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Vicfreg

1970 Convertible Restoration

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Hi.  New member here.   A fellow forum member told me about this site, so I will be posting my project details here over the next months (years).

 

My car is a "F" code 1970 convertible, originally a auto/AC car with power top.   2 years ago, I obtained the car from a storage building in Las Vegas, from a friend who had an older family member who had give up on the project.  

 

I loaded the car into a POD, and transported it back home to North Carolina.   Over the past 2 years, I have been sorting and refinishing parts, and this week, had my friend at LatoRacing (forum member) come out and get the car to sort out the sheet metal work that needs to be done.

 

I will post some pics of the find, the transport, and progress since I obtained the car, and once caught up with that, will have LatoRacing post pictures of the progress.

 

Current plan is to build a Mach I style convertible, with a 393 stroker, C-6, 4 link rear, and rack and pinion/coil over front end.   Engine, trans, and interior are done and ready to be installed.

 

Look forward to documenting my project.

 

Regards,

 

Vic

 

 

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Welcome aboard Vic! Lots of help and knowledge on the site. I'm just about finished the bodywork on a 70 vert. Looked deceiving initially when it was dropped off but I soon discovered that it was rusted and bonded from a to Z.. Finally coming together.

 

Looking forward to pics of your progress.

 

John

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This has been a project in the "holding pattern" for several months. I went and looked at Vic's Convertible back in the summer as I had another convertible project at the time. This one looks to be in fairly decent shape as far as rust goes. It had been someone's project at some point, so I am picking up where they left off. This is going to be interesting to get everything back in shape as the PO removed the entire driver's side rocker, torque box, and floor. Being strapped to some very large oak timbers helps, but it will need some SERIOUS measuring to get it back into shape. The car came with some really neat replacement parts that have some uncommon country of origin (Made in America!!!).

 

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After a good washing at the local car wash I let it dry out in the extremely nice weather before unloading it off the trailer.

 

I used the lift to raise it off the bed of the trailer, with a little help from my engine hoist (this is becoming a norm for me lol)  since it was easier than attempting to roll it back off the trailer.

 

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The list of parts to replace are the left inner / outer rocker, left torque box, one piece floor, trunk drop offs, battery tray, and numerous little patches that are common rust areas that need attention. The quarters are either going to be patched or replaced, but we'll get to that after the structure is sound again. I am contemplating making a chassis fixture, but haven't committed to a 5' x 16' structure in the shop. Big part, doesn't store very well.

 

I will get the vert rolled in place and remove  some pieces and get to work. Looks like fun!!!  

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Welcome Vic to the best 69/70 Mustang site. And with Mike on board we all know it'll be pristine. Where does one find parts made in the USA??? Good luck Vic.

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Hi guys, thanks for the welcome to the Forum.  

 

Thanks Mike for the pick up, and the Car Wash!

 

 

Welcome aboard Vic! Lots of help and knowledge on the site. I'm just about finished the bodywork on a 70 vert. Looked deceiving initially when it was dropped off but I soon discovered that it was rusted and bonded from a to Z.. Finally coming together.

 

Looking forward to pics of your progress.

 

John

 

Thanks John!   Looking forward to it! 

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So, here is some of the history on the car.   It was owned for many years by a fellow who currently lives in Nevada, near Las Vegas.  He obtained the car 25 plus years ago in Florida, and it made its way out to Vegas.  In the 1990s he began to dis-assemble the car and collect parts from other 1969 and 1970 Mustangs.   At some point, he moved the car and all of the parts to a monthly storage place   He stopped the project due to his advanced age.

There it sat, until 2013, when his son-in-law John ( a friend of mine) offered me the car in exchange for my travel and transport of the car, and parts, back to the East Coast.  Turns out John had acquired a vintage Ferrari from the old chap, and there were some "missing" parts that John suspected were mixed in with the Mustang stuff.

So, off I went to Las Vegas, with some enthusiastic family members, site unseen, to meet John's in laws, and "find" the Mustang, and the parts...   

What I found was 2 full storage units full to the top with parts, and the convertible body sitting covered outside under a carport (this is not unusual in Las Vegas).    It was like an episode of "Storage Wars".    I then had to figure out how to get all of this back to NC.   I rented a "POD", and stuffed all of the parts, and the car into the POD unit.  It was ugly.

When the POD got back to NC, it took me all winter to sort through the bins, bags, cans, and boxes of parts, nuts, bolts, etc.    I did find the Ferrari parts.  In fact, I found a priceless set of vintage Marchal Fog Lights for the 1963 Ferrari, that were supposedly lost long ago.  Along with the aluminum belly pan, door panels, and miscellaneous hardware.   John was thrilled, and I was happy to get him the parts after all of this time.

I sorted the parts, as the old chap had mixed in numerous Mach I and other 1969 and 1970 parts.  I had 3 hoods, 1969 fenders and headlight buckets, a fold down rear seat, and other goodies that I sold/traded for more correct 1970 parts.   In the end, it took me a year to sort this all out and start my restoration planning.    I will cover that in my next post.  But, I will include some pics now of the "find" and the mess of parts I brought back from Vegas.

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For the PowerTrain, obtained a 1969 351 Windsor from "Indianfiremach" that was in his car.  Also picked up the C-6 that was with it.   The motor was all together, and I took it apart to do some inspections, as I had no idea of how long it had been sitting.   After some deliberation, I decided to take the motor apart, and send the block over to one of the shops nearby that builds NASCAR engines.  I asked them to tank it and inspect the block to make sure it there were no cracks, etc.  The block was perfect, so I decided to build a 393 stroker.   SCAT crank, Eagle Rods, KB pistons.  I went .060 over, and the shop did the block machining, align bores, etc, and supplied me with a fully balanced assembly, using my harmonic balancer and torque plate.   Went with Edelbrock performer top end.    Pictures show the story....   Now fully assembled with Holley 670 Street Avenger, and Pertronix III.

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I love the '68 coupe, it is a great car, and  a great color!

 

I was able to get some work done after Christmas and in-between family get-togethers. The table was completed last week, well, completed enough to position the vert above it. I had tons of ideas for mounting this car to the table, but didn't want to go crazy, simple is better. I cut some 3" square tube (which all the mounts will be made from) and drilled a 1/2" hole through one end. These were bolted to the forward leaf spring mounts and left loose.

 

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I had kinda eyeballed the location of the table to the car under the lift and semi leveled it. Lowering the car down to where the rear mounts touched their cross member, I adjusted several things along with marking a centerline on the car and the table. A little maneuvering and a few dozen more checks, the mounts were tack welded in place.

 

Leveling the car at the rocker panel, since it was the only one, to get a reference height for the front mount. Using some 3/4" - 10 threaded rod for adjustment purposes, along with more 3" tube. I made the second cross member to land right under the front torque boxes. The only issue with this placement is there is very little room to attach a jacking point. As I do not want this car to fall off of this fixture, the mounts are welded to the bottom of the frame rail, hopefully out of the way of the upcoming driver's side torque box. Using some 1" square tube with 1/8" wall as a treaded rod guide I installed them on the inside of the mount with a little welding.

 

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With some 3/8" plate welded to the top, I drilled a 3/4" hole through the plate with the 1" tube as a guide. I basically made a 5" bolt by tacking a nut to the end of the rod and use another nut with a washer to make the mount height adjustable. Since the top nut is welded to the car, once this thing is ready to come back off, it can be picked straight up on the lift and the mount cut off with out too much drama.

 

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Repeating the procedure by triple checking everything before anything is final welded in place, all looked good so more stitch welds were put in place, along with the nut to the frame rail weld. Snugging the forward mount nuts and checking for level one more time the lift arms were dropped, the leveling screws were retracted, and the assembly was mobile. Moving it to it's new spot, re-leveled and locked down. I have some elcheepo small jack stands I want to slightly modify to be able to use on the beams where needed, along with positioning the last cross beam in place as I am still thinking of how to make some more adjustable mounts for the rear. There is tons to measure and square, along with door braces to make and a bunch of other temp braces before I can get to putting this back together. I did remove the front springs and the UCA's as they will not be needed anytime soon. 

 

More fixture development to come...

 

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Mike....the frame looks like it weighs more than my car.....!     Wow!.       

 

Getting one piece floor and misc. other sheet metal tomorrow.   Also have some Global West sub-frame connectors coming, so the 'Vert will be a little stiffer.

 

Need to decide on front and rear end setup.  Looking at some 4 links right now, trying to decide what to do.

'

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I've been thinking of a way to accurately measure the chassis dimensions on this convertible and have came up with a pretty neat (least I think so) way of accomplishing my needs. When I built the frame table I wanted to be able to easily reference parts, accurately place them and measure my work. Using the 1970 Mustang Frame Dimension drawing I'm certain everyone is familiar with

 

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Since I will only use the "datum" line for setting up / verifying the chassis is within tolerance, I set the rocker (since there is only one) level, as previously stated. When it comes time to install these parts, my digital level reading 0.0 degrees will be much easier to read than having to decipher some crazy angle the "datum" line will put on my rocker. So, I have been looking for a rotary laser level that was not self leveling. I sure the self leveling ones could be locked out and I will not use this every day. I bought a Skill unit from Lowes, came with a tripod and has provisions for mounting it. Positioning it under the relative center of the car, I messed around with setting it up. 

 

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If you look at the print, the datum line in the front is 6" to the bottom of the frame rail and in the rear 6 1/2" from the center of the forward leaf spring mounting hole. My risers on the frame table measure 6 1/2" to the bottom of the front frame rail and 9" to the center of the forward leaf spring hole. Applying some masking tape and marking a reference line to duplicate the given dimensions the laser was sighted in on the four points. Once those points were all locked in, the tool was tightened down and the level on the tool was checked, which it was thankfully. 

 

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The very front reference point could not be used as the table cross member was in the way. The second dimension to check revealed a measurement of 12 1/8" (should be 12 1/2" @ B). The rear was measured at reference point C which measured 14 5/8, low by 1/4". The back of the car is quite floppy, and easily moved up. All these measurements were taken on the driver's side, without any type of reinforcement. I will have to make some more support receptacles for the rear section of the car to better position it to the rear tie down inserts (since I have the plates already made). I will also drop points of reference to measure for chassis "square" at the given locations once the datum line heights are achieved. 

 

The doors will be hung in place and gaps set. This is where all this measuring will show if the gaps are usable. I am thinking it will need more adjusting, all part of the process. Lots of bracing and a bunch more measuring to come...

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At the risk of repeating myself and becoming boring, Mike you do excellent work and obviously missed your calling. Good stuff!

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MIke, you are the man.   I don't think the Ford engineers in 1969 ever thought someone would ever be using their drawing and a laser level.......They probably used a folding ruler and a slide rule.....  

 

The laser is a great idea.  Once you know the frame is level (this takes the shop floor level out of the equation), and set your datum, then you can easliy transfer your benchmarks.

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As I have been working on getting this chassis ready for bracing yesterday, I needed a way to keep the poor thing a little more stable. With the rocker out of it makes it impossible to hold it still without welding something in it's place. So instead of welding / fastening a temporary brace in the car, I chose to just temp install the parts that will be installed. Interesting concept, but at least I'll know that they will fit. The car came with some replacement pieces that could be used, like the inner rocker. This part came from the factory on the long side in order to make all the tabs and connecting flanges manually. Starting with the given point of 22" for the rear wheel well area to the seat belt hole, I made the appropriate tabs out of the extra material and bent them in their proper direction and angle. The Weld and Sealant manual is a good reference for the direction of the tabs, not so much on the size or location. I seem to be doing a lot of inner rocker installs as of lately, practice makes perfect lol

 

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Fitting it in the rear torque box area and over the floor reinforcement piece required a little persuasion as the rear of the car was moved up, kinda neat how much it moves vertically. Getting the inner rocker to fit correctly took a bunch of clamps and some strategic hammer blows to get it situated. Surprisingly enough, it went in and was level (measuring level at the middle top portion) just like the other side. The old part does have surface rust that will be taken care of before it is welded in place. 

 

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When I built the table, the second crossmember was measured and placed to align with the front of the torque boxes for a good reference point. Using a square to transfer the area of the inner rocker to be trimmed and for tabs was as simple as lining up the front of the tube and transferring the mark on the part.

 

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The mark I made on the inner rocker was the outside of the forward torque box, so the thickness of the front of the box (I allowed .125") for the bend radius plus the metal thickness. This is another place that the factory makes tabs on the inside of the rocker to have more attachment points, I go a little bit farther and cap the end of the "tube" for more strength. This inner rocker is not tapered up towards the front torque box, which might have to be another modification. I needed to see how the torque box was going to align due to this fact. Prepping the area by grinding down the PO's leftover spot weld remnants (thanks whoever took it apart, you did a great job lol) the outer portion of the torque box popped right in place. Using a couple 18R vise grips to hold it up I installed the inner rocker on it's outboard side. (not in the picture)

 

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I did test fit the outer rocker before any of this was attempted, it fit fairly well. It is going to need some clamping in order to be dimensionally correct, but will work nicely. Once all these pieces are happy in their new positions (sheet metal screwed together) I can get the doors on this and continue getting the chassis braced and properly supported. So far, so good

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I bought the Bosch self leveling laser from Home Depot for my conversions it has a magnetic base ,the good thing is if you bump or jiggle it , it will re set its self .These cars were never as straight as every one thinks they were so using a laser level should make them better than they were new . Some of these cars lean to one side or the other so i am not sure how Ford jigged them up .

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More fitting this afternoon. I couldn't get the correct dimension between the inner rockers the last time I messed with it. The rear torque box needed an attachment tab replaced that was cut off. I copied the passenger side with a template and made one. Once shaped, I welded it in place, then reinstalled the inner rocker. The clamps were able to pull the part and achieved the correct dimension of 54 1/2" all but perfect.

 

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I spent some time measuring the front torque box outer portion with a little bit of persuasion it was temp screwed in place, along with the connection to  the inner rocker.

 

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Having removed these two parts a dozen times, Im glad I am getting some reference marks and alignment holes. Getting the claps out of the way by installing a few self tapping screws, the outer rocker was popped into place. The rear area around the wheel house was pre-fit before, which made it go right back in place. The fit is not too bad with it held in place by two vice grips.

 

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The rear quarter panel area will need some attention as the outer rocker is sticking out about 1/8". That will have to wait till next time, but for now, I'm glad this turned out as nice as it has so far. Hope the rest goes as nicely.

 

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Getting to work out in the shop has been on the slow side due to the frigid temps lately. I am still working on bracing, as this is my second attempt to make adjustable mounts for the rear frame rail braces. My first attempt was overly complicated, over thought and just didn't work. Threaded rod over a large area is not as stable as I had envisioned. So, attempt number two. Made some sleeves out of some 2" square, 1/4" wall tubing, welded some tabs to one side then split the tube between them. Fitting these over the 1.5" square tubes I recycled from a previous brace rendition took some work. Inside radius on the sleeves didn't want to play well with the corner radius on the 1.5" square tube, so lots of filing was necessary to make them slip. The fit was so tight that I couldn't beat them on with a hammer and they wouldn't slide, so a little drilling and taping solved that issue. Using a 3/8"-20tpi bolt on one of the tabs, pushing on the other tab allowed the sleeve to basically fall into place.

 

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The fit between the two parts was just what I needed to solve my previous issue of slop. Extremely tight, yet movable.

 

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Having that assembly bolted to the car, the rear cross member on the chassis table was properly positioned, squared, leveled and welded into place. The sleeves were also stitched welded to the cross member

 

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Time to bolt some doors on this, and see how everything fits or can be adjusted to fit.  

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