go lower all the way down to the 250 inline 6. Nothing wrong with those cars but you will never get your money out of one. It costs just as much to restore a body and interior for a 6 cylinder as it does a SCJ. A local person here spent $50,000 restoring a 1967 mustang with 200 ci 6 cylinder. He could not get $10,000 for the car. It was a full rotisserie every bolt and nut correct restoration. He could have done a 428 CJ for the same price and sold for more.
When looking for a car you want to invest in always look for unrestored examples. It is worth the extra money up front to find a car from California or the desert that is not eat up with rust. I purchased a 73 convertible last year H code 351 2-V California car with no rust, highly optioned, original interior. It has about 80% original factory paint and requires no panels to be replaced. There is rust around the tail light gaskets that was caused by washing the car. It is a bad design that traps water between the gasket and tail light panel and rust loves it.
I paid about 1/3 for the car that I see many listed on eBay and some that are no where near as original. It was on eBay also but right at Christmas last year. The wrong time to sell anything.
Don't let shiny and new blind your decision. Like the 73 vert black we talked about this week. The car is just a bunch of left over parts thrown together to make a shiny car. No documentation, incorrect parts and materials through the entire car. There is more incorrect on the car than correct. When you buy a car from one of the big so called exotic car dealers that does not make it correct. If anything you need to do more checking they are there to make money not restore cars.
Many of our members are doing better restorations than most shops will do on their own.
Now if you just want a daily driver that is dependable you don't have to study original cars just make the drivetrain dependable, great paint job and nice interior go for a not rusty example that might not have a good engine but is a solid body and you can get engines everywhere.
Never Never take anyone's word for anything if money is involved. Documentation is all you can depend on. Even a Marti will not tell you all about some of our cars. If it was a special order and has a six digit DSO code Marti cannot tell you what the special order was but just that it was a special order. The sometimes elusive Build Sheet will tell all about your car even the Special Order changes be it trim, tires, wheels, paint will be there. Never get in a hurry do your research ahead of time take copies of decoders with you and pictures of what to look for. Don't be afraid to tell the owner what, is incorrect with his car and why you cannot pay him his price.
I purchased 5 convertibles in the last 12 months, 2 1973 and 3 1972 all were purchased because they were way below market price one is a Q code and one a Special Order. I had to quit buying them they are out there every day. Don't be afraid to look in the Phoenix craigslist if you live in N.Y.. Shipping a car coast to coast is usually under $1,500. I brought two home on dollys 1,500 mile trip with no issue. Don't be afraid to make a low offer. Many car owners have an emotional attachment to the car. Their dad's car, first car they ever had, etc. That does not make the car worth more in the market only perceived by the owner as being worth more. Just because they have every oil change receipt and every tire ever bought does not add value it adds information. I have bought cars that had stacks of receipts for over $16,000 and I just told them I will give $5,000 and set a stack of $20.00 bills out there and I got the car for $2,500. What a person has invested in a car has not much bearing on it's worth. He could have put everything new on the car but if everything is wrong it is just another driver car not a collector car.
There are thousands and thousands of 71 - 73 mustangs yes there are some special ones out there that are like hens teeth. Search the net call all leads, ask questions know your subject and you will come out on top. I missed a $50,000 LS6 1970 Chevelle SS 454 a couple weeks back by just minutes for $9,000. It was all original never painted parked since the 70's. The same thing happens with 71 - 73 mustangs. Many people have them stuck in a barn just waiting for someone to find out they have it and come and rescue it. Place ads WTB on craigslist. You can advertise in any area no matter where you live.
Get on the forum and ask questions and read what is on the net about different areas of the cars.
I also have 1965 mustangs and was thinking about the removable hardtops one day. Mustang monthly did an article years ago on them and at that time there were three or four that had been found. They were sold at Ford dealers but not made by Ford and were called Towne Tops. I decided I was going to try to locate one and it two weeks had located two of them. Hours on the net ads on a couple forums including this one was all it took. I got a great one needs no restoration and came with extra emblems, original advertisements. Like anything it usually does not fall into your lap you have to hunt for it you have to put an effort into it and your rewards will go up for your labors.
So to all those getting ready to jump into the Mustang life make it enjoyable or don't do it.
David


When a man is in the woods and talks and no women are there is he still wrong??
Tongue
David
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#3
If you are in theses cars to make money, forget it... If you are buying because you truly have to put one in your garage, then the amount you will spend depends on your budget and car condition. Do your home work, ask questions, check the car out completely before buying. Have someone who knows the 71/3's go with you. Finally, as little rust as possible... Good luck.
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#4
When I started looking for a mustang convertible several months ago it seem daunting. I was not looking for a restoration project and most cars were a plane ride away. My wish list was pretty short but it started with a "no rust" car, or at least body and under carriage in good shape, 351c, auto trans. In the end I got lucky and found one in my own back yard. It depends what you want the car to be, and what your skills and budget are. I just wanted a weekend driver that I can work on but not restore, so this fit me well. Most of these may not make us any money on resale so you've got to love the car. Good luck!

Scott
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#5
Hi,

Just wanted to make a quick point in passing. Except for the rare, sort after 123's in super good condition, the selling value of our cars is not all that good for the present times.

Don't get me wrong, i'm not coming in from the angle of hey, let's try to make some quick bucks and profits here, but it would be nice to see somewhere in the future, where selling prices become stronger for these models. That would take some of the pain out of spending so much money restoring these cars, and not getting a decent return for yourself to help cover your costs as such, when you choose to sell on your car.

On that basis, most owners pour much more money into these cars than they will ever get back. I did myself on my '73 Vert. But of course, that does not worry or concern certain owners, and that's understood. But again i say, that it would be nice to see better returns on the monies that you have spent doing up your Mustangs.

For example, my area of expertise in Auto Spray painting. The cost of paying out for a good quality respray job, starting from bare metal, is very expensive. This is an area that is a serious money pit for over spending on the car, and you will never get back.

Greg.Smile

whistling LORD, MR FORD - JERRY REED
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#6
Austin Vert;249538 Wrote:Hi,

Just wanted to make a quick point in passing. Except for the rare, sort after 123's in super good condition, the selling value of our cars is not all that good for the present times.

Don't get me wrong, i'm not coming in from the angle of hey, let's try to make some quick bucks and profits here, but it would be nice to see somewhere in the future, where selling prices become stronger for these models. That would take some of the pain out of spending so much money restoring these cars, and not getting a decent return for yourself to help cover your costs as such, when you choose to sell on your car.

On that basis, most owners pour much more money into these cars than they will ever get back. I did myself on my '73 Vert. But of course, that does not worry or concern certain owners, and that's understood. But again i say, that it would be nice to see better returns on the monies that you have spent doing up your Mustangs.

For example, my area of expertise in Auto Spray painting. The cost of paying out for a good quality respray job, starting from bare metal, is very expensive. This is an area that is a serious money pit for over spending on the car, and you will never get back.

Greg.Smile
What Greg said and others have said. I will be way upside down on my car but this is no different than buying a new car off the lot. Also, unlike a new car which will be 20% of its value in 5 years your restoration will be worth continually more. As for the amount of work it will take, plan on 3x your estimate. Also as mentitined, find a car thats all there. I have spent countless hours tring to put back togeter my hightly molested car. If you can find a car that has body and paint done and documented well, go that route. You can always restore all the bolt on stuff after. Body and paint can be stupid expensive and finding a shop with that has the skill set is becoming harder and harder to find. Most won't touch restoration work. If you doing a ground up wait for a more collectible car such as a 4 speed qcode, 429 car. Im doing a vert and got tired of waiting as they are very hard to find but are much more available in the hard tops.

- Jim
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#7
sdstang;249552 Wrote:
Austin Vert;249538 Wrote:Hi,

Just wanted to make a quick point in passing. Except for the rare, sort after 123's in super good condition, the selling value of our cars is not all that good for the present times.

Don't get me wrong, i'm not coming in from the angle of hey, let's try to make some quick bucks and profits here, but it would be nice to see somewhere in the future, where selling prices become stronger for these models. That would take some of the pain out of spending so much money restoring these cars, and not getting a decent return for yourself to help cover your costs as such, when you choose to sell on your car.

On that basis, most owners pour much more money into these cars than they will ever get back. I did myself on my '73 Vert. But of course, that does not worry or concern certain owners, and that's understood. But again i say, that it would be nice to see better returns on the monies that you have spent doing up your Mustangs.

For example, my area of expertise in Auto Spray painting. The cost of paying out for a good quality respray job, starting from bare metal, is very expensive. This is an area that is a serious money pit for over spending on the car, and you will never get back.

Greg.Smile
What Greg said and others have said. I will be way upside down on my car but this is no different than buying a new car off the lot. Also, unlike a new car which will be 20% of its value in 5 years your restoration will be worth continually more. As for the amount of work it will take, plan on 3x your estimate. Also as mentitined, find a car thats all there. I have spent countless hours tring to put back togeter my hightly molested car. If you can find a car that has body and paint done and documented well, go that route. You can always restore all the bolt on stuff after. Body and paint can be stupid expensive and finding a shop with that has the skill set is becoming harder and harder to find. Most won't touch restoration work. If you doing a ground up wait for a more collectible car such as a 4 speed qcode, 429 car. Im doing a vert and got tired of waiting as they are very hard to find but are much more available in the hard tops.

Yep, currently my car is costing me approx. $3k each week it sits in the restoration shop, starting around the first week of December... "Can you say, please get it done..."
  Reply
#8
Pastel Blue;249557 Wrote:
sdstang;249552 Wrote:
Austin Vert;249538 Wrote:Hi,

Just wanted to make a quick point in passing. Except for the rare, sort after 123's in super good condition, the selling value of our cars is not all that good for the present times.

Don't get me wrong, i'm not coming in from the angle of hey, let's try to make some quick bucks and profits here, but it would be nice to see somewhere in the future, where selling prices become stronger for these models. That would take some of the pain out of spending so much money restoring these cars, and not getting a decent return for yourself to help cover your costs as such, when you choose to sell on your car.

On that basis, most owners pour much more money into these cars than they will ever get back. I did myself on my '73 Vert. But of course, that does not worry or concern certain owners, and that's understood. But again i say, that it would be nice to see better returns on the monies that you have spent doing up your Mustangs.

For example, my area of expertise in Auto Spray painting. The cost of paying out for a good quality respray job, starting from bare metal, is very expensive. This is an area that is a serious money pit for over spending on the car, and you will never get back.

Greg.Smile
What Greg said and others have said. I will be way upside down on my car but this is no different than buying a new car off the lot. Also, unlike a new car which will be 20% of its value in 5 years your restoration will be worth continually more. As for the amount of work it will take, plan on 3x your estimate. Also as mentitined, find a car thats all there. I have spent countless hours tring to put back togeter my hightly molested car. If you can find a car that has body and paint done and documented well, go that route. You can always restore all the bolt on stuff after. Body and paint can be stupid expensive and finding a shop with that has the skill set is becoming harder and harder to find. Most won't touch restoration work. If you doing a ground up wait for a more collectible car such as a 4 speed qcode, 429 car. Im doing a vert and got tired of waiting as they are very hard to find but are much more available in the hard tops.

Yep, currently my car is costing me approx. $3k each week it sits in the restoration shop, starting around the first week of December... "Can you say, please get it done..."
So I can assume your car is being done time and material? With a cost like you state I would see a less than 3 month build since you are going to do assembly. But you get your car back fast not years of working the afternoons and weekends on your own.
David


When a man is in the woods and talks and no women are there is he still wrong??
Tongue
David
  Reply
#9
Carolina_Mountain_Mustangs;249567 Wrote:
Pastel Blue;249557 Wrote:
sdstang;249552 Wrote:What Greg said and others have said. I will be way upside down on my car but this is no different than buying a new car off the lot. Also, unlike a new car which will be 20% of its value in 5 years your restoration will be worth continually more. As for the amount of work it will take, plan on 3x your estimate. Also as mentitined, find a car thats all there. I have spent countless hours tring to put back togeter my hightly molested car. If you can find a car that has body and paint done and documented well, go that route. You can always restore all the bolt on stuff after. Body and paint can be stupid expensive and finding a shop with that has the skill set is becoming harder and harder to find. Most won't touch restoration work. If you doing a ground up wait for a more collectible car such as a 4 speed qcode, 429 car. Im doing a vert and got tired of waiting as they are very hard to find but are much more available in the hard tops.

Yep, currently my car is costing me approx. $3k each week it sits in the restoration shop, starting around the first week of December... "Can you say, please get it done..."
So I can assume your car is being done time and material? With a cost like you state I would see a less than 3 month build since you are going to do assembly. But you get your car back fast not years of working the afternoons and weekends on your own.
David

- Jim
  Reply
#10
A few things about these cars for people who are looking to buy one but are not familiar with them.

1. And this is the big one: 'Mach 1' has its own body code. It is 63R. This is different from the 'sports roof' code of 63D or the BOSS codes. It is not unusual for people to call their sports roof (fastback) a Mach 1 as kind of a generic term. It's also not unusual for sports roof models (63D) to get the 'Mach 1' treatment. This is not always done to be dishonest but sometimes it is. A lot of people just don't know. The hardtops (coupes) and convertibles were never offered as a 'Mach 1'. The stipe kits were available so you may see the stripes but you will not see the Mach 1 designation.

2. While they look the same there are some subtle differences in the three years. The biggest is the bumper changes. 73 ended up with the biggest front bumper and a rear bumper that is extended slightly. Swapping bumpers from year to year is not impossible but it's not easy. The 73 front fenders are unique to the year to accommodate the bumper changes. Some people like all three years, others don't like the looks of the 73 bumpers, others love it. You need to decide for yourself, just be aware it is the biggest styling difference. The two hood options are swappable from any year or model. Some like the scoops, others do not but this can be 'easily' changed.

3. Engine codes can be confusing. And swapped engines are not uncommon. At least learn to recognize the differences between a 302 and 351C. Also make sure you can tell a 351C from a 351W. Often times people will believe the car has a 351C but it actually has a swapped in 351W. The 351W is a great engine but with just a very few exceptions on some export models it did not ever find its way into a 71/73 mustang.

4. Parts availability is getting a lot better. Replacement parts are almost all available. Some of the interior pieces are still not available after market. Some of the pieces that are available are not great quality. The aftermarket dash pads are very nice, the door panels vary, the quarter panels seem to be not so good. Some of the small stuff is hard to find too.

5. Support from aftermarket is not as good as the earlier mustangs. You won't find kits like 'rack and pinion' available or bolt in independent rear suspensions. That being said there are upgrades available. If you are thinking of doing a restomod, have an idea of what you might want to do and see if the parts are available.

This buyers guide is excellent:
http://www.7173mustangs.com/misc.php?pag...uyersguide

'Mike'
73 Convertible - 351C/4V CC heads/4bolt/forged flat tops/comp 270/rhodes/mallory unilite/tri-power/hookers/glasspacks/c6/3.50 limited slip/Gear Vendors/Global West sub frames, strut rods and shelby style traction bars/ Rear sway bar/tilt steering (not original)

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