Sunday, March 25, 2012

1964 1/2 Mustang Project - Our Newest Project Has a Great Story Too!

1964 1/2 Mustang Project...A "Labor" of Love

Every now and then, I come across a story, that not only warms my heart, but, also carries with it, a glimpse of not only "the way things were", but, the way things should still be....
A couple of weeks ago, we received a phone call from a man who told me he had 1964 1/2 mustang that he was restoring and had run into a few problems that needed Larry's attention. He had heard about us from a friend that we had done some work for, and wanted to get some prices on putting new quarter panels on the car. Now, he already had my full attention, as the "original" 1964 1/2 Mustang is one of my favorite classic vehicles! As all of our Ford Fans out there know, the era of the Mustang actually made it's debut that year. And, well, the rest is just classic car history.....

I told him he'd have to bring the car in, as we'd have to see it in order to quote him a price on replacing the quarters and the next weekend, the car arrived at the shop. As you can see from the pic, the car was in pretty good shape, considering it was manufactured in 1964!

As with most vehicles of it's age, there was some weathering and some light rust, but, for the most part she was in great condition for a vehicle that was almost 50 years old! The majority of the rust damage was contained in the quarter panels which had several rust holes in the usual places. Primarily in the lower quarter and around the windows. Her owner had purchased new, aftermarket quarter panels to replace the originals and wanted a price on cutting off the original quarters and welding on the new ones, a job that my husband, Larry, has done many, many times in his almost 40 years of doing body work.

The man then explained that he and his son were doing the restoration together and that the car, when finished, would become his son's 16th birthday gift. The owner is also a bodyman and painter and the project was a joint effort of him and his son's and they were trying to put this car together by August. He and his son have been working on this project, together, from the beginning. They had already completely redone the motor, which is a real thing of beauty I might add, and they had all the parts ready for the interior too! They had well over a year of locating parts, wrenching, wiring and, well, you all know the labor that goes into a restoration like this. The man, an excellent bodyman, and a great painter too based on the pics he sent us of some of the work he's done, only needed help with the quarter panels as that is a job that requires an expert welder and the expertise of someone who is experienced in doing that particular type of work. He also knew the job needed to be done properly to ensure the vehicle was safe. The quarter panel section is one of the hardest panels to replace and requires cutting into the integral structure pieces of the vehicle and there's not a lot of room for error, especially on a vintage vehicle like this one.
Larry began the job, cutting off and removing the original quarter on the driver's side of the vehicle. As with all 48 yr. old vehicle's, we found some hidden damage. The rust had eaten away the brackets that hold the window regulator and there was more damage to the wheel housing than expected. So he fabricated the bracket for the regulator and began the work of repairing the wheel housing, shown below.
The broken bracket needed repair.
The wheel housing was repaired.

After re-working the wheel housing and welding the new regulator bracket into place, undercoating was used to ensure the rust would be containted.
The next step was to fit the quarter panel to the vehicle and ensure proper alignment with the car's original lines. The early Mustang has a beautiful, well defined body line that gives the car it's signature design and also gives the beefy, muscle car that sleek, go fast look that made it one of the best selling vehicles of all time. Lining up an aftermarket quarter panel to match the lines of the original body requires engineering skill and expertise that comes only with years of experience. And, once again, Larry's skills paid off as the quarter panels were fitted flawlessly and welded into place.
The quarter is fitted and welded.
Undercoated and ready for the quarter.
Both sides of the vehicle required the same treatment and the driver's side quarter panel went on without a hitch! As a side note, the aftermarket quarter panels purchased by the owner were KAPA Certified and of very good quality.

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This job was a special job here at LDJ Auto Body and Custom Shop because it was special to the people that brought it here. We take pride in all of the work we do, but, we love to see families working together. The special bond that comes from helping our kids learn and experience the satisfaction of taking something into their own hands and making something that they will love and cherish for years to come is something that we'd love to see more people experience. The bond we create with our children and the things we teach them about life are more important now than ever before. This man and his son will cherish the time they spent together on this project and hopefully, someday, his son will take the time to pass that on. Today's world is a rough place and we only get one chance to motivate our kids to be the people we want them to grow up to be. Watching this family work together and seeing the proud look on this kid's face as he saw his dream car getting closer to being finished was priceless.
I can't wait to see the pictures of this car when it's completed and the owner has promised to send them to us. We wish them the best of luck and I'll be sure to share those pics with you when we get them!

Working on projects like this one are a great way to spend time with our kids. Whether you spend time fixing up their first car or just teach them the basics of how to maintain their own vehicle. The size of the project isn't important. It's the time spent with our kids that makes the differnce.

Remember, April is National Car Care Month! Check back soon for some great car care tips here and at our sister blog, LDJ Auto Body's Car, Truck, and Motorcycle News! And don't forget to check out the great deals and specials at our Parts and Accessories Store. You'll find the latest deals and coupons to save lots of money at Advance Auto Parts! You can check out the best accessories for your truck at our Truck Owner's Only page.

Till next time, happy motoring!

Larry and Dee Blackman
LDJ Auto Body and Custom Shop

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Thanks for reading and we look forward to hearing from you! -Larry and Dee Blackman, LDJ Auto Body, Gibsonton, FL.