Upgrading my '65 Mustang for the Open Road
Less than two years ago I fell in love with a beautiful pony. A numbers matching 289 2-barrel with luxury interior, she was a dream. I imagined cruising the countryside taking my time and soaking in all America had to offer. But before I can drive off into the sunset, there's be more than a few items to spruce up before heading out on the open highway.
Right after I bought it, I updated to disk brakes and installed AC and a new stereo system (Classic Car Stereo) but there was still a long list of upgrades to be done, so I narrowed it the most important items for a long road trip; rear suspension, update interior dash items and the big project, installing a fuel injection system.
Thankfully, I have some good friends, and with the help of Ronnie and Cy we got the job done in just 3 days at Ronnie's shop, Blackstone Motorworks.
In addition to the old suspension just being completely shot, I had an issue with a bracket someone welded on incorrectly that would hit the leaf spring on each side when my car was loaded up on the highway. Luckily Blackstone Motorworks has a lift, so once we removed the old suspension, Ronnie torched off the old brackets & fixed the bracket placement so it'll ride nice with no clanging. Then we installed a 4-leaf spring kit (CJ Pony Parts) which luckily went on without too much hassle.
Anyone who has worked with me knows I am really picky when it comes to a nice neat interior and usually it’s not a huge hassle to replace a few things that will offer an instant upgrade and make for a more enjoyable drive. On my car, the dash pad had a 6 inch crack down the center and the dash panel, steering wheel, glove box door and shifter were pretty beat up. Since all are right in my view when I'm driving I decided to put in a new dash pad, new dash panel, glove box, shifter handle & cover and a slick wood grain steering wheel (NPD). When Cy and I were installing the new dash pad we realized the dash was bent up on the passenger side, making me wonder if an accident may have occurred, nonetheless it explained why the dash pad was cracked so badly. So we straightened it out the best we could which improved the entire look of the interior massively.
The most extensive task on this project was tackling the fuel injection system. The entire system came in parts from FiTech and had to be put together. We removed the old fuel tank and replaced it with a new one then installed the new fuel pump. Cy and Ronnie were a big help running the fuel lines under the body. We ran ⅜ steel lines under the car in both directions. Under the hood, Ronnie and I decided to clean up the engine a bit. We upgraded the cast iron 2-barrel intake to a 4-barrel aluminum intake which made the fuel injection system a direct bolt on. Now I’ll be able to pass on the highway with ease. Although I’m typically partial to keeping things original, I decided to paint the gold valve covers black so there would be a cleaner, more uniform look under the hood. We upgraded to electronic ignition in order to run the fuel injection system and replaced the air cleaner. It all works beautifully.
Although the last owner put minimal miles on the car, the tires were old and the rubber not looking so good. Of course, I couldn't set out on the open road without a new set of tires (Michelin).
There are a lot more upgrades to be done as the list is never ending, but I'm glad to have gotten a few of the big projects done with the help of some friends. Thanks to everyone who helped make it possible!
You can follow my adventures as I drive my Mustang across America sharing local culture, Drive Yourself Local